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Forum topic by scottb posted 01-12-2007 05:35 PM 10758 views 2 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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scottb

3648 posts in 4409 days


01-12-2007 05:35 PM

I’ve been lost with how to proceed on a lamp i’m making (one piece of wood, mixed media – stone base). After pondering for a few months, waiting to acquire the right tools, and finally talking it over with a fellow rennaissance soul at work yesterday I know what I need to do next, what I don’t know, is exactly how.

I have a piece of Lilac, approx 3-4 inches in diameter, 18 or so inches long. I’ve already bored a hole down the center, and removed most of the soft and decayed wood. I’ve figured out how I’ll cut three legs (following the spiral twist of the grain – Dremel!), and I have a vague notion of how to make a steam box that will allow me to bend the legs to where I want them.

Since this is too big for the microwave (a method I know I saw in Wood for making salad tongs), I know I’ll have to make a box. I’m sure I saw plans somewhere, but combing through my magazine pile will take several weeks!

I figure I’ll hook up a capped piece of PVC, slightly larger, to a kettle on the stove via a hose or something, that I’ll probably run outdoors, or try in my in-laws garage.

Now that I’m on the verge of progress with this project, a few other design variations have come to mind, so I know I’m on the right track. (AHHHHRGH! the list is growing!)

What I don’t know, is how long to steam for, will this work, anything else I need to keep in mind? Please share your thoughts and experiences.

Thanks!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/


19 replies so far

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RobS

1334 posts in 4389 days


#1 posted 01-12-2007 06:06 PM

Hey Scott, I recently went to a craft fair where they made a windsor chair. At the beginning of the project they placed two pieces of 1.5” X 1.5” X 48” red oak in a home made steamer and after roughly 30-40 minutes they took one out and bent it around a form, making a semi circle, no splits or cracks. I think I remember them stating that the steamer reached tempuratures well above 250, closer to 280 if I can remember correctly. Their steamer consisted of a 5 foot piece of PVC with capped ends and a propane tank/burner for the heat souce. Sorry can’t remember exactly how the steam was piped into the PVC, some type of plumbing fitting I’m sure. Hope that helps.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

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scottb

3648 posts in 4409 days


#2 posted 01-13-2007 04:46 AM

Ok, so ask, and the universe will provide. What just happened to show up in the mailbox today – the March Issue of wood, with a helpful how-to on steam bending.

not having all the parts on hand to build the box – but readily available, I’m still looking at free alternatives…. seeing the steam rising out of the dishwasher sparked an idea…. but a quick google search shows nothing in the way of bending beyond steaming, kerf cutting and laminating… the latter two are out on this project, and Steaming is still an option…

Any thoughts on concerns for or against using the dishwasher? – it gets hot enough to cook salmon in there (seriously)... and is certainly a moist environment. Up on the rack will keep it from sitting in water, though some methods advocate a weeklong soak beforehand – so I don’t think I’d have to wrap the piece….

anyhow, making a box isn’t out of the question, but does anyone think this is, or definately isn’t worth a shot (before I ruin an appliance, and have to tear out another counter! :)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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Don

2603 posts in 4259 days


#3 posted 01-13-2007 05:42 AM

When I was a boy (mid last century), I lived close to a small fishing community on the Fraser River in British Columbia. There was a thriving boat building industry there to supply trawlers and gill netters; fishing boats built from wood. These were anything up to 75’ in length. To bend the cedar planks around the oak frames of the hull, the wood was steamed for days in long timber steamers. These were simple devices also made from cedar. In essence, they were long boxes butt-joined at the corners. Into one end ran galvanized pipe with holes drilled into the pipe every six inches. The pipe came from a boiler capturing the steam. If I recall correctly, the boilers were fired by oil (this pre-dated the availability of natural gas.

It seems to me that a smaller version of this could easily be made for the back yard.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4382 days


#4 posted 01-13-2007 06:47 AM

Hi Scott,
I just searched Fine woodworking, & found this. It’ll give you an idea of how this guy did it.
I don’t think you need to build a box like him, but it gives you pointers.
http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/SkillsAndTechniques/SkillsAndTechniquesPDF.aspx?id=2004

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4382 days


#5 posted 01-19-2007 05:57 PM

Hey Scott.
Wood magazines latest issue has a feature on wood bending. Here’s a video .
http://www.woodmagazine.com/wood/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/wood/story/data/1167776675349.xml&catref=cat5610002

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

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Don

2603 posts in 4259 days


#6 posted 01-20-2007 01:25 AM

Dick, that’s exactly what I had in mind in my previous post in this thread. Thanks for the link.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

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Obi

2213 posts in 4319 days


#7 posted 01-20-2007 04:32 AM

I have plans to make a home made steamer if anyone wants them. It’s in the book The Complete Manual of Woodworking
Or I can send you the pictures via e-mail

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scottb

3648 posts in 4409 days


#8 posted 01-21-2007 12:41 AM

Thanks All…. between these links, and the latest issue of wood, I think I’m all set!,

however if things turn out to be a bust, I’ll take you up on those plans Obi.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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Obi

2213 posts in 4319 days


#9 posted 01-21-2007 12:54 AM

I can’t recommend that book enough. It’s only $16.00 and to get all that information for that little is a blessing.

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Karson

35128 posts in 4483 days


#10 posted 01-21-2007 06:22 AM

I had a friend that made a steamer out of an brand new 5 gallon gasoline can with a rubber hose to a 4” plastic pipe. (the kind that is used for drain pipes not the Sch 40 pipe). He had dowels pushed through so that his wood would be off the bottom of the tube. He bent sides for canoes. He tipped it up a little so that all of the condensate would drain back into his heating container. Once you add more water and it cools off you basicly have to start the steaming all over again. So you never want the pot to run out and you never want it to cool off. I don’t remember if he had any safety releaf valve so that excess pressure does not cause any problem.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

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scottb

3648 posts in 4409 days


#11 posted 01-21-2007 07:20 PM

That’s pretty smart re-using the hot water… I guess a hot plate with a large (new) gas can seems like a better way to go, and probably no more costly than getting an small, electric kettle. If I put in a relief hole at the upper bottom end of the pipe, that should release pressure, while still conserving the water.

Thanks!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4382 days


#12 posted 01-21-2007 07:45 PM

I think you need a drain hole at the bottom, because the steam does all the work. Steam is much hotter than water condensate. The excess water would cool things down.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

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scottb

3648 posts in 4409 days


#13 posted 02-01-2007 01:30 AM

I just, (finally) found an old issue of Wood about bending things that will fit in the microwave. Specifically a pair of springloaded tongs. That seems pretty straightforward, but in the meantime (when I can find any that is) I’m sourcing supplies to make me a biggun’ with all the advice here.

I’ll get this lamp bent, dangit!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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bud

21 posts in 4236 days


#14 posted 02-01-2007 05:05 AM

all the info i have read say 1 hr in steam box for every inch thickness.

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bud

21 posts in 4236 days


#15 posted 02-01-2007 05:08 AM

lee valley tools and vertas have book on steaming and how to jigs, all in pdf format you can copy, which I did. Lots of ideas there for free.

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