Steam Bending Frames

After reading all we could about steam bending white oak, watching videos of other boat builders, professional and amateur alike, hearing about the limited amount of time you have to work the wood before your window of opportunity is gone, and other associated horror stories, we decided it was time to give it a try.

We started by removing one frame from each side of the boat. The plan for our first effort was to steam two frames, assuming we would botch the first one by taking too much time. Or if it were to break, we would have a backup frame and hopefully get one of the two installed.

Two air dried White Oak frames 1” x ¾” x 60” were steamed for one hour.

Much to our amazement the first frame slid into to place taking all of about twenty seconds. Patricia was in the boat with a flat blade putty knife to assist the end of the frame over each lap, on the other end of the frame I was able to push, pull, and tap as necessary to move the frame into place.

It went so smoothly we installed both frames without a problem.

For our next effort we removed four frames, two on each side of the boat, leaving an existing frame between each to be sure that hull shape was maintained.

The installation of these four frames went as smooth as the first two. We are on a frame bending ROLL!To date we have removed and installed ten frames, and plan to replace ten more.

One lesson we learned as you will see in the following video is to not sit the camera on the boat while filming. The boat has a fair amount of movement while wrestling the frame into place.

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