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Thread: Steaming doug fir

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Portland, OR
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    Am using doug fir for the rub rails on my skiff project. The pieces will need to be steamed to make the bend around the sheer to the stem end. Have steamed wood but not doug fir. How does it do? Pieces are 1-1/4" x 5/8".

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Port of Lorain,Ohio
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    Steve......From what I read, Douglas Fir is not good for steam bending.
    It laminates well though.
    Fresh green White Oak would be better for steam bending.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Seabeck, WA
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    Not near as pliable as White Oak, but you won't have any problem getting a reasonable steam bend outta 5/8" DF if the grain is straight. I've steam bent 5/4 X 5/4 90 degrees thru four feet before (altho I broke enuf stock that I'll lam that bend next time).

    Depends on the boat, but most sheer guards can be sprung around without steam in stock that thin. But DF is stiffer than most and localized steam at the point of max bend will do it if the bend is too much to do dry.

    Personally, I stuff the stock under the dock float for a couple weeks and crank up the stove for some local steaming only if that fails. DF is so stable that you can soak it all you please, screw or clamp it on wet, and in a few days it'll be ready for sanding and finishing.

    [ 07-05-2005, 10:41 PM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

  4. #4
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    I used df for the sheer clamp, just about the same bend, for the same boat design, and used Bob's method, more or less. Wrapped the df in soaking wet towels with a plastic tarp around it all to keep the water in, for a week or so.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Thanks guys. That is the info I needed. I thought about using oak since it steamed so well for the exterior stem piece but I am going to finish the doug fir natural to set against a dark green hull and the mahogany sheer clamp that is exposed in the cockpit. The stock I have is perfect CVG and full length 12'. Also did not want a scarf joint on the rub rail. I'll go ahead and steam the foward end that has the most radical bend. Thats all I have room for in the current steam box anyway. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    [ 07-06-2005, 12:03 AM: Message edited by: Steve Miller ]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
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    What Bob said. Hell, I've used 5/8" Doug fir for lofting battens! LOL You should have no problem bending it without steaming, I'd think. That's a skinny little piece of wood you're dealing with there. Don't expect it to look like much finished bright, though. It isn't a finish wood. For rub rails, you might consider using teak. That much shouldn't cost much at all.

    [ 07-06-2005, 12:11 AM: Message edited by: Bob Cleek ]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Chattanooga, TN
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    Just to add my 2 cents.

    The only experiance I've had bending doug fir was fir a keel strip on my wood stripped canoe. It was 5/16" x 3/4". I steamed several pieces and each one snapped before it would make the radius (about 12"-16"). I used ash and pre-soaked it and didn't have to steam it.

    Chad

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