Young Pine Tree – Bending

Q: I’m working on a project where I want to make a curved ceiling out of wood. I have a lot of straight pine trees. I would like to take some of the smaller ones (4-6″ in diameter) and bend them in a relatively large radius. I don’t think bending them will be too much trouble. But how long before the bend would become semi-permanent? Weeks, Months, Years?

A: My tree experts, Chris Heim and Art Morris, say it will probably take at least a couple of years. One of them pointed out that it will be hard to get a uniform curve on the tree trunks. Because each tree trunk varies in diameter, the thickness of compression and tension tissue on the convex and concave sides of each tree will vary as the trunk narrows.

If you are looking for multiple identical curves, you’d have to build a separate molding form for each trunk.