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Steam Box's

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by slk, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. slk

    slk Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I had built a new steam box , and have used it twice and it is so warped up now. I need to design a new one but would like your ideas on what has worked for you guys. I want to be able to put at least 1/2 of the ribs for a canoe in it at one time. I have built 2 boxes out of wood, but they do seam to warp up pretty good. Was wondering what else might be a good idea. I have loads of wood here to build them out of but would like a good design that will last.

    Oh I will add that I used a air nailer on the last one instead of screws, and that may have been my biggest problem

  2. OP

    slk Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Surely some one has some good ideas. I was also wondering if it matters at all where the steam enters the box or chamber. Does it do better from the bottom, sides, or through one end. Or does it matter at all. I have been thinking that spiral duct might be a good choice, and insert a wooden divider rack for the ribs, that could slid out. Shoot me some good ideas guys....

  3. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    If I steam one thing, I use 8” heating duct wrapped with an old mattress pad for insulation.
    If I steam several ribs, I use a box made out of OSB. It’s stable. I have old aluminum hunting arrows that go across it to make a layer of racks for several ribs.
  4. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    I only steam about 5 or 6 ribs at a time... I can't imagine trying to deal with too many more than that at one time but I work by myself. I suppose an extra set of hands might get me interested in doing more at once. But, being a bit of a pessimist, I would expect to run into some problem or another that would result in a bunch of ribs sitting in the steamer for far too long....
    I have two steam boxes, one made from pine boards, nailed and's an (I believe) to the 20's....I picked it up with a plug at an auction.
    The one I use most of the time is just PVC pipe with PVC plugs and fittings.
    I put the steam in from the middle on the bottom... it's super portable so I can actually hang it over a gunwale on the boat if I want to.
    I use the fiberglass driveway markers/snow stakes that Lowes sells for racks.
    I got $70 dollars per box on Ebay for my old Easton Gamegetters! That paid for a dozen new Piledrivers cut and fletched!:D
  5. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    I built one with some spare cedar ship lap siding, spax screws and 1x3s. I built the box out of the siding and girdled the middle and ends with the 1x3s. I would probably do another set of girdles at the 1/4s. I do get a little pooching at that point. Nothing to really worry about. I think the key things are using screws lots of screws and the 1x3s. Locating it at the end seem to be the most stable place to locate it. At some point I'll move the location of the steam inlet. when I do I'll need to frame out the inlet to prevent warping around it.

  6. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Not as cool as most. Made this cheaply around 1999 with intentions to make something better.
    Well, still using

    Attached Files:

  7. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I made one out of scrap white cedar, a bit smaller than the one shown above.
    As I only restore, the most ribs I would do at time is 6-8, I used 1/4 dowels to hold/support the ribs.
    The steam goes in the bottom middle and out each end. I added 4 "legs" so it stands at the correct height to accept a 4" tube/connector.
    I use a lp "turkey" burner with a 5 gal container on it, 4" outlet straight up about 8" into the box. The box just sets on/over the outlet of the container.

    Sorry, no pics.

  8. Paul Scheuer

    Paul Scheuer LOVES Wooden Canoes

    It's been a while since I used it, but steam "box" was a section of double wall flue pipe. The thought was that if I ever needed a longer chamber I could add another section. At the time I had access to dishwasher heating elements. Two of those operated at 1600 watts operated in a five gallon bucket. Plenty of steam.
  9. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    Made mine out of light weight foam foil coated isulboard. The wooden frame is made from firing strips and the insulboard glued to it with construction adhesive. Makes for a light weight unit that is well insulated. It has survived many years use. The seams were all sealed with furnace tape.
    Rob Stevens likes this.
  10. Bill Lovejoy

    Bill Lovejoy Curious about Wooden Canoes

    After having two fall apart/rot away I decided to make one a little more durable. Capable of lifting hooks to store, rather than sitting outside. Also decided to do away with all the half-baked steam sources which seemed to take the better part of a day to set up. Bought a couple of Earlex steam generators at ~ $75 each, although only 1 is required for most jobs. Insulated it, more because I was worried about the the steam generator capability than economy. Now it takes maybe an hour to setup, from getting the box out to making steam. For pieces longer than 5 feet I use a piece of heavy felt (left over from my paper mill days) as a seal, canvas would work almost as well. Drawings are attached as PDF. Available in Visio if anyone is so inclined. Being an engineer I could help but use the infrared camera. Also note a pigtail on the drain to conserve steam

    Link to steam generator, widely available. If using two make sure they are on separate breakers.

    Steam Box 1.jpg Steam Box 2.jpg Steam Box 3.jpg Steam Box 4.jpg Steam Box 5.jpg

    Attached Files:

  11. OP

    slk Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Well we did get the rest of the ribs bent yesterday with no failures. My nice new steam box built prior to ribbing will be history . It is so warped up, and almost unusable. I will take some of these great ideas you guys have and build another one.

    Bill does that insulation soak up any water? Your drawings are great..


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