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Discussion Starter #1
HI, first post here. Hope someone can give me a little advice on a project I am working on...

I am trying to make some old fashion styled wooden skis for a Christmas gift. (I should have started this months ago)

The skis are what is sometimes called "hunters skis" they are not like normal x-crountry skis, these are 5.5" wide, and 4' long. They are basically sliding snow shoes...

I am using poplar as its cheap and this is sort of an experiment, I could switch to red oak or maple as they are at the big box stores.

The stock I have is standard 3/4 thick 4x6. I have thinned the end down by rasping the topside, and would like to turn up the end. The portion I thinned is about 4-5 inches back from the tip.

How thin do i need to make the section I wand to bend up, and how long will I need to steam it?

also, do I need a steam box or is just holding the board over a kettle doable? (I have never tried steam bending anything)

If need be I will put relief cuts into the top as i can hide them with a canvas backing I plan to add.

Any help on this bending would be great.
 

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I have always heard that air dried lumber is best for steam bending as the lignin in the wood has not been set yet. You will need two jigs actually for the best results, one for the initial bending then another help hold the shape while the piece dries out from being steamed. You will want to keep it in the second jig for several days or you may loose the bend. You will also need to fully support the stock from behind as you bend it to keep the back from blowing out.
 

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Steam is hot (hold your bare arm over a boiling kettle.)
What happens in the steam box is that the heat energy in the steam is transferred to the "bound" water in the wood. When this heats up, it softens, plasticizes, the non-fibrous fraction of the wood. Lignins, yes, but perhaps even more importantly, the pectins.
Air-dried wood = good.
Steam time? Test after an hour. My dime is on 3-4 hours & don't let the pot boil dry.
Massive jig = big wood and a serious bend.
 

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If your only bending two skis. I'd slice them into thin strips and laminate them in a fixture. If you have your heart set on steam. Don't start timing the heating process until the temp reaches 200 deg. If its kiln dried it may not bend.

My word you have plenty of time before Christmas gets here.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What are the chances that poplar or oak from a big box store is not kiln dried? I'm re thinking the plans I had...

Gluing up seems better for me at this point.

So, is there any issue with glues being in contact with frozen surfaces? The material will not just be outside, but being constantly slightly flexed...would titebond 2/3 be good, or should I go with an epoxy like smooth-on ea-40?

Thanks for all the info thus far.
 

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If your really going to laminate them and you want it to last. Use West system. That's what we build Ice boats out of up north. It's water proof and flexible.

Do you have a plan or are you winging it. There should be zillion hits for this on the net.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 
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