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Simple Steam Box Baraboo WI

Attach 2x4 legs to elevate the box above the kettle. One end should be higher to ensure that condensation flows to the drain holes. To accommodate the Lee Valley kettle, I propped one end of the box on a block 9 in. high and the other end on a block 8-1/2 in. high. Then I attached the legs.

The Home Depot
(608)253-5641
136 Commerce Street
Lake Delton, WI
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-9:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

ABC Supply Co.,Inc/Baraboo
608-355-0011
E10620 Hwy 33 Baraboo, WI, 53913
Baraboo, WI
 
Reedsburg - Auth Hometown
(608) 768-0047
55 Viking Drive
Reedsburg, WI
Store Hours
Hometown Dealers
Store Type
Hometown Dealers
Hours
Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:8.5-18
Sun:11-16
Store Features
Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:8.5-18
Sun:11-16

Steffes True Value Hardware
(608) 253-2201
727 Superior St
Wisconsin Dells, WI
 
Portage Lumber Do it Best
(608) 742-7186
1009 E Wisconsin
Portage, WI
 
Farm & Fleet of Baraboo
608-356-7736
1100 South Boulevard Baraboo, WI, 53913
Baraboo, WI
 
West Baraboo
(608) 355-4900
625 State Hwy 136
West Baraboo, WI
Store Hours
Sears Stores
Store Type
Sears Stores
Hours
Mon:9-21
Tue:9-21
Wed:9-21
Thu:9-21
Fri:9-21
Sat:9-21
Sun:10-18
Store Features
Mon:9-21
Tue:9-21
Wed:9-21
Thu:9-21
Fri:9-21
Sat:9-21
Sun:10-18

Martens Reedsburg True Value
(608) 524-8999
100 Viking Dr
Reedsburg, WI
 
Dells Lmbr & Const Inc
(608) 253-1381
931 Michigan Ave
Wisconsin Dells, WI
 
Walsh's Ace Hardware
(608) 745-1410
2727 New Pinery Rd, Across from Walgreen's
Portage, WI
 

Simple Steam Box

Simple Steam Box

Build a Box and Add a Steam Kettle: You're Ready to Bend Wood.

By Seth Keller

Building a steam box for bending wood only requires exterior-grade plywood, waterproof glue and an electric tea kettle. 

I bought my kettle from Lee Valley (see Source, below). It came with an aluminum pipe to direct steam into the box. Any electric kettle with a cylindrical spout for inserting a pipe or attaching a hose will do. Most kettles, such as this one, don’t have a large capacity. You’ll need to refill the kettle three or four times per hour for a box this size.

Tongue and groove joints help seal the box’s sides (photo, below right). Form the tongue by milling  a 3/16-in. deep by 3/8-in. wide rabbet along the box’s sides. Use #8 screws, 1-1/2-in. long, and a waterproof glue, such as Titebond III, to assemble the box.

After the glue sets, drill or cut a hole for the kettle’s pipe. The pipe enters at an angle, so make the hole oblong (photo, below left). Attach guide blocks to help direct the pipe into the hole after you refill the kettle. Drill two 1/4 in. holes at one end of the box to allow condensation to drain. Drill more 1/4-in. holes for dowels to support your bending stock. Drill a tight-fitting hole for a meat thermometer near one door. The thermometer isn’t essential, but it allows you to check the box’s temperature. It should remain above 200 degrees throughout the steaming cycle.     

Attach 2x4 legs to elevate the box above the kettle. One end should be higher to ensure that condensation flows to the drain holes. To accommodate the Lee Valley kettle, I propped one end of the box on a block 9 in. high and the other end on a block 8-1/2 in. high. Then I attached the legs. 

Add two-piece doors to the ends. One piece is a cap; the other is a plug. Steam will cause the plug to swell, so make it 1/8 –in. smaller than the opening.  I used large brass hinges to hang the doors. Add screen door hooks to keep the doors shut as you steam away.

Steam passes from the kettle to the box through a pipe inserted into the kettle’s spout.  The kettle must be refilled now and then during the steaming process; two guide blocks help position the pipe when you re-insert it in the hole.

Constructing the box is very easy. Screwed and glued tongue and groove joints keep the box’s seams tight. Support dowels allow steam to circulate around the wood. A plug on the door helps seal the box’s ends.  

Source 

Lee Valley, (800) 871-8158, www.leevalley.com Kettle and pipe, #05F14.02, $37.50.

This story originally appeared in  American Woodworker July 2007, issue #129.   

Source information may have changed since the original publication date.

July 2007, issue #129

Purchase this back issue.

Click here to read the rest of the article from American Woodworker