Time was, I’d bend the sides for my guitars using (1) a steam chamber, and (2) a metal form that had about 3000 Watts of incandescent bulbs inside, and (3) a lot of luck, and usually not enough of that.
It took about 2 and a half hours of work to bend up a set, and I had a certain number of inadvertent “let’s make some kindling instead of a guitar side” events that really sucked.
Today was the maiden attempt to use my new rig on good wood, which uses an electric rubber heat blanket. It takes about 2 minutes to come up to heat, and the bending process is over in 5. It takes more time to spritz the wood down, wrap it in foil, and position it in the bender precisely than it does to actually bend it. Then I clamp everything in place and let it cool down.
I was able to bend 2 sets of sides, perfectly, in just over an hour. I am so very happy!
Done! One set of walnut sides and one set in curly maple.