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Simple Steam Box Evansville IN

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.

Woodcraft - Evansville, IN
(812) 479-9663
Eastland Place Shopping Center
Evansville, IN

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The Home Depot
(812)471-1132
333 N Burkhardt Rd
Evansville, IN
Hours
Mon-Thur: 6:00am-9:00pm
Fri-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-7:00pm

Ryan's Ace Hdw & Rental
(812) 402-1223
4530 N 1st Ave
Evansville, IN
 
LOWE'S OF W. EVANSVILLE, IND.
812 424-7605
103 SOUTH RED BANK ROAD EVANSVILLE, IN, 47712
Evansville, IN
 
Washington Sq
(812) 473-8200
1100 S Green River Rd
Evansville, IN
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Sears Stores
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Sears Stores
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Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
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Sun:12-18
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Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:10-21
Sun:12-18

The Home Depot
(812)423-6710
5230 Pearl Drive
Evansville, IN
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Mon-Thur: 6:00am-9:00pm
Fri-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-7:00pm

Fastenal- Evansville
812-867-5369
8501 Baumgart Rd Evansville, IN, 47725
Evansville, IN
 
Fastenal- Evansville
812-464-5493
1401 Virginia Ave Evansville, IN, 47711
Evansville, IN
 
Lowe's
(812) 424-7605
103 South Red Bank Road
Evansville, IN
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 7 pm

Lowe's
(812) 475-9655
6716 Oak Grove Road
Evansville, IN
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M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
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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