Bending Wood [or Off Lable Use of the Wagner Wall Paper Steamer]

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Review by Kelly posted 02-09-2016 06:50 PM 2235 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bending Wood [or Off Lable Use of the Wagner Wall Paper Steamer] No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Though sold as a wall paper steamer, I bought this to bend wood, as a cheaper alternative to the ones sold by Rocker for bending wood, but which cost twice as much.

First off, I was not, in any way, disappointed with my small investment.

I built a plywood box about five feet long and four equal sides about ten inches square. On a whim, and before assembling the sides, I covered the interior sides with tin foil.

Once the tube was assembled, I added a permanent back. The front cover is hinged, merely rests on the box and relies on a gravity seal, so it’s easy to open or close and pressure cannot build up in the box.

I drilled a hole, about six inches back from the permanently sealed end, just large enough to press fit the steamer hose into it.

One tripod leg on the front and one on the back hold the unit at a comfortable working height. The back one holds the box about an inch lower than the loading end, for moisture drainage. A quarter inch hole at the low spot, allows moisture to drain

A simple rack, on which the wood being steamed rests, allows steam to circulate around it.

A small hole, near the front, just big enough to press a probe type cooking thermometer in allows me to monitor temperature in the box (the hole is situated so the probe will not hit wood being steamed).

With everything up and running, the steamer does a great job of steaming wood. The thermometer indicates the steamer holds the box at about two hundred twenty degrees. Too, I have no problem getting an hour of run time per fill.

To summarize, if you’re looking for a steam source for small wood bending projects, this unit will meet your needs.


1) The steamer worked so well for wood bending, I plan on giving the original box to a friend and building a new on using metal flashing for the interior, rather than the more fragile foil. Alternatively, a box could be built big enough to hold a six or eight inch stove pipe.

Using flashing limits how much steam hits the wood of the box. Of course, the wood box insulates the flashing, helping reduce how quickly the steam cools.

2) One fellow purchased a roll of cooking bag material and cut them long enough to hold boards he was installing on a boat he was building. He applied steam to these to bend boards in place on the boat.

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#1 posted 04-15-2016 01:53 PM

Kelly, how long did it take before the Wagner started generating steam? Did you initially fill with hot water?

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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3049 posts in 3745 days

#2 posted 04-15-2016 04:03 PM

I haven’t ran it for months. When I do, it’s with cold water and it only takes about twenty minutes to “come up to steam.” Then it runs an hour with no problem.

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