As a recap in case you haven’t read the first post, I’m trying to build a unique cribbage board while keeping with the traditional layout. My idea, have an inlay for the track. Difficult & challenging? Probably. Fun and exciting? Definitely!
I think I read everything on the internet about steam boxes before I did this, and I still didn’t learn it all. I figured bending will be the most difficult thing about this, so better get started on it early. I still haven’t finalized the design, but I’m going to start playing with bending wood.
I had a rough idea of what I wanted in my mind (A good steam box for $0). Almost, but not quite. I tried real hard looking around at scraps of things but just couldn’t get what I wanted. So I made a trip to Totem and picked up some 4” PVC (I wanted it big enough for whatever project I worked on) and a few other doo-dads. Here they are in all their glory.
The first challenge which I knew was coming, was how to get my fitting for the small hose in the hole I drilled in the Pipe, but from the INSIDE. Here you can see it, now how to get it out?
I got it lined up just right using gravity, and then an “L” shaped hook off my pegboard style toolwall did the trick to get it through.
After that, I cut a hole in the $20 kettle from Zellers (like Walmart) and put the same fitting in. All I had to do now was connect my hose with a couple of hose clamps, and this thing was never coming apart. Add to that a little silicone around the kettle hole and I thought I’d get lots of steam up into my chamber.
Well, let’s just say more steam was coming out of the power-cord opening than there was going up my spout. I think the 3/4” hose was a bit too tiny. I also would have had better success with a higher quality kettle. This thing leaks steam like you wouldn’t believe. It comes out of the power switch, by the power-cord, absolutely everywhere! So after a good 20 minutes, my temperature wasn’t going past 160F. Perfect for nice side of ham, but not so good for a long piece of oak.
Back to Totem! This time to buy a much larger connecting pipe. And I did. I bought a 2” pipe to go from the kettle to the steam box, and a proper 4” to 2” adapter. I didn’t want to have to try and connect the two pipes myself. At this point my steam box is no longer cheap:
Materials Round 1: ~$20
new pipe and fitting $20.
That’s $60 for a bunch of plastic and wires….
So I put it all together, and cut a new hole in my kettle. The plastic is really brittle and difficult to cut without the right tools, so I used side cutters and a tile chipper. Next time I’ll heat a knife and cut it. Here it is in all it’s glory!
This time it cracked the 160F mark and went beyond. Too bad my temperature gauge is so horrible. I keep having to tap it to get it to move. But it looks like all will be well. Next up, some bending!
-- Heyz, in the cold winterland of Canada