Bending Wood With Hot Water
Russ Filbeck doesn't use a steambox when bending wood for his ladderback chairs. Instead he uses a copper tray made by noted Shaker box maker John Wilson.
Russ Filbeck doesn’t use a steambox when bending wood for his ladderback chairs. Instead he uses a copper tray made by noted Shaker box maker John Wilson. Russ simply fills the copper tray with water and puts it on a hot plate. Steam and boiling water are both 212° at sea level so it doesn’t matter whether the wood is in boiling water or steam. For larger jobs, where he’s steaming multiple legs at a time, Russ does use an 8-in.-diameter plastic pipe as a steambox.
Another interesting element of Russ’s system is his use of trailer leaf spring U-bolts to help secure his chair legs to the forms. He simply cuts the threads off of one side so the U-bolt can hang in the form, then uses wedges against the U-bolt to hold everything in place. The nice thing about using U-bolts is that he doesn’t have to tie up the rest of his shop clamps holding a leg for 10 days while it dries.
Pretty clever Russ!
DECEMBER 5, 2019