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jim w's picture

I'm sure this sounds incredibly ignorant to those in the know but here goes anyway.  If steam can be used to prep a piece of wood for bending, why can't one just boil the wood and loosen it up that way?  In this case I want to make a toboggan with some ash I've been air drying for 3 years now.

MBerger's picture

(post #125684, reply #1 of 4)

Boiling works just fine, as well. In fact, it's common when the pieces are small enough to fit inside a pot of water. I think steaming is more popular because it's easier to make a steam box for large workpieces than a giant boiling pot.


Take a look at this article for more details.


- Matt


 

Tom77's picture

(post #125684, reply #2 of 4)

Matt,

I have been looking unsuccessfully for a reference that supports your statement that boiling works just fine. The article mentions soaking prior to steaming to moisten the outer layers. Is there some other reference or are you stating that on personal experience?

Thanks, Tom.

Fine Woodworking in Boulder, CO, at www.woodtableau.com

MBerger's picture

(post #125684, reply #3 of 4)

You're right about that article not going into any detail, although the author does say in passing in the first paragraph tha you can "steam or boil." I scoured our site to find where I first read about this technique but had no luck, so I expanded my search to Google.


One application is when making shaker boxes: check out this article, which includes boiling the box sides.


Here's another reference to it on WoodWeb, which is usually a reputable source. Read a few comments down in the thread.


Here's a book excerpt that suggests you start with the wood in cold water and then bring to a boil. The wood may crack if introduced to boiling water too quickly.


An excerpt from one of Taunton's books warns that overboiling is problematic. Read more about it here. That said, I've encountered some of these same problems from over steaming wood.


To be safe, your best bet would be to test this out for yourself. In fact, I'm so curious I think I'm going to try it out... I'll report back on my results later this week.


- Matt

Tom77's picture

(post #125684, reply #4 of 4)

Matt,
Thanks much for the research. I did some steam bending a few years ago and have used bent lamination mostly since then. It is nice to fill in some holes in my knowledge.

Best regards, Tom.

Fine Woodworking in Boulder, CO, at www.woodtableau.com