Susquehanna Chapter
Wooden Canoe Heritage Association

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Howard Davis's Steam Box

Steam box.

The steam box is 12" X 10" X 6-1/2' (78"). It is constructed with common pine lumber generally following the steam box shown and described in Stelmok/Thurlow's The Wood & Canvas Canoe. I set the steam box on a couple of saw-horses; the 2 x 6 and blue rag on top of the sprinkling can in this photo is simply a makeshift lid.

Propane burner.

The propane burner is from an oil turkey cooking kit (bought this one at Dick's Sporting Goods). As illustrated in the photo, I used an old galvanized sprinkling can; the hose, which is inserted into a hole in bottom of the steam box, is a short piece of plastic pipe ( automobile heater or radiator hose can be used as well) attached to the sprinkling can with, what else, duct tape.

Propane burner with shield.

After everything is set-up, I place a wind shield around the burner which is a length of wide roof flashing. I place something over the large filling opening of the sprinkling can to serve as a lid to contain the steam.

This is the system I use to steam ribs. When steaming/cooking wood for stems I use a six (6') section of four (4") pipe using the same propane burner. I also steam/cook decks in a small metal barrel. In all cases, the respective wood is soaked for at least three days to up to a week or ten days. There are many excellent methods of steaming out there, but this is the system I use with success. Steaming and bending is discussed in both The Wood & Canvas Canoe, Jerry Stelmok and Roland Thurlow and Jerry Stelmok's Building The Maine Guide Canoe. Roland Thurlow also had video on steaming, Northwoods Canoe Company: Steambending For Woodworkers

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Created on ... February 19, 2010