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Steam tool for bending wood model ship planks?

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I use my wife's discarded hair curler.  It is stuck on High so she can't use it.  I soak the wood for 10-15 mins.   Open the jaws stick the wood in and close the jaws .  The heat helps with the bend.  The diameter is perfect for every curve I have needed so far (15 or so ships), and can be bent in any direction.

Brand new the curling iron is less than $10 USD.



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A vegetable/rice/food steamer cooker should do the trick.

Black & Decker and Oster both have long oval models for < $40.

They are also useful for cooking rice and veggies, so be more cost effective than most tools we buy.



NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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I use a steamer and you can look here


how it works. Cristi

Current build : Sovereign of the Seas - Mantua 1:78 scale




Finished:        San John the Baptist - Cross section

                    Santisima Trinidad - Cross section                  Galery Santisima 

                    San John the Baptist ( San Juan Bautista)    Galery  San John

                    HMS Victory 1805 - Cross section - Corel 1:98 scale 

                    Panart (Mantua) 740 Battle Station          Battle Station Panart 740 Galerry


On Hold:        HMS Bounty 1:64   Mamoli MV39


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I have been using an Aeropiccola heat/steam bender for over 30 years. Works well for me. See my post about it from another thread below.







Current Build: - OcCre Shackleton’s Endurance. 


Completed Ship Builds:

                                     Caldercraft - HM Bark Endeavour. (in Gallery)

                                    Caldercraft  - HMAV Bounty (in Gallery)

                                     Caldercraft - HM Brig Supply (In Gallery)

                                     Aeropiccola - Golden Hind

                                                        - Constitution

                                     Clipper Seawitch (maker unknown - too long ago to remember!)

                                     Corel - Victory

                                     Modeller's Shipyard - A Schooner of Port Jackson - In Gallery

                                                                      - Brig `Perseverance' - In Gallery

                                                                      - Cutter `Mermaid'- In Gallery

                                                                      - Sirius Longboat (bashed) - In Gallery

                                                                      - Sloop Norfolk - In Gallery

                                      Completed Cannon:   - French 18th Century Naval Cannon

                                                                      - Napoleonic 12 pound field piece

                                                                      - English 18th Century Carronade

                                       Non Ship Builds - Sopwith Camel - Artesania Latina

                                                                   - Fokker DR1 - Artesania Latina


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This is what I have:


I have used it for woodworking and guitar building and it steams the wood well.  The kit includes instructions on making the wood box but would have to be modified for model making.


I also have one of these:


When bending guitar sides, you need to back up the wood with a bending strap to keep the fibers from breaking.  This may not be an issue with model making though.




First and only build: Endeavour - 1934 American's Cup, UK Challenger, J-Class - Amati 1:35

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  • 2 weeks later...



I find soaking wood in container of boiling water is the most convenient method. For anything up to 1/8 inch a few minutes soak will do the job. You can vary the size of the container to match the piece of wood you want to bend and any water left in the kettle can be used for coffee (or tea in my case). When bending long strips I use a steam wallpaper stripper and push the strips down the steam outlet tube.



Edited by KeithAug



Current Build:-

Cangarda (Steam Yacht) - Scale 1:24


Previous Builds:-


Schooner Germania (Nova) - Scale 1:36


Schooner Altair by KeithAug - Scale 1:32 - 1931


J Class Endeavour by KeithAug - Amati - Scale 1:35 - 1989 after restoration.



Other Topics

Nautical Adventures




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