I read an article in Fine Woodworking a while back about making oval boxes Shaker style. The boxes seem like they would be great gifts for family and friends so I planned to make a few this year. Well, November is already here and I haven’t made a single box yet. Since I have never made the boxes before I’m guessing that there isn’t going to be much gift giving this year.
But I did manage to make a steam tube this weekend which will allow me to bend the wood to make the boxes—when I get around to it.
The tube is simple 6” diameter schedule 40 PVC with an endcap attached at one end and a clean-out attached to the other. I drilled a series of ¼” holes down the side and inserted stainless steel all-thread through the holes. When inserting the all-thread I covered them with a piece of Pex. I’ve heard of metal supports heating up and burning wood but I wanted the support of metal. I don’t know if covering them will help or not but we shall see. I used ¼-20 nuts on the outsides.
To finish up I drilled a couple of ½” holes on the bottom to allow water and air to escape and attached the brass fitting that came with the Earlex steamer that will supply the steam. I also drilled a hole in the top to stick in a cooking thermometer. I’ve heard that schedule 40 pipe gets pliable at 212° so I may have to add a few wooden supports.
I’ve never steam bent anything before so I a anticipating a learning curve. As long as the tube doesn’t explode I think I will be okay.
Now on to making the forms for the Shaker boxes!