Thanks gents. It does seem the wood former is the way. I like the idea of the kitchen worktop as material.
I already have a large "record" vice I think the wood would be more sympathetic to the surface of the material than the jaws.
The template is made from 3/4 ply using a parabola program I have.
I'll let you know how it goes. I've got some half inch galvanized square mesh to cover it, but I'd be interested in your Aluminium mesh John if you could post a link or photo it would be great.