Making a Steambox
This steambox is made with a liquid propane gas cooker, a common 5-gal. metal paint can (scrubbed clean), a closet flange (the plumbing fixture for mounting a toilet onto the floor) and a length of 4-in. PVC pipe. Bolt the metal closet flange to the lid of the can, and drill numerous holes through the lid within the circumference of the collar. Set the PVC pipe on the collar to make a chamber for the wood being steamed. Because I steam mostly chair posts and strips for Shaker boxes, I cut the PVC pipe 48 in. long. But you can vary the length of the tube to suit the workpiece. While the steambox is working, I set a PVC end cap loosely over the tube.
The vertical configuration is quite efficient because it allows the condensed steam to return to the boiler. Chair posts are steamed and ready to bend in about two hours.
Thomas A. Heffernan, Shaker Heights, Ohio
Fine Woodworking Magazine, August 1997 No. 125