DIY Steam Forming for Wood

Schutte’s Mill Services includes Heat Forming to create beautiful arches, ellipses and circles out of a single piece of wood. These are great for entry ways and exterior detailing.

DIY enthusiasts can also try these steam wood bending techniques at home.

Steam Bending is a tried and true technique that has been used for ages. To begin, you will need to construct your steam box:

  • Heat source, such as a hot plate
  • Water container, often a tea kettle
  • Hose long enough to connect your water container to the steam box. Hose should be heat resistant.
  • Steam box, large enough to hold the wood you want to mold. Use a wooden box or PVC pipe. The important thing is to make sure that there are small holes to release pressure and excess water after the steam begins to build. If you’re using a wooden box for example, drill a moderate sized hole in one end of the box and stuff a rag inside. The rag and hole will help to absorb water and alleviate internal pressure.

Once your steam box system is assembled and tested, insert with wood along with the forms and molds for shaping. Fill your water container and begin the heating process. The wood should begin to take form in about an hour. Allot 1 hour for every inch of thickness (e.g. 2 hours for wood that is 2 inches thick).

If you don’t have the space or the time to form your own wood, call the experts at the Schutte Lumber Mill, 888.470.4181.


Image Source: South Shore

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