Sunday, 25 January 2015

New Steam Box

I've had a spare insulated ceiling board cluttering up the garage for a year or three. The insulation was just the job for making a new steam box long enough for the limbs of my experimental fight bow.
It was a right pain sawing the plaster board off the insulation. It would have only cost £15 for brand new insulation, but that would be a waste of resources and wouldn't help de-clutter the garage. Anyhow I like making stuff, the other advantage is that if it falls to bits I've not wasted any money.

The ends of the box just push in and I glued on offcuts of insulation to act as handles.
The glue I used was a polyurethane wood glue which I tested on an off cut first. I think the insulation foam is polyurethane so it's a good match.
The box is propped up at an angle to let any condensate run out through the small drain hole at the back. You can see the steam coming out too. (Although to be pedantic, it's water vapour as steam is invisible). At the front there is a hole in the top right corner to allow steam to vent and ensure there is a flow of steam with no cold spots within the box. The end plugs are labelled A and B to avoid confusion.

I gave it a good 45 minutes in the steamer and it seemed to bend nicely. I'll let it cool for a good few hours and then do the other one.

Nuff chat, I'll let the pics do the talking.
BTW. The half brick (or inertial stabilisation device as we sometimes call it) on top of the box is just to hold it steady!
The form is made of two layers of 18mm ply screwed together. I may unscrew the halves and strap a limb to each for final seasoning to help stop any warping.

You can see in one pic how I've left the bark on, this keeps a nice clean back, it will pop off in it's own good time and you can see it's buckling where the limb has been bent.

In the final pic you can see I've used the other half of the form to strap the first limb onto whilst I did the second (turning the limb over as it's the reverse half of the form, e.g one is bark up, t'other is bark down) They are on a radiator in a spare room which doesn't get too hot. Hopefully in a week they will be ready to play with some more.
You can see it's not a huge reflex by modern standards, but bear in mind these are wooden limbs and I want it to survive to be some sort of reference. No good as a reference if I get too extreme and it explodes.

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