Bending the wood planks

Many people have asked Big Boat Man how he was able to shape the planks both around the boat, and up along the upward shape of the bow and down toward the back (can’t remember the proper term for the back).

Well, this was another Kindle midnight search over several nights, and reading how others were able to achieve bending sizable planks of wood.  In the end, steaming was the answer.  But how to steam large planks, and for how long should they be steamed?

BBM reduced all the information down to the basics of what was required.  Something to create the steam in a controllable manner.  Something long enough for the planks.  Something to gauge what was happening inside.  A way of making sure the condensation did not sit on the planks and make them wet as opposed to warm and bendy.

Fortunately, a neighbour is in the recycling business.  He collects other people’s junk and things they don’t want to pay to take to the tip.  He had a steel wash tub out of an old clothes washer.

BBM used this tub as a cook pot for generating the steam.  Then he attached a gauge and used a gas hotplate to heat the water.  He found a diagram for a steam box which showed how the box needed to be on a slight angle to allow the condensation to drip out the end. The only problem left to solve was a way to keep the heat in.  Water heater insulation took care of the cook pot underneath, while a Styrofoam sheath kept the heat in the long box.

We had a young man visiting from a local high school who helped keep the steam flowing one day.  He was also around on other days to help with the mast, and tarring the bottom of the boat.

Being a teenager, he wasn’t too concerned about his clothes.  I kept insisting that he change into older clothes, or into some of BBM’s clothes.  When he was painting BBM insisted on his wearing overalls. He was a bit bemused by our concern but we felt beholden as parents to protect the clothes his parents had bought for him.

BBM went through a stage of trying to only use a couple of changes of work clothes, but in the end all his work clothes now have red lead paint, white or green finish paint, or holes.

I say never mind – when the boat is finished we’ll go on a shopping trip and replace them. (Smiley face here!)



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