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klgilfillan

Bending ceiling battens

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Hi all, 

I've had a look to find techniques for bending ceiling battens but don't have a clear picture yet. My transport options are limited so have got my battens from B&Q. They're 38mm x 25mm. I have crosswise steel battens on the ceiling of the boat at 500mm intervals. So far, my understanding is:

Drill holes through steel batten and matching holes through wooden batten and brute force the batten to bend until you can screw it in. 

Or, dampen/soak the batten in some way (not sure with what)

Or, cut small notches into the ceiling-side side of the batten to help it bend. 

Also, do people agree that sikaflex is good enough for attaching battens (even to the ceiling) or is screwing them in preferable?

 Thanks for any advice...

Kerry

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Not done this, but you might be able to make a steam box to heat the battens and allow them to be bent to shape. Same thing is used on a bigger scale for the timbers of wooden boat. The output from a wallpaper steamer, or kettle piped in to a suitable size metal tube that takes a batten. Open ended to let the steam escape. Care would be needed to prevent scalding.

A bit of youtubing shows a guy using a plastic bag and kettle steaming a similar size bit of wood for a small boat. Simple to set up.

Jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies

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If you use Sikaflex it would still be necessary to use a couple of screws towards the centre of the batten to achieve the curved shape until the adhesive sets. Bending shouldn't be a problem but to make the process easier avoid wood with too many knots. 

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1 minute ago, BWM said:

Bending shouldn't be a problem but to make the process easier avoid wood with too many knots. 

Don't think that is possible if buying wood from B&Q! :giggles:

Jen

  • Haha 1

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43 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Don't think that is possible if buying wood from B&Q! :giggles:

Jen

Better still, go to Wickes-most of their timber has more curves than an alpine road! 

Edited by BWM

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I used support rods to hold and bend the batten to the roof.   I used wingtip self drilling counter sunk screws to screw into the “steel” batten.  I used underfloor foam between the steel and batten as a barrier for heat transfer.

Edited by Robbo

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Ok, thanks a lot for replies. So, if I'm struggling to get them to bend (later today when I have someone here with bigger muscles than me), is cutting small notches toward the centre of the batten an option? Or will it cause them to split/eventually degrade? 

(What do you call the steel battens running crosswise on the ceiling?)

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Life later on will be much easier if you make sure you have the same shape of bend  on each batten.  DAMHIKT.  Make a curved template on a stick and ensure the battens fit this.  Notching the battens is OK but 38x25 should bend all right without.

As said beware of timber with knots.  It either breaks at the knot or doesn't form a smooth curve.

If you are spray foaming the boat this will help hold the battens on.

N

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I would use a strategically placed car jack on the floor with a length of timber up to the batten would bend (and hold the batten), allowing it to be fixed in place.

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Ok, thanks all. Also, just to be clear, I'm bending them on the 38mm side, to put up 40mm kingspan. (So hope that seems doable to people). 

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22 minutes ago, system 4-50 said:

My ceiling battens (steel narrowboat) run lengthways so no bending required.

Yeah, that's an option I've been thinking about. 

Am worried that if I run four lengthwise battens, then, with my crosswise battens, I will have to chop the kingspan up into little chunks and lose a lot of insulating value. 

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34 minutes ago, klgilfillan said:

Am worried that if I run four lengthwise battens, then, with my crosswise battens, I will have to chop the kingspan up into little chunks and lose a lot of insulating value. 

On the other hand you will be insulating the majority of the steel battens.

1 hour ago, LEO said:

I would use a strategically placed car jack on the floor with a length of timber up to the batten would bend (and hold the batten), allowing it to be fixed in place.

Use support rods as they have a jack built in.

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1 hour ago, klgilfillan said:

Ok, thanks all. Also, just to be clear, I'm bending them on the 38mm side, to put up 40mm kingspan. (So hope that seems doable to people). 

They may be more prone to splitting when used that way around. 

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With Innisfree I screwed strips of easily bent 10mm ply to the steel with self tappers, 10mm thick timber battens were then screwed to the ply, this eliminated any thermal bridging. The timber battens were knot free trim for final finish and screwed to enable easy removal if required at a future date. Instead if you prefer you could use those battens to trap Kingspan and finish material in place by glueing instead of screwing. 

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As for bending, a length of 3x2, cut slightly longer than the floor to ceiling height, should easily push the 38x25 into place. 

It’s not like it usually much of a radius. 

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Don't know if it's appropriate in your case but you can help ease battens into a curve with a series of close together crossways saw cuts in the central section about half depth or a bit more. Works especially well with plywood battens.

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Hi all, many thanks for advice. What we did in the end was not pretty but it will hopefully work. The guy I'm working with was not happy with trying to force the battens to bend by putting rods underneath them. He wanted to cut curved battens with a jigsaw. Because I reckoned that would be really time-consuming (I'm on a budget), we decided instead to cut the battens into 200mm sections. I have existing wooden battens screwed into the crosswise steel battens, which are 25mm deep and 10mm wide. So we screwed the 200mm sections into the existing wooden battens and also stuck them to the ceiling and the existing battens with sikaflex. We filled in any small gaps between sections with more sikaflex. The existing wooden battens are in decent condition so I think it'll be ok. 

Hope no one tells me I've made a disastrous mistake. It looks pretty solid.

I tried notching two battens to help them bend (small notches - only about 1.5mm) but one split on a knot when I bent it against the ceiling and the other one split on one of the notches. 

RW Davis told me that if you have time you can weight them and soak them for a month in the canal before bending them. 

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41 minutes ago, Bobbybass said:

Cut some plywood into narrow strips....like this....then steam them.

WorkmanSaw.jpg

I wish I’d thought of that, then I wouldn’t have needed that offcut of Celotex...

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