wood steamers

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Forum topic by prez posted 07-07-2009 06:20 PM 1648 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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375 posts in 3405 days

07-07-2009 06:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resource question

I was looking through some blogs about how to make wood steamers and how long it takes before you can bend the wood….

Here’s a question…..If I’m only steaming 1/8 ” strips (58” long) I still have to steam the wood or can I get away with just using boiling water and letting it sit in the water for awhile….?

-- George..." I love the smell of a workshop in the morning!"

6 replies so far

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Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3432 days

#1 posted 07-07-2009 06:37 PM

1/8” is about the thickness of a guitar side. I soak them in the bathtub overnight with a little dishwashing soap to soften the fibers then I have a 4” pipe mounted on legs on a bench and capped on one end and with a propane torch in the other. As you bend an area by rocking it and applying hand pressure the wood steams and it bends nicely. And this is with mahogany that can tend to splinter and Rosewood which is pretty hard stuff. If you’ve got really long pieces then soaking the wood in areas you want to bend it with a sponge will have a pretty good effect.

1/8 wide strips should be a since and if your curves aren’t too tight then you might get away with boiling them awhile. It also depends on the wood. Oak.. a cinch… maple I dunno.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View prez's profile


375 posts in 3405 days

#2 posted 07-07-2009 08:18 PM

tks C o t L…..using mahogany strips…in a 16” diam circle to make a steering wheel cover….if successful, may try different types of wood…i.e. teak. Was thinking of using a 4” pipe and cutting in half ….capping ends and putting boiling water in bottom half with strips of wood…
some good ideas out there so might modify my idea for better results….

-- George..." I love the smell of a workshop in the morning!"

View ahock's profile


102 posts in 3318 days

#3 posted 07-07-2009 08:48 PM

I’ve bent 1/8” oak on a 14” diameter circle, using water. I wrapped the pieces individually in paper towels and soaked them for 1 1/2 days. Then I pulled them out and put them in the jig, tightened it up and let them dry for 3 days. When I loosened the jig, they recoiled about 1/4”. Then I wiped them down with MS, let them dry, and glued them up, worked great for me.

-- Andy, PA ~Finding satisfaction in creation

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John Gray

2370 posts in 3879 days

#4 posted 07-08-2009 06:09 AM

I’ve had good luck bending 3/16” X 1” Oak strips by just wrapping them in wet rags for an hour or so.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View prez's profile


375 posts in 3405 days

#5 posted 07-09-2009 02:24 AM

Success on the bending thing…...used a 2” black pipe and cut a 1/4 off…(along the lenght)put two end fittings on it….placed the strips inside the pipe and added boiling water. Let sit for a few hours, then bent the wood. Worked great with just one break but that was caused by a small knot in the strip. I’ll let them dry for a few days in the jig, then will take them out and cut them accurately and glue them up. Hope it works..will let you all know.

-- George..." I love the smell of a workshop in the morning!"

View whitedog's profile


652 posts in 3451 days

#6 posted 07-09-2009 02:57 AM

there is a good article in the last Fine Woodworking Mag. ( june ) on hot bending . that might work for you.

-- Paul , Calfornia

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