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Bender Heaven

14 15 stressing and setting poles tricks of the trade The majority of poles will naturally bend further from the butt end than desired, so if the poles are not stressed or set they will try to revert back to a shape that is more comfortable to them. This can occur in 10 minutes or over a few weeks, turning your beautiful bender into a narrow, arching cathedral. Using unset poles with a slottogether bender design can split a ridge pole pages 1819 down its length and even put the toughest of wurzels pages 2021 to the test. To stress poles, start about 2 ft up the pole from the butt end, place your hands a foot or more apart, then pull the pole against your knee or push it against a tree. Bend the pole until you hear the fibres along the far edge starting to part, move up the pole several times at 8 inch intervals, repeating the process. Then go back over it all one more time. After stressing its always worth staking your poles out for a few weeks to set them into shape to prevent them returning to type. 23 weeks in midsummer should be adequate whereas 46 weeks is preferable in midwinter. You can use fire to accelerate the process but this may lead to brittleness and a shorter lifespan. Prepare a number of 2 ft long stakes with a point on one end, and use these to set your poles into shape. It is usually necessary to set them in batches of 56 poles as any more than that will force the stakes out of the ground. After a good stressing, stake your bender poles out to set them or alternatively string them in a bow.
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