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    Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
    by Westquay πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ ( Commander)
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    20 Posts 19 Replies 11 Photos 51 Likes
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    Newby7
    Midshipman
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    Country: πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada
    Online: 7 hours ago
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    I use water for soaking my wood pieces and then I use a curling iron to bend the wood to the curve I need it needs to be done slowly as you can snap the piece before you get the curve you want.
    Rick
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    Ron
    Lieutenant Commander
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    I also use basswood, mahogany, birch, walnut, quarter sawn white oak, though these woods are not what is general in my planking. The keel on several are the oak, bulkheads 1/8”-3/16” ply cut with the scrollsaw.

    I generally do not steam, but do thin layers glued up as I learned when building rubber powered airplanes. Guess that is where the use of balsa comes in as it is most readily available in my workshop.
    3
    RHBaker
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    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    Have recently had some success by soaking the wood in water overnight (usually 1/4" sq basswood) and then working it into a jig or frame using a heat gun.
    Guess as the gun evaporates the water into steam and accomplishes much the same.
    Quite surprising how, once the wood gets hot, how easily it bends.
    3
    stevedownunder
    Petty Officer 1st Class
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    Country: πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί Australia
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    Thanks Martin555,
    Steaming is so easy once you start doing it, it is not the black art some people seem to think it is.
    Cheers,
    Stephen.
    3
    Martin555
    Admiral
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    Country: πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ United Kingdom
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    Hi Stephen,
    I like your steamer, simple but effective.

    Martin555.
    1
    If it looks right it probably is.
    stevedownunder
    Petty Officer 1st Class
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    Hi Martin,
    I am probably a bit late in my reply and a lot of information has already been put forward but here is my two bob's worth.
    An article I read a few years ago said that chemical softening of wood weakens the wood because of what it does to the structure of the wood.
    I have done some steaming, first using just a kettle and dipping the plank into the boiling water for a few minutes , then moving on to making a simple jig out of steel down pipe adding a shelf of wire mesh to sit the plank on, see photos.
    I have experimented with steaming several different woods, in my opinion hard woods will take a more severe bend probably due to their long grain structure though even soft woods like Huon pine will bend very nicely while still hot the key being while still hot.
    You may have minutes to work with large pieces of wood due to it's thermal mass, small planks take seconds to cool.
    Personally I would try some Beech I wouldn't be surprised if it worked quite well.
    Hope this helps.
    Cheers,
    Stephen.
    3
    Westquay
    Commander
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    Ron, I HATE balsa! I only use it in model aircraft when I have to! Leading and trailing edges, maybe the odd spar, but I hate its unreliable grain and imprecise nature.
    To me that precariously balance blow torch in the hot pipe method is a no-no! My blow torch is a big devil on a couple of metres of orange hose, not something I can rest up against a pipe. I shall have a play with Spruce and then some ash when I can get it back from my daughter's place.

    Martin
    4
    Ron
    Lieutenant Commander
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    Since I am not building indoor flying models any more, the box of light balsa is used to form the hulls of many of my boats. Is really thin and light, I will laminate a couple layers. The hulls are covered with light fibreglass which makes it strong. Balsa can be soaked in water and curved which is what I would do when making propellers.

    I have not used the β€œhot pipe” method Michael Fortune describes. He makes furniture, not model boats, though, I would think if you used a curling iron with thinner wood 1/16 or 1/32 the β€œhot pipe” method could be used indoors, with care!

    Anyone tried this?
    3
    peewit
    Leading Seaman
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    I think spruce would be you easiest option if you cannot use a steam tube. You could use ammonia and soak the wood which will certainly do it but does leaks the wood brittle in my experience.

    The pictures are of my Wherry, not very good pictures I am afraid but I didn’t really want to take it of the shell. It’s planks are a shade over 1/8 and oak, if I was doing it now I wouldn’t use oak I would probably use pine or like you spruce.
    1
    Westquay
    Commander
    πŸ“ Which wood for steaming easily on a model?...
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    I couldn't use hot pipe, too risky inside a house. White oak (any kind of oak) too coarse a grain, but ash will do. Somebody elsewhere suggested spruce. We can get spruce in hobby sizes and I'm thinking if it dioes bend well, then a 4"wide sheet of spruce 1/8" thick could be the answer as the strange shapes required for a clinker boat would come out of a 4" wide sheet whereas an 1 1/4" wide piece (of ash) wouldn't allow the shape. I must see if SLEC stock spruce.

    Martin
    3
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