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Author Topic: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?  (Read 4563 times)

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Offline Danny_S

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Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« on: November 08, 2003, 04:05:43 PM »
Yea, one of those thingy's.... any pics of what you have or built would be great.. I have an idea in mind, but some hints would be great. I have researched it some and there is a fine art to it and I would like to try it....
Plasma cutting at Craig Manufacturing

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2003, 04:09:40 PM »
  First boat I ever built, I drove a broken baseball bat into the end of a piece of 2" galv. pipe. Filled it with water and used a JEN-U WINE Gasoline blow torch to heat the water. I wuz bending mahogany chines for a 14' boat. Nuthin to it ;) ;) ;D
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Offline music_boy

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2003, 04:23:14 PM »
I saw one on a website that used a pipe with caps. Put the wood in, ran the steam in one end out the other.  :P
Rick
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2003, 05:36:45 PM »
You might want to try a few of these links:

http://www.megspace.com/lifestyles/njmarine/Steam.html

http://www.bluemud.org/article/18152

There's a video over at Ebay on wood bending as well as a couple of books.  Use wood bending in the search.

I know one guy doing it for a living.  He uses 4/4 and 5/4 red oak, mainly FAS.  He makes the curved parts for chais, and the bottoms for tables.  He uses a commercial unit and sells to local furniture makers.  He seems to be doing very good.

I also met a guy who makes shaker boxes.  He basically boiled the wood for about 20 minutes.  Then bent it around a jig.  He also makes a full time living at this.  
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Offline AtLast

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2003, 07:12:19 PM »
I built one but not on that large of a scale. I use mine for bending to make furniture. Found the plans on a woodworking site but cant remember which 1.  Lee Valley sells plans and the " kettle". Basically all it is is a rectangle with an open end that has a cover to close...a hole in the bottom that the pipe of the kettle ( basically a tea kettle). It works really good and was rather inexpensive to make.

Offline austinworks

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2003, 07:23:28 PM »
I just got Zach Taylor's Woodbending Handbook - there are a couple of pictures that don't seem to hard to duplicate.

I ordered an electric bending blanket from a Uke builder in Hawaii to use with a mold - supposedly you just wrap the soaked wood and it steams between the mold and the blanket and you slowly clamp it down. If your interested I'll let you know how it comes out after I get the molds all done

Offline UNCLEBUCK

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2003, 08:09:36 PM »
I looked in my stack of wooden boat mags and I have a video  called  steam bending for woodworkers by rollin thurlow , you can buy it or rent the video from them , very straight forward video showing  basic pvc pipe with rags stuffed at ends or big wood boxes heated with a hot water heater burner and a beer keg and radiator hose , he shows and explains it all !               www.woodenboat.com  it use to be itme number   VHS # 350-35S   ,  best thing I ever viewed  ;)
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Offline Danny_S

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2003, 09:05:36 PM »
Pretty darn simple I guess, the building part.... now the science to bending it gets tricky...  I read that you only have to steam a peice for about 20 mins?..  I guess I will just have to go try it....  should be able to build some kind of twisted peice of something :D  

Thanks for the replies guys..... good info...
Plasma cutting at Craig Manufacturing

Offline UNCLEBUCK

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2003, 09:18:50 PM »
 good luck with bending , its alot of fun !  I usually go 1 hour of steam per 1 inch of white oak and the video I mentioned gets into and actually shows the science of it using jigs and flat stock iron bending straps with adjustable stops , all homemade things and at the very end of the video he shows what a steam box is really good for and pulls out 2 lobsters for lunch  :D  but it shows the tea pot ,steam iron , every way imaginable to steam, coleman stove , you name it !  cant say enough about rollin thurlow , very down to earth and one of the best canoe builders in maine I have read. take care !
UNCLEBUCK    bridge burner/bridge mender

Offline pappy

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2003, 05:00:52 PM »
Buck,

I built myself a steamer to bend ribs to repair canoes.  I used a propane single burner hot plate, pressure cooker remove the fitting where the jiggly weight is and place a fitting to accept a copper flare fitting.  Run a piece of copper tubing up to the green pipe (sewer line)at the access end. Place a cap on one end and make a wooden plug for the access end.

Inside the sewer line I placed heavy gage wire from a refrigerator into 1/2" plastic pipe to keep from staining the wood I was steaming.  



Setup the pipe so as the condensed water can flow out through a hole at the opposite end of the plug hole.  Check the water level often cause you can cook the gasket. :-/

happy bending,
tim

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Offline UNCLEBUCK

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2003, 05:19:53 PM »
Termite , thats a good set up you have , like the pressure cooker thing . I used the beer keg method , had a hard time buying a empty keg but found one for 20 dollars then knocked a hole where the tap went then just a wood plug and a radiator hose like heater hose , drilled through the wood plug, I like your idea about staining with the rack, hope you had fun working on your canoe !
UNCLEBUCK    bridge burner/bridge mender

Offline fencerowphil (Phil L.)

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2003, 06:47:29 PM »
In my piano shop I have what the old timers in the business had called a "steam jenny".

My version is a Walmart "Fry Daddy" cooker with a custom machined-to-fit stainless steel top/lid.  This was machined with a circular groove around the underside of the perimeter for a silicone seal, then drilled and threaded for a brass nipple in the center of this lid.  A rubber hose is wrapped with fiberglas pipe insulation and attaches to the nipple.  I rigged some homemade spring clips to hold the lid for a tight fit atop the Fry Daddy.  The lid could be done more cheaply with the top off some other pot, etc.

If this simple steam supply system were connected to an insulated large pipe, it would do the job on small items, but not large stuff.

Phil L.    (yea, you guessed it:   The lid cost me more than everything else.)   :-/
Bi-VacAtional:  Piano tuner and sawyer.  (Use one to take a vacation from the other.) Have two Stihl 090s, one Stihl 075, Echo CS8000, Echo 346,  two Homely-ite 27AVs, Peterson 10" Swingblade Winch Production Frame, 36" and 54"Alaskan mills, and a sore back.

Offline Don P

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2003, 06:48:58 PM »
I remember maybe in an old Fine WWorking, an article showing stuff bent using wood soaked in a solution of downey fabric softener. Made sense to me, its all cellulose  ???  They also had pictures of wood a University had bent using I think ammonia gas. I remember that piece was REALLY twisted.
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Offline fencerowphil (Phil L.)

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2003, 07:05:09 PM »
It was Fine Woodworking,  Don.  A steam system  idea also showed up in one of their "Techniques" books.  

See page 162 of Fine Woodworking - Techniques 2 published by Taunton Press.  The table of most bendables includes Hackberry (best), then White Oak, Red Oak, and on down the list.
Phil L.     :P
Bi-VacAtional:  Piano tuner and sawyer.  (Use one to take a vacation from the other.) Have two Stihl 090s, one Stihl 075, Echo CS8000, Echo 346,  two Homely-ite 27AVs, Peterson 10" Swingblade Winch Production Frame, 36" and 54"Alaskan mills, and a sore back.

Offline woodbeard

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2003, 03:39:17 AM »
One thing I've always wondered, is what happens to the moisture content of the wood after it is steamed?
It seems strange to take a piece of wood that has air dried for many years ( decades in some cases ) and then pump it full of water again. I know there is something I'm missing here.
Something about the "bound water," maybe?

Offline fencerowphil (Phil L.)

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Re: Anyone build a steam-wood bending thingy..?
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2003, 09:45:42 AM »
When you think about it, the main purpose of the steam is to heat the wood, without wetting it very much.  The hot cellulose becomes more flexible and more elastic.   You bend it and hold it while it cools, allowing for some "spring-back" in you jig design.  A side benefit of the steam is that a little surface moisture is absorbed by the wood which lets the tension side of the bend give .  (I have even done some quick bending of thin stuff by heating it quickly with a torch, also with a very hot steam iron.  Don't tell her, though.)

Needless to say, you do have to return to the overall MC you need, before more machining and finishing is done, but it's not as bad as you would think.   The grain is also raised.  The hot wood begins to dry immediately.   Steam too long and we may have another chapter to write.

The ammonia process,  mentioned above by Don P., depends upon a chemical plasticizing effect brought about by the dangerous ammonia, rather than heat.  A whiff of that stuff is like finding onions in your mornin' cereal in place of the bananas.   Whew !
Phil L.
Bi-VacAtional:  Piano tuner and sawyer.  (Use one to take a vacation from the other.) Have two Stihl 090s, one Stihl 075, Echo CS8000, Echo 346,  two Homely-ite 27AVs, Peterson 10" Swingblade Winch Production Frame, 36" and 54"Alaskan mills, and a sore back.


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