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Thread: Steaming Cedar Shingles

  1. #1

    Steaming Cedar Shingles

    I've never steam bent anything, and now I need to steam bend some 16" perfection shingles, all VG.

    I don't need to do many, maybe 16' worth of a single course, and it's not going to be much of a curve.

    I ordered a wallpaper steamer, and my plan is to get an 8' section of 18" diameter sono tube, stick all the shingles in there (after soaking in water for 10 minutes) and start steamin!

    I think I have it all figured out except how to seal the ends of the 18" cylinder while it's steaming. I could cut two 18" circles out of plywood and use those, but was wondering if someone had a better idea of how to seal the ends??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Lucas, Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Wood View Post
    ... and it's not going to be much of a curve.
    I put cedar shakes on all my dormers, so some experience - - but not really an answer to your steaming question. I believe the typical method to deal with curves is to simply use narrow shakes. They sit flat enough to nail and for a gentle curve, this is adequate. Wide ones can be split vertically to allow use, but even the wide ones, when new, should bend enough for a ~6' to 8' diameter structure.

    I used white cedar machine grooved, R&R (18" nom. length, 3"->14" random width, 5/2 butt). I disposed of a 6-yr-old partial box a couple of months ago and noticed they are quite dry and brittle now. ...So, use 'em or lose 'em.
    Molann an obair an saor.

  3. #3
    Your circles of plywood will work fine as some leakage is necessary to let the steam out.

    I recently set up a steam box (mine's rectangular). After a couple runs I insulated the box and got much better results. I also added a thermometer. the wood doesn't soften much until you get to 210 degrees. Depending on the radius you are going for I would guess 30 minutes at temp would do it.

    I also ended up making a sheet metal strap with end blocks to keep the outside in compression. This reduced my failure rate dramatically (50% down to 10%)

  4. #4
    Unless you leave spaces between each shingle it is going to take a long time to get all the shingles hot. The ones in the middle of the stack are not going to see steam or heat for quite a while.
    Lee Schierer - McKean, PA

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