Steaming wood for ribs and trim.

Questions/concerns/issues. How did the other guy do it? Find out here.

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Steaming wood for ribs and trim.

Postby Ron P » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:07 am

Anybody out there have any luck steaming wood. I am replacing the trim that goes around the gunnels. The piece that the rubber molding goes over. All I have is this picture so far!!! It looks like they are heating water in a metal box directly.. With the wood in the water. I have seen other set ups using a metal can and running the steam only to a enclosed pvc pipe. Anyone here ever make up something like this? Thanks Ron P. Image


Click on picture for bigger view.
Ron Pistohl
64 Cruisers Inc. 17 ft,W/64Johnson 90hp

65 Thompson 15 ft.W/65 Evinrude 40hp
Appleton,Wisconsin
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Postby John Hart » Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:59 pm

I used a chunk of PVC pipe (maybe 2 1/2") with an end cap... the other end connected to an electric tea kettle via a radiator hose... Turns out, I didn't use the pieces, but the process worked... There are some articles on Steam bending in the Woodenboat Mag... plus I believe, previous Docksides Newsletter
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Postby Phill Blank » Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:02 pm

There are a couple different ways to bend wood. Best is to steam the wood where only the steam touches the wood. I have talked with a couple guys that do wood boat repairs for a living and they soak their wood for a couple days in hot water before steaming. They have a long tube with a hot water heater element in the bottom that they can control the water temp with for presoaking. They said this will help the wood obsorbe water which when steamed allows the wood fibers to be more plyable for bending. The unit in the photo may have rack where the wood is placed on out of the water and the wood is only seeing the steam.

I do remember my Dad bending white ash planks for a tabagan years ago and he put the wood strips in a copper boiler and heated the waster in the boiler on a wood stove in our basement until he could bend the planks.

One thing to remember it is easier to bend green wood that has been air dried rather then kiln dried wood. Kiln dried wood needs to be pre-soaked to get it's water content back up to where steaming will soften the woodfibers for bending.

I purchased a great book from the Wooden Boat Store which has a lot of info on steaming and bending wood. The name of the book is "Frame, Stem & Keel Repair" you can go to http://www.woodenboat.com and purchase online. Avery helpful book in many ways.

Good Luck!
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Steam bending wood

Postby Rodney Syverson » Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:23 pm

There are numerous books that give information on steam bending wood. A good book for boat restorations that has great advice for all aspects of restoring wooden boats, is Dan Danenbergs "How to Restore Your Wooden Runabout". This book and his second book on Lapstrake style boats is a must have for proper restoration. He covers the steam bending part real well and there are some do's and don'ts. I made my steam box out of a sheet of plywood, some pipe and fittings and bent all my ribs and the gunnel piece you are talking about. Steambending is amazing to do and not all that difficult, besides a lot of fun. Good Luck! :wink: Rod S
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Steam bending.

Postby Ron P » Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:41 pm

Thanks everyone who answered my question here. I Think i will be able to do this.Looked over Don Danebergs book also. I think i will make his set up......

I removed the port side gunnel trim and noticed the angle on the back side changes a long the hull. At the bow it is 45 degrees,by the time it gets to the windshield it changes quite a bit. I have the problem now of duplcating this. The factory must of used a jig of somekind.... Rod or Andreas how did you fiqure this out.

I have band saw ,table saw and belt sander too.

I see in Don Danebergs book he bends the trim up agenst the old piece before it is removed. THen how do you make the back angle right????
:? cheers Ron P
Ron Pistohl
64 Cruisers Inc. 17 ft,W/64Johnson 90hp

65 Thompson 15 ft.W/65 Evinrude 40hp
Appleton,Wisconsin
Photostream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waddlep/show/
Ron P
 
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Location: Appleton,Wisconsin

Postby a j r » Fri Feb 17, 2006 4:52 am

Use your band saw, table saw and belt sander and just go at it! A lot of this is just winging it, since we don't have all those jigs as they did in the factory. Eye ball it and try the fit and if it isn't correct go at it again and again and again until it fits!

Andreas
Image
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Filler block on gunnel

Postby Rodney Syverson » Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:13 pm

I looked at that board for a year and tried to figure out how to do it. Mine weren't too bad but one was chewed up a little and the end was broke off. I almost thought I would use them over but really wanted to make them new. I even asked some cabinetmaker types as well. No one could tell me how to do it and I assume it was done on a band saw with a special jig that would be difficult to duplicate.
I finally figured a way to make it and I am happy with the results.
With the originals removed I measured the maximum dimensions and I believe it was 1+1/2 by 1+1/2 by whatever length. I cut that out of a piece of 8/4 white oak.
I then measured off station marks every 6 inches starting at the front of the old board and transferred these station marks to my new board. As it appeared the original board had a 90 degree corner with the outside face to bottom face making the 90 I felt I could assume my new board should be the same. I then measured the lower dimension and upper dimension off the old at each station mark and transferred these dimensions to the new.
Then using a Japanese pull saw I cut through each station mark until I got closing to each measurement, basically defining what was to be removed from the new at each station mark. Yes it does change angle every lineal foot of travel and by cutting into the new boards the right distance at each station mark you have established the face of the inside of that board.
I then used a bandsaw for hogging off the bulk of the material that had to be removed and then finished with a power plane and finally a hand plane to the cut lines and finally a faired face that created the inside face of this piece. With that I checked the fit up to the hull before steambending and made a few adjustments where necessary. I then placed it in the steambox which only covered the thickest 8' of board. With help I quickly bent it in place tight up against the hull and clamped with C-clamps to hold for a few days so it would set. Not until I was able to secure with screws did I get the tight fit I wanted. However I did have a few areas where there was a little bit of gapping but adjusted with a block plane and filled the rest. These filler boards are by far the most challenging piece of wood to recreate on the Thompson. I would guess I put about 5 hours apiece into making them. :wink: Rod Syverson
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Postby Ron P » Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:08 am

THanks for the great replies. I will do this on the band saw by tilting the table as I go. Should take some time but will be worth it. Better than a bunch of wood puddy in all the rotted areas. Thanks Again. Ron P
Ron Pistohl
64 Cruisers Inc. 17 ft,W/64Johnson 90hp

65 Thompson 15 ft.W/65 Evinrude 40hp
Appleton,Wisconsin
Photostream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waddlep/show/
Ron P
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:30 am
Location: Appleton,Wisconsin

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