View Full Version : Size of steam box?

01-23-2017, 07:04 PM
Does anyone have an idea of how big my steam box should be for a 21 foot boat (Handy Billy)? My understanding is that only the front end of the plank needs to be steamed for bend and twist. I'm thinking 8 foot would be sufficient, but I'm treading on unfamiliar ground and would appreciate any guidance. Thanks!


Charlie Santi
01-23-2017, 07:48 PM
I have used a 12" x 12" x 8' box for about 20 years has been the right size for my shop. We work on 21' or less boats in the winter and up to 36' in summer.

Rich Jones
01-23-2017, 08:01 PM
I have used a 12" x 12" x 8' box for about 20 years has been the right size for my shop. We work on 21' or less boats in the winter and up to 36' in summer. That should do the trick.

Ian McColgin
01-23-2017, 08:11 PM
This steamer utilizes a couple of truck tire inntertubes.

https://scontent.fbed1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/10858522_10203469676677690_6032965986893488562_n.j pg?oh=e0a05ca235ee898ba6f04f328789a423&oe=5916CA63

Looks a bit like the friendly robot in a third rate kiddie space flick.

Ian McColgin
01-23-2017, 08:13 PM
https://scontent.fbed1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/1004560_10203469676437684_2938755302190131510_n.jp g?oh=1d3d81d0ab74a4833d87dfd404f9dc87&oe=5919B5B2

Ian McColgin
01-23-2017, 08:13 PM
My work here is done.

https://scontent.fbed1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/10846009_10203469678517736_5377242315313989896_n.j pg?oh=c664872161cb7875af19fdc2562af06c&oe=5910F70C

01-23-2017, 09:16 PM
I'm presently building the handy Billy and I made the steam box 14 inches wide by 7 feet long by 3 inches deep. I picked up an inexpensive fabric stemer for 1o dollars. It works great

01-23-2017, 09:53 PM
Hey, really appreciate these insights and suggestions. Many thanks.

01-23-2017, 09:55 PM

Did you find that you only needed to steam the forward end of the planks? Why did you choose 14 inches wide? Thanks!

Ian McColgin
01-23-2017, 10:23 PM
Robbie the Robot was only steaming the foremost four feet or so of the garboards - the only planks that were in any way difficult due to bend, twist, and lack of width. The garboards and a strake or so up arrive at the stem at a very acute angle that would be too thin to hold a screw. Hence, the "harpoon hook hood ends."

https://scontent.fbed1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/11188278_10204806940988462_959690669733085722_n.jp g?oh=809a59ccdccf19adfa45e9c2cb45be2f&oe=5910A2DF

PNW Crabber
01-24-2017, 10:06 PM
For what it's worth, I used the plastic bag technique to steam the chines for my LYSS and it worked like a champ. Camp stove, old unused gas can with a 3' length of heater hose duct taped to a hole in the plastic bag. I saw it on line and it worked awesome. Staple up the plastic tube in 10 minutes, you can reuse it and no need to store a steam box. There are a couple of pictures of it on my build thread on this forum.

Good luck.

Todd D
01-24-2017, 10:24 PM
I use a wall paper steamer as a steam source. My steam box is 8"x4"x8'.

01-26-2017, 07:29 PM
It was 1/2 of the 28 inch wide luan plywood sheet left over

01-28-2017, 05:41 PM
I would be curious to find out your progress on the handy billy

02-01-2017, 11:26 AM

I am just reviewing the plan. I haven't started to build yet, but plan on beginning in the next month. I wanted to build the steam box now so as to avoid delay later on. Did you find it challenging to plank the boat? Was there a lot of twist in the front end? For example, did you need a second pair of hands?


02-04-2017, 01:44 PM
The dimensions of the steam box are perfect. You can steam the forward end of the plank while rest fitting it on the frame only the first four planks need any steaming. It is challenge to plank it but fun. I think the only time you will need help is with the guarboards. I also used a different spilling system of two fairing sticks with diagnol truss brasing. I can send you a photo if you like. Soooo much more accurate and faster

02-04-2017, 02:37 PM
I think I had 10 feet when I was steaming ribs. That box got in too tough shape so I built a replacement that is about 8 feet and that has done what I need so far.

https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a4da25b3127ccef59db0d974d000000030O02Bbs3DVuzZA9 vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00200375837020140404164332072.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

02-06-2017, 06:59 PM
Thanks for this info - very helpful. Would love to see the photo of your spiling system, as that is a concern as well. Many thanks!