Making A Steam Box

a wooden steam box

Construct a wooden box about 7 feet long by 1 foot wide by 1 foot high. Along the inside bottom of the box, place a copper pipe that has been riddled with perforations. The pipe should exit the box via a "T" junction near the centre. Where this "T" junction pokes out of the bottom of the box, attach one end of a plastic or rubber flexible hose. Attach the other end of the hose to your steam source (we used a regular electric kettle, but a modified pot or a steam machine, like a wallpaper steamer, would have held more water. If you use a kettle, do not leave it unattended, as it will have to be refilled often). Also, fasten little pieces of wood to the inside bottom of the box so that the plank to be steamed can rest on them, thereby leaving room for the steam to get under it.

picture of the inside of a wooden steam box

(Note: I have received several suggestions regarding simpler ways to build a steam-chamber. Some people suggest using a large diameter PVC or ABS plastic pipe or a length of metal duct instead of a wooden box. If you choose this method, then wires can be run width-wise through the steam-chamber at intervals to serve as rests for the plank you are going to steam. These rests will allow the plank to be suspended so that steam can fully surround it. One end of the pipe or duct must be capped, while at the other end is left open. When in use, the steam-chamber must be set on a slight incline so the condensation can trickle out the open end. Place the steam source at the lowered open end of the pipe so that the chamber can fill with steam, and drape a wet cloth or towel over the opening of the chamber and the kettle to contain the heat and direct the steam into the box. I must add that having this open end will make your steam-box much less heat-efficient (heat plays a most important role in the bending process). Because of this loss of efficiency, extra steaming time will probably be required. However, I include this description because it might be more practical for those only intending to build a single bodhran, and because several people have informed me that it has worked for them).

plans for constructing a steam box Click here to see detailed plans for a wooden steam box

diagram of a ABS plastic pipe steam box Click Here to see a picture of a PVC steam box

Click here to continue reading about making a bodhran rim .

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