Quest for a unique cribbage board #2: Making a steam box

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Heyz posted 10-23-2008 08:12 AM 4600 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design and construction technique - Advice? Part 2 of Quest for a unique cribbage board series Part 3: Design almost done »

As a recap in case you haven’t read the first post, I’m trying to build a unique cribbage board while keeping with the traditional layout. My idea, have an inlay for the track. Difficult & challenging? Probably. Fun and exciting? Definitely!

I think I read everything on the internet about steam boxes before I did this, and I still didn’t learn it all. I figured bending will be the most difficult thing about this, so better get started on it early. I still haven’t finalized the design, but I’m going to start playing with bending wood.

I had a rough idea of what I wanted in my mind (A good steam box for $0). Almost, but not quite. I tried real hard looking around at scraps of things but just couldn’t get what I wanted. So I made a trip to Totem and picked up some 4” PVC (I wanted it big enough for whatever project I worked on) and a few other doo-dads. Here they are in all their glory.


The first challenge which I knew was coming, was how to get my fitting for the small hose in the hole I drilled in the Pipe, but from the INSIDE. Here you can see it, now how to get it out?


I got it lined up just right using gravity, and then an “L” shaped hook off my pegboard style toolwall did the trick to get it through.


After that, I cut a hole in the $20 kettle from Zellers (like Walmart) and put the same fitting in. All I had to do now was connect my hose with a couple of hose clamps, and this thing was never coming apart. Add to that a little silicone around the kettle hole and I thought I’d get lots of steam up into my chamber.


Well, let’s just say more steam was coming out of the power-cord opening than there was going up my spout. I think the 3/4” hose was a bit too tiny. I also would have had better success with a higher quality kettle. This thing leaks steam like you wouldn’t believe. It comes out of the power switch, by the power-cord, absolutely everywhere! So after a good 20 minutes, my temperature wasn’t going past 160F. Perfect for nice side of ham, but not so good for a long piece of oak.


Back to Totem! This time to buy a much larger connecting pipe. And I did. I bought a 2” pipe to go from the kettle to the steam box, and a proper 4” to 2” adapter. I didn’t want to have to try and connect the two pipes myself. At this point my steam box is no longer cheap:

Materials Round 1: ~$20
Kettle: $20
new pipe and fitting $20.
That’s $60 for a bunch of plastic and wires….

So I put it all together, and cut a new hole in my kettle. The plastic is really brittle and difficult to cut without the right tools, so I used side cutters and a tile chipper. Next time I’ll heat a knife and cut it. Here it is in all it’s glory!


This time it cracked the 160F mark and went beyond. Too bad my temperature gauge is so horrible. I keep having to tap it to get it to move. But it looks like all will be well. Next up, some bending!


-- Heyz, in the cold winterland of Canada

4 comments so far

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4297 days

#1 posted 10-23-2008 09:29 AM

This is fun! Thanks for posting.

-- Eric at

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


528 posts in 4111 days

#2 posted 10-23-2008 02:11 PM

And if the bending thing doesn’t work out you could cook ribs in it…

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4813 days

#3 posted 10-23-2008 02:52 PM

Very interesting, good luck with your bending.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4760 days

#4 posted 10-24-2008 03:17 PM

You could always brew some beer heh? Better yet some tater whiskey. That is if the Oak thing don’t work out. Good luck anyway. Don’t stand too close.,

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics