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OK.  So I'm building the oven and all is going well.  I'm using a piece of 3" round duct for the inner chamber. I bought some 1/2" hardware cloth/rat screen and unrolled it. You probably know the rest. Is there a way to make that stuff lay flat?  I've backrolled it, put weights on it, etc. and just can't understand how anyone uses this as an oven rack. Suggestions are appreciated.  (Bruce Johns)

    I think you just sent the biggest chill down my back….

    I had the same problem and just did the best I could to get it flat but it was never perfectly flat. I’m not sure it can be done.

    I thought about building a rack of heavier wire to the proper dimensions and inserting that.

    Good luck and let me know if you come up with a better solution.  (Ren Monllor)

      I've had a similar experience. I just beat on my hardware cloth rack with a length of  1/2 inch iron pipe after it was in the 3 inch duct to get it sort of flat lengthwise and it turned out a little dish shaped crosswise.

      I am not sure if having the whole rack very flat really matters that much. After heat treating the strips are straighter than before, but for me they all seem to have a shallow bend towards the pith side. After gluing up the sections the straightness seems for me to be  having the binder set up right and using the minimum binder weight, as opposed to any sagging of rod sections between the rack bumps when I heat-set the glue. Of course it could be that my equipment is still better than me in determining the quality of the rod sections since I am only working on rod #5.  (Joe Hudock)

    Cut it wider than the 3" diameter, maybe an 1 1/2" on each side, 6" total width. Roll out the 6" wide mesh on a 3" wide  board, put another 3" wide board on top and clamp at each end. Now bend the sides of the mesh that overlap the edges forming a 90* angle on each side. Remove the boards and using your hands bend the mesh past the 90* angle until it just fits inside your 3" tube, when I did this it was not perfect as it had a bit of a twist to it but it has worked well for me.  Looking at it upside down it should kind of look like this -  /___\ . Good luck and wear gloves!  (Don Green)

    An alternate idea for an oven rack.

    I have a friend that worked in a metal shop. He cut a piece of 1/16th inch flat steel to fit my oven and punched a series of quarter sized holes in it. No warp and it holds heat. I don't get a lot of temp drop when I put in the bamboo.  (David Atchison)

      I did something similar David.  I used a 6" wide by 60" long piece of expanded metal.  My fishing buddy Jud Moore owned and operated a sheet metal shop.  He put the entire piece in a machine break and bent 1" on each edge to 120 degrees giving me the shape a little like this:

       ____
      \      /

      But the corners were nice and sharp.  The expanded metal doesn't warp, and it allows air to flow around and through it freely.  (Harry Boyd)

    Since you already have the rat screen, you should take it to a sheet metal (HVAC) shop with the dimensions you want and let them bend it on a brake. It will come out perfectly flat and square edges. Since it only takes a few minutes, I don’t think they would charge you much if anything.

    Or return it and buy expanded metal.  (Tom Vagell)

    For the rack I used a piece of flat expanded metal from Home Depot. To make it long enough I cut a couple of pieces to width and then brazed the ends together. Flat no wrinkles or bumps.  (Floyd Burkett)

    To get the mesh to lay flat I folded mine into a kind of long triangle with the bottom apex held together with some wire I had laying around.

    I just use a strip of wood to make the long straight initial bend and folded the rest over by hand. the result was a nice long stiff triangular tube that I can slide out to remove strips.

    Just make sure you have gloves on when you slide it out after heat treating or it will leave a  rather funky pattern on you fingers.  (Nick Hughes)

    How about using gutter screen it comes in 4' sections and is flat. any comments?  (Bill Vincent)

      For continuous vented soffit the construction industry will use aluminum.  It is rigid, perforated for ventilation and can be purchased at almost any lumber company such as Lowes or Home Depot.  It's about 2-3/4" wide with usable flat area 1-3/4" wide by a 8' which can be cut down for length.

      The first few rods I made I used my heat gun oven but switched over to garden torch and flaming.  The vented soffit worked well allowing plenty of room for bound tips and butt section and rested nicely in my 6" heated tube.  I did not fix the soffit vent to the tube wall but slid the vent in and out which makes it much easier to handle.  (Doug Alexander)

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