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Experiment in Steam Bending
plane, old tools, woodwork, galoot
gmcdavid
A cold day in Minnesota, -4oF/-20oC. I had the day off, but it was too cold to go anywhere. So I did a woodworking experiment. I had this homemade cane, about a yard long:



As you can see there was a serious kink in it, that was just how it grew. I decided to steam it and try to straighten it out. So I filled a roasting pan with water and put the cane over it.



The day was so cold that I was helping to humidify the house :-)> At mia_mcdavid's suggestion I covered the assembly in foil to confine the steam somewhat:



To straighten the cane my plan was simply to stuff the (hopefully softened) stem down a length of PVC pipe, forcing it to bend back into a more-or-less straigh line.



I was able to stuff the cane into the pipe. Unfortunately, the cane was strong and fought back, actually bending the PVC. To deal with this I clamped the assembly to my workbench, forcing the PVC, and the cane inside, back into line:



I expect this will hold. Unfortunately, I won't be able to use the workbench much for the next week or two while it dries. I should have used a steel pipe, or some other form to hold it in shape. However, the PVC was what I had on hand. If this works I will consider some more serious apparatus for next time.