Saturday, 1 September 2012

Steam Bending Maple

The Maple bow is begining to flex on the tiller on a taut string, but one limb has a lot of reflex which makes it rather asymetric and difficult to judge the bend. It's a fairly short stave (62.5") and I'm after a reasonable draw weight (50#) so I've decided to take a bit of reflex out of the limb rather than adding reflex to the other.
Dry heat or steam?
I've used both and find steam gentler, more easy to control and quicker, however if I'm heat treating then the dry heat can also be used to add reflex at the same time.
The bend I'm doing on this bow would be difficult with dry heat as I've jigged it with the back upper most and you don't want to to be drying out the back with dry heat (heat treating is done to the belly of a bow to make it stronger in compression).
I use an old 5L plastic container to hold the steam (from a wallpaper stripper) where I want it.

I may heat treat the belly of the bow later on. Fo now I'm just trying to get it a bit more symetrical and flexing back about 6".
You can see the result, it's still got a hint of reflex at each end.
I've taken it off the jig to dry it off, I'll leave it another day off the jig before flexing it again.


  1. hi,
    I love your blog, and I too like to steam my bows. do you have a details on your steaming method? you can you show your set up?

  2. It pretty much shows it above. If your search for steam or steaming on this blog it will bring up loads of posts. The main thing is jigging up the bend, I reckon you need to spend as much time jigging up and preparing as you do steaming. The steam is from a wallpaper stripper.