Steam bent archfront chest of drawers

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Project by Woodson59 posted 04-23-2015 06:31 PM 947 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Little commissioned piece for a beach house, yeah they made me paint it. I was for staining it in some beachy pastels, They were for matching the color of the rest of the furniture. I got my pastels in though on the drawer bottoms. First try at an arch front or steam bending, though. Overall I was pretty happy

4 comments so far

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

300 posts in 1469 days

#1 posted 04-24-2015 01:51 AM

No comments yet? I’m surprised. Nice piece of work. What was the material? Did you get it green?

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View ruddhess's profile


117 posts in 631 days

#2 posted 04-24-2015 03:48 AM

Excellent! Nice and tall! Fancy knobs and not all the drawers alike. Great finish too.

-- Rodney, Arkansas

View AJ1104's profile


211 posts in 1080 days

#3 posted 04-24-2015 12:01 PM

Super job! Real nice proportions and design. I am interested in steam bending. What wood and what kind of steam apparatus did you use ? AJ

-- AJ, Long Island. New York

View Woodson59's profile


27 posts in 551 days

#4 posted 04-24-2015 01:47 PM

Thank Yal!

I lucked up and was at a saw mill looking for some pecky cypress for another project, there are a couple mills near that sell direct, and the owner had a lot of leftover white oak he had air dried. It bent fairly decently.

I watched a bunch of you tube videos and read an article on steam bending in fine woodworker on a lounge chair they steam bent. In that article they built a steam box from pvc and a wagner power steamer. I wanted steam building in my repertoire for a sail boat I keep saying I’m going to start, which lead me to build a much bigger box than that used in FWW. I wanted something to fill any later needs.

I bought a sheet of ply and quartered it into 1’x8’ strips. Then glued and screwed two halves of the box. I then thinned down some fiber glass resin with acetone. Half acetone, half regular mix of fiberglass resin and coated my two halves of the box. After that’d set up I came back and did a regular cut of resin on the interior of the box was a little extra heavy on the corners. It was a colder day so I had about 30 minutes of working time, once i was all good and coated I slapped the two halves of my box together wet and screwed it aswell. Resin probably wouldn’t be necessary with a moisture tolerant dimensional lumber, but I wanted it to last and was cheap using sheet goods. I was fairly confident it would delaminate otherwise. I then repeated the resin process on the exterior of the box. For the caps I fitted a piece of ply to the interior of the box and another for the exterior. Plan being to eventually laminate the two so you have a rabbeted edge square plug to have two surfaces plugging the hole. Then repeated my resin process and glue and screwed. These can be removed, but fit tight. They won’t fit as tight once the box heats though… Then I went to the big box store and found some fittings that would screw to the wagner power steamer that I could epoxy through one end cap.

Then the experimentation began. Firstly I built too big of a box to get away with the one steamer, Figured that out. Then came the expermentation on over bending to compensate for spring back.

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