yellow cedar


canoe builder
I have a chap restoring an old town in my shop.He brought his own yellow cedar to do ribs & planking with.I have never worked with yellow cedar & am having a hard time getting rib stock soft enough to bend.How long should it soak?how long should it be in the steam box?We have managed to bend a couple of ribs,but they are not very supple when we did it
Thanks in advance for any advice & direction
Usually donot have too much trouble with yellow cedar.8 to twelve minutes is all you need for steaming.I usually soak them but have seen a certain builder on the West Coast put the ribstock in the steam box dry and never a problem with that bending either
I use yellow cedar by preference for rib and planking stock. I get the best bending results by soaking the rib stock (3/8 x 3 in. for example) for 2 days then steaming for about 40 minutes. Thinner stock will bend well with shorter times. I have tried varying additives to the soaking solution without much in the way of convincing differences.
Hi Bill,
I can tell you what works for me, I have had very little trouble bending yellow over the years, it is the only material I have built canoes out of. Soaking or not soaking the wood is a personal thing i guess, I dont soak the rib stock before steaming.

What I find makes the biggest difference is the temperature of your steamer and the size of it. If you are only doing a few ribs or are worried about them bending, build a small steamer that will hold one or two ribs at a time and is just a little longer than the rib itself. This smaller size steamer ensures that you have lots of steam and a very high temp as well.

If you soak your ribs and use the smaller steamer with lots of steam and good heat, it will bend. I hope this helps.