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The Ultimate Steam Box was developed by Mike Dunbar of The Windsor Institute and all credit for the ideas expressed in this article are taken from both the actual use of Mike's ideas and his newsletters, known as the Windsor Chronicles.
There should be a way to load and empty the steam box that doesn't require the user to wait for the steam to reach its peak production or allows the wood to be soaked in water. The steam box should be stable, and its heat and water source independent of the loading and unloading of the wood being steamed. As a safety feature, the steel can may not ever have been used to store any oil, gasoline or other hazardous material. Two 1 inch diameter holes, one at each end of the pipe, just before the end cap female fittings, are drilled to act as relief holes. I purchased my schedule 80 pipe at State Plumbing Supply, which in located in the industrial area in San Carlos, at 1000 American (at the corner of Bayport Way). Most ideas that we see for steam box construction and the sale of steam box systems have several flaws, some just annoying and some potentially fatal. Steam boxes made out of stove pipe, metal boxes, wooden boxes and so forth all have drawbacks.
After use, the steam box should be easy to empty, dry and store, without any complicated steps. Using Schedule 80 PVC pipe and fittings, the pipe is impervious to steam heat, will not absorb water and will dry quickly, ready for storage in a few minutes.
Using a schedule 80 tee connection, I cut the pipe into two equal lengths and glued it to the tee. I use an oil collection can that is generally sold in auto supply stores with the can, a pipe and a large funnel device to position under an engine.


No one is fast enough to snatch the wood out of the box before they are burned by the steam. I built a cradle for mine, so once the cradle is set up, I place the tube in the cradle and we are ready to hook up the boiler.
State Plumbing was the only supply store that I could find that had schedule 80 fittings in stock. Before I left the store, I went to the parts counter and asked them to sell me a radiator hose that could slip over the telescoping pipe between the catch pan the the threaded insert.
Many people have to begin in a small make shift shop and gradually when they have the right shop space and money to invest, they can build their dream shop. Using a series of reducers, I fitted a connection using 1.5 inch schedule 80 PVC into a standard radiator hose. I cut the funnel off the pipe and use the threaded end of the pipe as the connection to the boiler. Spaced just below the halfway point on the midsection of each tube is a series of stainless steel or chromed bolts.
The relief holes allow water (old steam) to drain without lowering the tempurature of the box.
The boiler sits on a propane burner, similar to that used for Cajun Fish Frys or Turkey Fryers. I cut the telescoping pipe to fit my particular set up and fastened the hose at both ends with one band clamp at each end. There has to be a way to maximize steam volume without the danger of building up pressure that can lead to either an explosion or uncontrolled steam escaping the box.


Any screen in the pipe has to be removed, as the hot steam will cause any screen to rust and eventually, create a blockage problem. Steamed red oak has to be removed from the box and placed in its form in less than 30 seconds. The 1.5 inch plastic pipe is only a friction fit between the reducer rings in the tee assembly. With radiator hose, the stiffness of the hose and its wide diameter keeps the path for the steam open under any conditions.
Allowing the wood to touch water will lower the temperature of the wood and instead of steaming, you end up soaking the wood. If you do not have quality hardware, however good the piece is you have created out of wood; it will not make the mark. In order to make his own woodshop, he requires certain ideas and plans which would be in his budget and would represent his creative aspect and personality as well.
They are used in almost every field, in every area, whether the machinery is for cars, grocery stores, shop or woodwork.
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