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» Trad Gang.com » Main Forums » The Bowyer's Bench » To steam or not to steam?

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Author Topic: To steam or not to steam?
ffdiggs
Contributor 2014
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Building a bow for a friends Dad who is a cancer survivor, I have a nice stave with good rings, and no knots, it has a little propeller twist and needs a little straightening. I have always been of the thought if you have dry wood you use dry heat, green wood you steam. But I see on Gary Davis dvd he steams wood that has been dry ing for a couple years or more then tweaks it with dry heat. My stave has been drying for at least 4 years, should I steam or dry heat?

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Posts: 153 | From: OH | Registered: Apr 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
die_dunkelheit
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Steam. What causes wood to be bendable? Heat and moisture, you could use either to limited effect or use both to greater effect.
I've steam bent kiln dried Osage to good results several times when building boo backed Osage recurves.

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Posts: 89 | From: California | Registered: Jul 2016  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pat B
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It depends on how severe the twist is. For a slight twist nothing is necessary. A selfbow can take some twist without adversely affecting the bow or how it shoots. For more severe twist I like dry heat, a caul, clamps and wood wedges. I usually also temper the belly at the same time. For more severe bends like recurves, steam would be a better option. I like to seal the area to be steamed with shellac because it can take the heat, it resists moisture and is easily removed if necessary.

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Roy from Pa
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Is the stave still a full stave? If so, taking it down closer to bow dimensions will make it easier to straighten. Steam won't hurt it.
Posts: 10985 | From: PA | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carson81
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Like Pat says, you don't have to remove prop twist if it is balanced between the two limbs and thus offset each other. Like Pat, I seal the wood with shellac also before steaming. I also seal with shellac before dry heat and use a high melting point oil, such as bear fat over that to help moderate the intensity of the dry heat,aka keep from scorching the surface. the shellac keeps the heat from driving the oil deep into the wood.

Like Roy said, get it close to bow dimensions before tweaking with heat of any kind. Took me awhile to get that figured out on my own.

Steam is generally the safer bet if you are less experienced bending bow staves. But heating the full length of a stave with steam requires an apparatus of some type, which are not hard to build, but is another step.

Good luck!

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Posts: 107 | From: Oregon | Registered: Dec 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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