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Ben Lippen

Steam Punk , Hey JimW

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I have a new bent wood project.

Homeowner has a custom built staircase with a bottom tread that extends 6" past the rail stringer and then rounds back in a radius./ Made with veneer flexi-plywood back in the early 80's. Since it started out as a salt box built in the 30's the floor frame has moved a bit and exposed the bottom of that custom turned kick plate plywood veneer.. 

Leash got slid underneath it as the dog went running, and snapped a 1" high x 2"long piece of the veneer off right at the apex of the radius. 

 

No chance at a repair that would qualify.

 

So, I have some nice 5/4 x 3" Sapele  that is long enough to make some rips for steaming.

 

 

Edited by Ben Lippen

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Anyway, since I no longer have a glass cook top nor even that old kettle, I bought a steam generator and hose from Rockler (it was on sale too ;) ).

Gotta build a box for it. The free steam box "plans" that come with it aren't much to work with. I'm figuring a half sheet of 3/4" CDX will be plenty to make the box as well as the form I'll need. 

But, should I insulate the box? I've heard of it being done, but I'm not quite sure. Hard foam on the outside? Or inside?

Anyone have any experience?

 

Edited by Ben Lippen
correct plywood size

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You must do jobs nobody else will touch.  Not sure what you want to do John.   If I see this correctly the radius is half the width of a tread leaving half a circle outside the stringer?  Go over the kick plate with veneer strips?  Replace the kick plate to cover gap?

Just to consider but have you ever kerfed veneer plywood for bends?   

Does sapele take well to steam bends?   I mostly used air dried ash because it’s so easy and some oak which worked but grain wanted to break out a bit on some.  

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5 hours ago, JimW said:

You must do jobs nobody else will touch.  Not sure what you want to do John.   If I see this correctly the radius is half the width of a tread leaving half a circle outside the stringer?  Go over the kick plate with veneer strips?  Replace the kick plate to cover gap?

Just to consider but have you ever kerfed veneer plywood for bends?   

Does sapele take well to steam bends?   I mostly used air dried ash because it’s so easy and some oak which worked but grain wanted to break out a bit on some.  

That's kinda how i made my reputation. Plus being a hard-ass. 

 

Here's ya a couple sketches... Not to scale. I wont be back there for a week so a picture will have to wait til then.

The first is looking down at the treads. Ya can see the newel post...

 

The second is ground view. Looking at the end of the radius and the gap from the floor and such.

 

 

 

 

steam bend.jpg

steam.jpg

 

Also, the numbers are mostly guesses. 

Edited by Ben Lippen

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There's a carpet runner on the treads, so I only actually have to  go back as far as that in front.  (Adding more on that flat front is easy though).

That amount, plus the radius, and the return to the wall/stringer should be no more than 36" .

So I'll make my box 48", and 2" solid insulation to "plug" off what I dont need to steam ?

 

 

 

Edited by Ben Lippen

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So make a shoe to cover damage and scribe to fill the gap?   Sapele doesn’t seem to be what you want for this steaming but you might be able to laminate it.   Thin

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1 hour ago, JimW said:

So make a shoe to cover damage and scribe to fill the gap?   Sapele doesn’t seem to be what you want for this steaming but you might be able to laminate it.   Thin

Yeah, kinda ben my plan all along to make a laminated piece that I can maybe edge after it''s formed and such. Like I did the hoops of them lobster pots. 

Then,  I used four , 3/32"  thick x 3/4' wide strips for each hoops. Bundled with blue tape and steamed together. Glued up hot and bent, once sanded they were pretty much 1/2" thick.

 

I was thinking of slicing the sapele I have at maybe 1 1/2" x  3/32" thick .

I did all of those pots with mahogahy and oak strips, so I am ready to try it.

 

 

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I don’t know sapele but from what I read it doesn’t take to steaming well.  Pores too fine and tight.   Give it plenty of time and hopefully the magic happens.  Maybe put some ash or oak strips outside to help it decide  

Edited by JimW

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20 hours ago, JimW said:

You must do jobs nobody else will touch.  Not sure what you want to do John.   If I see this correctly the radius is half the width of a tread leaving half a circle outside the stringer?  Go over the kick plate with veneer strips?  Replace the kick plate to cover gap?

Just to consider but have you ever kerfed veneer plywood for bends?   

Does sapele take well to steam bends?   I mostly used air dried ash because it’s so easy and some oak which worked but grain wanted to break out a bit on some.  

x2 I think kerf is the way ti go. 

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Kerf will never fly. Has to be finished edge. 

 

If I had a piece of 5/4 oak I would use it. But I have the Sapele , and confidence in bending mahogany, so that's what I'm going with. Plus it blends closer to the custom stain color of the exst. things, so I dont hafta worry about that part. 

What I plan on making is a real tall shoe moulding. 1/2" thick x 1 1/2" tall. Laminating 4 or 5,  1 1/2 wide x 3/32" x 3' strips. 

I dont have a thumbnail router bit that can do the profile, so I will hafta do that by hand. But no worries there either. 

 

Mostly I have questions about building the box.

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Kerf idea was if you were going to replace or cover the riser.  Edge would have tucked under the tread, thought likely how it was made originally. 

Presume plans for the box are Rockler?  I would still probably use a piece of pvc.  

I would insulate on outside if you do.  Just in case it absorbs any moisture.  Don’t make the box bigger than you need.  

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6 hours ago, JimW said:

Kerf idea was if you were going to replace or cover the riser.  Edge would have tucked under the tread, thought likely how it was made originally. 

Presume plans for the box are Rockler?  I would still probably use a piece of pvc.  

I would insulate on outside if you do.  Just in case it absorbs any moisture.  Don’t make the box bigger than you need.  

Yeah, I kinda figured ya meant replace the riser. But removing the rail, newel, and tread and making a new 4' long J shaped riser custom stained is not happening. Even if it was made to disassemble, :laugh::laugh: 

 

Yeah, the Rockler kit was on sale.

 

I'm leery of using pvc for a bunch of reasons. And I need to buy a piece of 3/4 plywood for the form anyway. The "plans" are more of a guideline as no sizes or materials are discussed other than using exterior grade plywood if going that route. 

 

I dont think I will insulate the box for starters. Maybe down the road if I feel it's needed I can easily wrap it in something. 

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The steam generator showed up yesterday. Simple kit and basic instructions. Hardware too, for the box. 

 

I have  enough 1/2" cdx cut-offs leftover from recent jobs to make the box and form. Glue and screw three 2' x 2'  pieces together will be thick enough for the form, the rest will be just two layers thick, glued and screwed, for the box. But a piece of 3/4" pine for the door. 

 

The box is likely to be a one off, to be replaced by a solid wood version next time. 

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