How to bend wood to your will
Use steam to create strong, curved parts with continuous grain.
Synopsis: Brian Boggs has been steam-bending wood for almost 40 years, and he knows that the process, although mysterious and fascinating, can be much more predictable if you follow some guidelines. Here he maps out what you need to know about wood selection and preparation, whether to choose kiln-dried or air-dried wood, how to make a steambox, how to use bending forms and drying racks, and the different types of forms you can use. When it comes to steaming and drying the workpieces, there are rules you can follow there as well.
I’ve been steam-bending wood for nearly 40 years and still I don’t know of any process in our shop that is more mysterious or more fascinating. Or more powerful—with steam you can create curved parts with perfectly continuous grain that couldn’t be improved on for strength, resilience, or appearance.