TRI to keep it WILD - Raising funds for Nature Conservancy of Canada

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bending the stems

With the bow and stern forms now cut out with the clamping holes I was able to go about bending the stems this past weekend. As described in Canoecraft, I set up my makeshift steamer using a 3" dia. pipe a few inches longer than the wood strips used to make the laminated stems and the electric kettle from the kitchen. There are two sets of stems - the inside stems and the outside stems. The inside stems are made up of 3 strips of 1/4" x 3/4" Port Orford Cedar. It is these that the WRC strips will be attached to at the bow and stern of the canoe. The outer stems are made of 3 strips each of 1/4" x 7/8" Cherry that seal the end of the WRC strips once they have been laid on the forms and they also provide some impact resistance for the canoe.
I soaked the strips over night to soften them up, then stuck them in the PVC pipe in the morning with nozzle of the kettle inserted in the lower end of the pipe. The top end was plugged with rags and the kettle set to boiling with the switch held on. Each set of strips were steamed for about 25 minutes then removed and quickly wrapped around the forms. While I held the stems against the forms, Tracy tightened the clamps. I was amazed at how easily the stems bent. All in all it was a very simple process and it seems to have worked out well.

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