Squillis, since I've been posting in your other post regarding this project, I'll add my two cents here too.
Steam bending is actually very easy and doesn't require much at all. I've built a steam box from a couple of 2x4s and duct tape that worked perfectly well. 1 8' 2x4 cut in half for 2 4' pieces, topped with a 1x6" board and "capped" with duct tape on one end and a towel on the other. I used some 1/4" thick flexible tubing (like for a clothes washer) and a standard tea kettle to put the steam into the box. The whole thing cost me about $8 and was easy to take apart when I was finished. If you need longer than a 4' box, just adjust accordingly. (I made an 8' box also for about $12.)
Basically I just steamed the box first, then stuck my materials (I was making kayaks) into the box for about 90 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes, depending upon dimensions of the piece, and then removed them and immediately bent them around my frames. If you have a reverse cut from your table top (the left overs of the piece you cut the top from) you could use that to help support the edge piece and clamp while it takes shape. Generally you only have a minute or two out of the steamer to get your bend set and then it more or less stays. I'd clamp for longer than that though, say 5 to 10 minutes, and then it will retain it's shape well and you can either glue or nail/screw (or both) it to the table edge. If you glue it, make sure to wait until all the moisture from the steam has dried or your glue won't make a good bond and it will de-lam.
That said, if you have a thin strip (say 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) of 1" wide veneer, you shouldn't have any problems bending that without steaming. You could do the same with a slightly thicker piece of oak stained as an accent/contrast piece to your table top but it may require the steaming. Either way, you wouldn't have to worry about grain matching multiple pieces unless you really want to worry about it for a stylized accent.
Last edited by frankp; 05-30-2008 at 05:34 PM.