I took a break from weaving and have been busy cleaning up and organizing my shop. I've also been creating basket parts for a class I'm doing over the summer. Today I fired up the steam box to steam bend oak for the handles. I wanted to use Schedule 80 PVC pipe but ended up using Schedule 40 since the Schedule 80 is only sold in 20' lengths @ $6.79 per foot (ouch). A cradle was created just in case the Schedule 40 pipe sags. The steam box sits on brackets that are temporarily mounted to the fence with clamps. Click on picture to enlarge.
A small hole is drilled on top where a temperature gauge is installed. Relief holes are drilled at each end of the PVC pipe on the underside. You know you are ready to steam bend when steam exits the holes as pictured here.
The handle stock is ready to come out.Oak handles on molds. The oak bent like butter.I use rough cut green white oak that I get from a local sawmill. It is cut down to more manageable sizes and stored in a freezer in the shop until I'm ready to use it. The wide oak board is put through the planer then cut into strips on the table saw. I love my Delta Unisaw with Biesemeyer fence. You can see in the picture the oak is wet.The strips are put through the planer again and planed to the finished thickness. This will remove any circle marks left behind by the table saw blade.