here's a trick.

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
I just discovered that my sewer hose from my camper makes a perfect steam "box".
I fasten the unbent outwhales amidships.
I extend the sewer hose over the outwhale from the end.
Hook up the steam.
Stuff a rag in the open end.
fire it up.
When steam starts coming out the far end check the time.
As it gets ready I start installing screws working toward the end.
The hose is slid back accordian-like as I go.
The outwhales took the bend just fine.
:D What a unique idea!.......... Next time I see a piece of that material available I will have to consider trying this technique...I can see the way you did it and it is soo practical as the wood will stay flexible!.
Have a question Dave!..............I am going to be making and installing mahogany outwales on a persoanl restoration....Any suggestion as to the steaming time?...........Its that wood they use in 5/4 decking......was given a 22' length and am going to tryit as outwales
Great idea

Here's another way. Make a T by using scraps of plastic pipe.


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Steam bending is often a trial and error to me. Mostly error. I have not yet purchased the book on on steambending but intend to soon.
rule of thumb- one hour per inch.
I soak ribs overnight. I soak stems and 'whales a week in my pond. I want to try the kerosene idea but not sure how to soak. Immerse or sprinkle?

I like the T fitting idea. My source of steam is a five gallon gas can with metal flex pipe on the cap opening and then to radiator hose and then into the steam box (sewer hose). the thing with the sewer hose is that it is retractable like an accordian and it hasn't collpsed like the pvc is wont to do because of the wire. so i can keep the steam to it as I work toward the ends. Maybe I'll take a photo tonight.

And did i mention you can stain AND steam at the same time?
Another idea- While working at my daughters house removing wallpaper I had the occasion to purchase a steamer to aid in the removal. Afterward my daughter said for me to keep it. When I returned home I found another at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for $10. They have their own hoses and water container with heating element. Both are made by Wagner. I think that the container holds about 1 gallon of water. If one uses schedule 80 PVC pipe with a cap on either end it should be a nice little set up. If you desire a rack the pipe can be drilled and dowels siliconed in.
Got a photo.

here's a photo of my steam machinery. the flex pipe is a snug fit to the can and to the radiator hose. Plastic and cord make the connection to the sewer hose.


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I love this RV hose method, and I plan to us it for the outwales on my Morris this weekend. A question for you (or anybody else who uses the fasten-as-you-steam method): Do you finish the insides of your gunwales before steaming/fastening them? I really like the idea of fastening them directly on the boat as I steam them (I don't have a lot of clamps), but I also like the idea of putting a coat of varnish on the inside for protection. Do you bother with this? (In case it wasn't obvious, this is my first canoe project...)
Either way, I suppose. But I use steel screws, phillips head to fasten, and then after a few days or week, I remove them sand and varnish as desired. This was taught to me by canoe builder and who I consider mentor, Brian Baker. he is long time member and not on the computer/internet. He and his dad made canoes in mid Mich for many years. I also used bees wax on the screws. Be careful you don't drive them too deep and cause damage when you remove them. Be careful with your pre-drill and conter sink for best results.
I would think putting any kind of finish on the wood prior to steaming would inhibit the steam from penetrating into the wood? I'll suggest leaving the wood bare for the steaming/installation process, getting tehm installed, letting them dry out well, then remove & put the finish on.

Disclaimer: I'm not a canoe restoration expert, but have experience in cabint making/fine furnishings experience, including steam bent parts. Your mileage may vary.
Great Success

So I tried Dave's RV sewer hose method on my gunwales, and it worked flawlessly. The canoe is a Morris replica with a lot of sheer at the ends. The outwales are air dried ash, 1 1/4" x 1 1/8". I tapered them and rabbeted the backs before bending. Steam source was a wallpaper steamer rented from Home Depot, which provided plenty of steam. Each gunwale was steamed for about an hour, then fastened directly to the boat with temporary screws, retracting the collapsible hose as each screw was driven. No soaking involved, and doesn't seem to have made any difference. I removed the gunwales from the boat after a few days, and there was some spring-back. I may have to wrestle a bit to get them back in place, especially since I had to cut off the extra-long ends so they wouldn't bump into each other.

1.) Sewer hose with steamer hose inserted. I wrapped an old towel around it to hold it in place and seal the steam in. It didn't really seal it very well, but it still worked just fine.
2.) One gunwale on, the second one heating up in the tube on top of the saw horses.
3.) Two gunwales on. Bow and stern ends were done separately, on different days. I will scarf them together, then varnish the backs and reinstall.
4.) Bent gunwale off the boat, after sitting for several days. It straightened out quite a bit after removal from the boat.

All in all, this is a great method, especially if you don't have a lot clamps. It allows you to work really slowly, because the wood continues to steam as you fasten it to the boat. Thanks Dave!


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