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I use a Bissell Steam Shot steamer to bend my planks on the hull (http://www.walmart.com/ip/14320774?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227010307543&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=&wl3=30081043150&wl4=&wl5=pla&veh=sem).  I clamp the plank to a straight part of the hull and then use the steamer to bend it to the curved area, clamp it and let it dry.  I gently pull on the end of the plank while running the steamer back and forth until I can feel it bending and keep steaming and gently pulling until it is fully formed around the curve. Remove it when dry and glue in place.  There is no soaking or pre-bending required. 


Good Luck!



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The steamer takes about 3 to 5 minutes to get up to temp..  If you just filled it you have to blow out the air for a few seconds so you get pure steam.  As far as time to bend a plank, there are a number of variables, size/type of wood, size of model and type of hull.  I am building the San Francisco II and steaming a plank into final form takes a few minutes on average.  Some planks bend easier than others.  I hold the nozzle directly against the plank and run it back and forth until the plank bends easily, I go slowly but it never takes very long.  Most of the time you will be steaming the plank while it is away from the other planks and then bending into the hull.  I use white glue so if I am steaming right near another plank I stick a piece of foil under it then pull it out when ready to bend.  Other than protecting the white glue on the previous plank it has no effect on the hull or anything else in the area.  As I said before, after you fill it it will spit water and air for a few seconds before you get a nice clean stem jet.  I spray it into the trash can to clear it.  Hope this helps you.



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  • 7 months later...

This is not a hair dryer nor a soldering iron... perhaps a hair iron :)

This has worked really nice for me.


With no admiral around, I had to buy my own curling iron. 

[MENTAL IMAGE: Shortish male, very short hair (not quite buzz-cut), in-line at KMart (our WalMart) with just a curling iron in hand]


Depending on the thickness and type of wood, I leave my planks to soak anywhere from 30mins up to 8-9 hours.

Then plug your iron in and let it heat up (1-2mins).


Open the spring-piece, poke enough of your plank through to where you wish to begin your bend, then close the clamp.

Give it about 10 seconds.

(To apply some extra pressure, wear an oven-mitt or wrap your hand in clothing.)

Open clamp.

Push plank through further.

Re-apply clamp.





BTW: When I first bought it, I actually made a wooden spring. The strips were (I think) 0.5mm X 1mm.

It had four complete (360 degree) coils !!

For real !!

(Kickin' myself for not having saved pics)

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  • 2 weeks later...

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