In the build up to the manufacturing of our wall storage we had the chance to learn new processes. Steam bending was one of the processes, which is the process of bending wood with the aid of steam. To carry out this, you will need to use green wood and need to create a jig for the wood to make the shape you want. The Jig can be made of waste/ cheap wood such as woodchip, Ply or MDF. After creating the jig it’s time to steam bend. In the need to steam bend one thing you will need is a steam box or something to place wood that would let steam travel through. In our session our lecturer had made a steam box out of recycled metal tube which was long enough to place the wood within and it held the steam in.
In the back around you can see the steam box and the wood that was inside is pulled out after an hour or two. The time in the box would of aloud the wood fibres to absorb the heat which will let them to stretch and bend.
In the fore-ground on the table is the jig made from MDF this is where the wood will be placed around to take the shape.
The wood taken from the steam box is bent around the jig in this photo, it’s hard work and is more than a one man job. But some times this method doesn’t work and as the wood cools down the fibres break and this what has happened to the wood in the bottom image.
To avoid this there’s another way of doing it which is bending the wood using a sheet metal to guide it and support the fibres as it bends.
Here we see the wood being clamped into the metal guide and then bent around the jig. This method is similar to the first but instead it is bent with the guide then clamped down with G clamps for the wood to keep its place on the jig.
This process was very interesting and quite exciting to see the wood bend so easily but even so I don’t think my designs would benefit from steam bending and it takes time to prepare for this process which is not suitable for the week and a half time for the build.