I finally decided to steam-bend the stems. I had a lot of worries leading up to this but it was much easier than I had thought it would be. I machined a dozen strips 1/4” x 7/8” x 4’ out of walnut. I threw the strips in my steam-tube for about 20 minutes and then my wife helped by applying the C-clamps while I bent the strips around the form. We put the first clamp at the keel end and then I bent the strips around the form and held it while she put a clamp at the bend and then one at the sheer end. After those three were set we added a few more to even it out. It takes very little pressure to hold the strips in place so if you are planning this make sure not to crush the wood. I steamed the strips for one end and then the other rather than trying to bend them all at once. I took a good minute to bend the second set of stems and it went ok but I couldn’t have taken much longer without putting them back in the steamer.
My cheap little steamer. I added a funnel to the bottom in an attempt to collect the steam as it condensed back into water. It didn’t work that great but did keep the strips inside the tube.
This is where the strips were bent. I fastened the mold past the end of the strongback with a temporary piece on the other end instead of the station mold so I could run the ends wild. I’ll trim them back and laminate them with epoxy before setting the molds in place.
-- Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh