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Steam chamber for bending wood

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Anonymous

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Hi, I'm new to this forum although I have been lurking for a little while.

Could anyone advise on how to build a steam chamber to bend oak?
I am looking to bend 40x20mm into a gothic shape arch to support climbing plants across a garden path.
From the book "The Complete Illustrated Guide to Shaping Wood" I gather that a PVC pipe will do as the chamber itself but how do you make a decent connection between a kettle on a camping stove (I suppose the easiest source) and the PVC pipe?
The book mentiones a radiator hose but I'm not quite sure what that is and also I am not sure how to make the connections.
Any advice from experienced steam benders?

Maarten
 

DaveL

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Hi Maarten,

I have never done any steam bending, but I do have a steam wall paper stripper which I think could be used the steam source. :D They are between £25 and £40 new but I would think you might get one in the local paper for less.
 

gidon

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Never done this myself either, but I saw a recent article where the author used a wall paper stripper as Dave mentions - together with a plastic dustbin. I've been wanting to try it ever since but never got around to it.
Cheers
Gidon
 
A

Anonymous

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A wall paper stripper is a neat idea, it gives me the source and the connection to the chamber which I could dril to the right size into the PVC. Nice one.

Maarten
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Maarten,

just done some bending recently, and here are a few tips I picked up along the way.

Try and buy 6mm walled pipe... it will still go floppy so...
make sure it is well supported along the whole length.
glue end-tops at both ends with screw on caps
Try to keep the pipe only a little longer than the wood you are bending.
drill a small hole to allow condensate to escape 1-2mm and tilt the pipe in this direction.
Dont bother with the camping stove, they don't generate enough heat.
last of all, get yourself some thick rubber gloves and some tongs!

Length of time is variable - some pieces I done took 20 mins, but others of the same thickness took a couple of hours.

hope that helps


Joe
 
A

Anonymous

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Thanks for the good advice, much appreciated!
As far as the length of pipe is concerned, I had intended to only stick the end bit I want to bend into it as most of it can stay straight. If the whole length has to go into it I will need a pipe of approx 250cm instead of a less than a third of that.

Maarten
 

frank

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joe i see you drill a small hole in the pipe now :D saves one from hiding behind a brick wall :?


marten the brown soil pipes from b/q will do the job so i've been told


frank
 
A

Anonymous

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Yes Frank, a small hole in the pipe does save your blushes :oops:

But seriously, unless you do what I did, using proper steam graded fittings, most connectors would give up before any real pressure was obtained.

Note to self - you CAN over engineer things!

Joe
 
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