Steam Bending Equipment / Best Steamer?

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Forum topic by rustynails posted 09-01-2015 11:46 PM 1197 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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925 posts in 3494 days

09-01-2015 11:46 PM

I have a project coming up that I need to build a steam box. What are you folks using as far as materials for the box and what unit or kind are you using to great the steam? I don’t need a large box something to bend wood about 4’’to 6’’ wide by about 4 ft long. As far as height I am thinking something about 6’’ to 8’’ high so that I can place a few planks at a time in the box. I am making a small dory boat coffee table. It will be built in the traditional lapstake planking method built on a bent frame with copper rivets to hold it together.


6 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile


8231 posts in 3231 days

#1 posted 09-02-2015 12:05 AM

I’ve been kicking a similar idea around for some time. My idea was to use plastic pipe. You can buy it in all sorts of dimensions and fittings. When I finally do get time for those projects, I’m going to be looking for a 12” piece of pipe.

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2733 days

#2 posted 09-02-2015 12:49 AM

I use wood stove pipe. You can put it directly inside a small pot with a elbow and attach as many 3’ sections to it as you need. Cap it with a rag (not too tight).


View JAAune's profile


1911 posts in 3282 days

#3 posted 09-02-2015 12:59 AM

Mine are just a pair of 6”x6”x36” boxes made from exterior grade plywood fastened by pocket screws. They can be butted end-to-end if necessary. If they fall apart after 15 years I’ll just rebuild them.

Don’t use PVC as it will probably flex under heat. Black ABS pipe will resist the heat better.

Steam comes from wall-paper steamers – one for each box. Apparently some don’t create enough steam for this purpose but the ones I use do. The hose just needed to be cut short.

-- See my work at

View shipwright's profile


8636 posts in 3763 days

#4 posted 09-02-2015 01:11 AM

Hi Richard, This may be a little bigger scale than you need but it’s a lot smaller than what I used to use. It is a great portable unit and will produce lots of good bending steam. I used it to build a lapstrake dinghy a few years ago and it steamed the planks in a few minutes.
The box can be anything that will enclose the steam, best if it leaks a little to let water out and I like a hinged door on the front end of the box. If you make the bottom of the box longer than the top (cut at an angle), gravity will keep the door closed.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View rustynails's profile


925 posts in 3494 days

#5 posted 09-02-2015 10:41 PM

Thanks for all the info.

Paul I think you are right as being a little bigger scale than what I need.

I think a wall-paper steamer may be the way to go for this small project. I posted on another forum and I had someone give me this link for plans to build a box as well.

Thanks Richard

View steve104c's profile


52 posts in 2204 days

#6 posted 09-06-2015 04:52 PM

Rusty, I use a wallpaper steamer and a large dia. piece of schedule 80 pvc pipe. Works well. Be sure to put a drain hole at the back,bottom and angle the pipe slightly. I got my pipe at a construction site where they had a scrap piece that they were throwing away. The large dia. pipes are very expensive and are not sold at the large home improvement stores…...Steve.

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