Steam bending wood
Information resources on how to steam bend wood. January 24, 2001
Can you give me any information or resources on steam bending wood?
I use an old truck gas tank with a fill spout that sticks straight up. The tank has a water fill hole on the other end. I stick that fill spout in the end of a 6"-wide PVC pipe. I use a propane crab cooker burner under the tank. I put a 6" cap on the end of the pipe, with holes drilled in it so a little of the steam comes out.
Check out the boat-building web sites for articles on steam bending.
Mike Dunbar's book on Windsor Chair making talks about steam bending.
I have used a rented wallpaper steamer hooked to a 4" piece of PVC with screw-on caps to steam wood for chairs. It will get hot enough to bend the PVC if it isn't supported well. For 1" diameter pieces, it takes 20-25 minutes if I only have a few in the pipe. You have to work fast or the wood will split.
The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).
Comment from contributor A:
I do not recommend PVC for a steam chamber. If tempature should exceed 180 degrees your pipe will begin to collapse. It happened to me so I recommend using wood from the start.
Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?
Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork
KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: General
KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General
KnowledgeBase: Lumber and Plywood
KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: General
KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: General
KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties
KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous
KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous: Woodworking
KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in
any manner without permission of the Editor.
Review Woodweb.com's Copyright Policy.
The editors, writers, and staff at Woodweb.com try to promote safe practices.
What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe
for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use
of materials and methods discussed at Woodweb.com after considerate evaluation,
and at their own risk.
865 Troxel Road
Lansdale, PA 19446
Copyright © 1996-2021 - Woodweb.com