So for an English class we have our final project coming up, and i have no clue what this has to do with English but i have the okay to do it anyway. I am building a renaissance style Cittern based off of measurements from different ones of the time. So far i have the neck going but i need to figure out a way to bend the sides, i don't have a bending iron or a steamer so i'm thinking about either soaking the sides in really hot water for a few hours or either trying the heating blanket method.

I've heard about LMI or something blankets, but this project is on a smaller budget so would most blankets work for the wood, its poplar siding by the way, only wood available here that would be worth anything. If anyone with a lot of experience with acoustic style instruments could help it would be most appreciated.
You can make a bender quite cheaply with some pipe and a propane torch/bbq starter/heating element.

Check out the MIMF library (regisiter free to have access) there is heaps of info there about build iron cheaply with different heat sources.