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How NOT to Steam Bend Wood


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  #1  
Old 04-12-2016, 05:32:30 PM
Pete Spaco Pete Spaco is offline
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Default How NOT to Steam Bend Wood

I just went through an extensive and humbling learning experience trying to bend up two sled runners for a small wood hauling sled.

If you already know how to do this, you should get a good laugh from my boo-boos.

See:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYRog0SFw9U
and:
http://spaco.org/Forestry/SteamBendingWood.htm

The guy came today and accepted the runners that I made. I cleaned up the woodshop somewhat and prepared all my mistakes for "thermal oxidation".
But now I am tempted to go out and saw down a white oak tree, get it REALLY quarter sawn and do it some more just because I can (I think!).
I have already spotted two candidates for this next move.

Pete Stanaitis
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:58:04 PM
Harvey Teal Harvey Teal is offline
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Default Re: How NOT to Steam Bend Wood

Pete,

Enjoyed your videos, keep up the good work. I gather that you do not saw your feedstock, that you have someone else provide it? Have you tried radial sawn White Ash, White Oak, etc? In the days of circle mills, much waste was created in radial sawing. Nowadays, with cheap band mills, radial sawing is still a major PITA but it is far more viable. For years I have sawn woodsled runners from curved/deformed tree stock and slippered them with Beech. No steam needed, but dry heat sometimes.

Keep us posted.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:07:05 AM
Pete Spaco Pete Spaco is offline
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Default Re: How NOT to Steam Bend Wood

Yes, I do have someone else saw for me.
This guy has an interesting (to me) band saw mill that he rides on. I think it's home grown.
The guy misunderstood what I wanted. Maybe I wasn't clear enough. He is Amish, so I don't suppose he uses the internet or watches youtube videos.
Anyway, AFTER I got this wood sawed, I brought him an article about quarter and rift sawing. It had pictures of logs with various patterns marked out on them. He said he now understood and that he'd experiment.
What made it all a lot harder was that he was training in a young son to handle the transaction, so the boy is the one I had to explain my needs to at the beginning. I guess I knew that might create a problem, but I thought that the experience would be good for the boy, and I wasn't going to go broke if it didn't work out.
One thing that did work out was that I got one log sawn with 5/8" thick boards so that cut down the amount of planing that I had to do.
As you can probably tell from the above, all this guy saws is plain sawn for building material. And, he has a big contract to saw pallet bases, which are plain sawn, too.
All in all, a good learning experience for me.

Pete Stanaitis
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:46:01 AM
Pete Spaco Pete Spaco is offline
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Default Re: How NOT to Steam Bend Wood

I have watched several videos on the subject. Most of them put their "best foot forward". Some of them do talk about steam bending issues. That's why I focused on my failures in my video and webpage.

Pete Stanaitis
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:22:19 PM
Harvey Teal Harvey Teal is offline
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Default Re: How NOT to Steam Bend Wood

Practice makes perfect. I have "walked" a good many White Oak ribs into clinker-built boat hulls, not all of these were sawn as they should be or steamed right. After a while, you get a feel for it. It's ok not to talk about the ones that didn't work. The ones that DID work are well worth it.....
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:24:42 AM
John Hanson John Hanson is offline
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Default Re: How NOT to Steam Bend Wood

I build sleigh runners, dashboards and parts...lots of steam bending. I had MANY failures, and finally went to laminated parts that are steam bent. They're much stronger, because of the ability to manipulate the grain, and a whole lot easier and dependable. Very seldom can anyone tell the difference. West System Epoxy makes for a wonderful bonding system and we're very happy with the results!



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Old 04-18-2016, 11:40:59 AM
Pete Spaco Pete Spaco is offline
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Default Re: How NOT to Steam Bend Wood

Here's a chart I found in several places on the internet.
The article often says that this is for a 1" thick blank, but only when using a strap:

Species Smallest Radii
Oak (red and white) 2"
Hickory 2"
Elm 2"
Walnut 3"
Ash 4.5"
Cherry* 6"
Maple** 8"
* Requires some experience to bend flawlessly. It is
prone to compression wrinkles on the inside face. These
can often be removed during shaping and sanding once
the bend is complete and cured.
** Can be difficult to bend. It requires more leverage to
put the blank into compression

I probably should have tried some "Water Elm", since we still have a lot of that around here, but it never gets much larger than about 10" diameter at the butt before it dies.

Pete Stanaitis
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