If you have ever marveled at the complex wooden curves used by shipbuilders or some furniture makers, then you have probably at some point hankered after a steam box. This is as its name suggests, a chamber in which a piece of wood is steamed until it becomes flexible, at which point it can be pressed into a new shape that it will retain once cooled. The ever-resourceful [Xyla Foxlin] shows us how to make a steam box using easy-to-find parts, as can be seen in the video below the break.
The steam supply comes from a commercial steam boiler of the type used by decorators for wallpaper stripping, and the steam box itself is made from a length of PVC pipe. Inside the pipe are a series of aluminium dowels that form a rack upon which the wood sits away from any condensation, and the whole things sits at a slant with the steam inlet and a condensation drain at the bottom end.
In use, a piece of wood is loaded into the tube and steamed, before being bent using a set of forms in a vice. The process looks straightforward enough that even we could give it a go, so we’re sure Hackaday readers will find it interesting.
We think this may be the first steam box we’ve brought you, but it’s not the first time we’ve discussed bending wood.