Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

FoodSaver bag steam bending

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Ron Bedard, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. Ron Bedard

    Ron Bedard Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Hi All,

    Maybe someone's seen and reported on this. I'm fitting new outwhales on a 16' Old Town C.S. and the curves at the bow and stern are too tight for the stock. (very dry mahogany) I've fastened the new pieces as far as the stock stiffness will allow, and then steamed the ends right in place. The FoodSaver bag comes in rolls, and a 3' piece with a wire-tie to seal one end becomes a steam-box. I slide the one-ended bag over the last 2-1/2' of the gunnel, poke the steam hose into the open end, and wrap the bag tight around the hose. I used a staple into the underside of the inwhale to hold everything. 40 minutes of steam, and I could then form the mahogany to the curves. (Wear gloves, and watch out for the hot water that may collect in the bag!) The bag is so thin that everything can be clamped in place and allowed to cool. Drilling and screwing are done when the bag is removed and moved to the other end for a repeat.
    Found this on a youtube video, "tips from a shipwright". Be careful, his videos are habit-forming.
    This set-up really fit the job since the ends of the new stock were already bent to a "generic" shape that would have required a rigid steam box or pipe to be pretty large.
    Bags custom cut to steam other parts would be easy to set up. (ribs, planks)
    The FoodSaver bags are available off the shelf at Walmarts.

    Hope this is useful to anyone else that might be at this stage of a project.

  2. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Dang good idea if you don't want to a whole roll of the other stuff. If you're really good you can return it without the wife noticing.
    mmmalmberg likes this.
  3. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    thanks for this. I've never come across food saver bags before, always used the smaller poly bag tubing rolls.
    The bigger size at reasonable price will be useful.
  4. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

  5. OP
    Ron Bedard

    Ron Bedard Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Great pictures!
    I only bagged and steamed the very ends that required a tight curve. Propane "turkey" cooker with an old kerosene can and garden hose for steam provided more than enough. Poked the hose into the side of the tube so that condensate flowed back down the hose to the can. Didn't have the water pooling in the bag this way.
    Like anything else, you learn as you go.
    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  6. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    We used a propane "turkey" cooker, and old gas can (thoroughly cleared of vapors), and a clothes wash machine drain hose (looks like a shop vac hose, but I leared the hard way that a shop vac hose can't stand the heat -- as you say, learn as you go).
  7. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Oh smaller shop vac hose is wrecked....I wish I had come up with something else but at the time it seemed like a brilliant idea. NOT!
  8. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Camper sewer hoses work well too if you got a camper ….. Like an accordian.
    MGC likes this.
  9. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Steaming the whole outwale was really just an experiment that we did at Assembly to see if it could be done. It did work and allowed us to bend both ends nearly at once, saving some moving around of apparatus etc.


  10. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Hooo haa. Clean it first. I'm still recovering from the stench of mice that died trapped in my steamer.
    Good idea though. I have an extra section that is unused. I'm not ready to wreck the hose on my larger shop vac so i'll give it a try.
  11. OP
    Ron Bedard

    Ron Bedard Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I bet a piece of red PEX would be pretty heat resistant, and would be flexible enough when hot.
    (lit the BBQ once without noticing that there was a nest of chipmunks in there. What a fire drill!)
  12. Lowvillian

    Lowvillian New Member

    Noob you varnish the wood before steaming? Or do i fit it to the gunwales,let it dry then remove and varnish?Thanks
  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    It's a good question. There are folks who varnish on the hull. They would bend, attach, varnish.
    Most of us like to put some varnish on the back side of the rails so we would bend, attach, allow to sit for a few days before removing the rails to varnish them. Once they are nicely varnished we re-install them.
    I don't like to fuss with trying to keep varnish off of the paint so I varnish rails when they are off of the canoe. I would not steam wood that has been varnished.
    But, there aren't any rules.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  14. OP
    Ron Bedard

    Ron Bedard Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    MGC is right.
    When I've removed old rails, they never seem to have been varnished on the hidden sides. I varnish the whole thing off the canoe and then install. Tedious but not complicated.

Share This Page