Step 5: The "Steamer"

To get the plywood to bend we'll need steam which means we need a steamer box.  Since I have an old kitchen stove in my woodshop I simply drilled out the top of a kettle and installed a hose end in the lid.  After adding another hose end to the wooden box, I used a washing machine hose to connect the kettle and the box.  This setup gives you tight fittings and is easy to disassemble and store.  

The box was made out of plywood scraps and is approximately 6"x12"x48" to accommodate the large plywood pieces needed for the seat.  Before putting the box together I drilled a series of holes in the 6" sides for metal rods so the steam would be able to circulate completely around the pieces.  The box is open on the end furthest away from where the steam enters the box.  Pieces to be steamed are placed in the box through this opening and the opening is covered by a towel during steaming.

With everything assembled, water is brought to a boil and steam is allowed to build up in the box.  When steam is rolling out of the box, 2 pieces of 1/8" plywood are placed inside the box and the end covered with a towel.  The plywood remains in the steamer for an hour.  My experience was more than an hour caused the plywood layers to separate and an hour was long enough to obtain good flexibility.  
<p>Success! For my seat I used 2 pieces of birch plywood and 2 pieces of mahogany luan plywood, and ran them through the planer until they were nice and flexible, which ended up being about 1/8&quot; thick and 2 layers per piece, making the final seat 1/2&quot; thick and 8 plys. I layered the birch on the faces and the two mahogany pieces in the center, and glued it up with Dap 00203 Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue, which I have read is the best adhesive to use for laminated bent wood projects.<br><br>I used your PDF template to cut the form out of 3/4&quot; MDF sheets on my CNC router. The whole form is glued and nailed together with a pneumatic nail gun. I found that the bars that span across the form (see the 3rd photo) are essential to keep the form rigid and provide clamping pressure in the center where the clamps can't reach.<br><br>The final seat is rock solid and has the weight and feel of a skateboard deck. Thanks for your instructable!</p>
<p>Fantastic job! Super nice form. Glad it was helpful and thanks for sharing yours!</p>
In fact you don't need the steamer nor the seat press at all. I've build very similar seat (based on the same rib jig) using 4 sheets of 2mm plywood glued together with wood glue and put on the same craddle (before the glue dries) and held together only with clamps. Visit forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php/6620-Warrior-by-Ducati-D
This is a great instructable, thanks for sharing. The seat looks great. <br> <br>I made a steel version of the warrior and would like to make a few of these seats for future builds. The link you provided for the seat template seems to be dead? Would you perhaps have the file? <br> <br>Thanks.
Thanks! Try this link. I was able to get it to work. I will also try and add a PDF to the instructable just in case. <br> <br>http://ia700209.us.archive.org/9/items/RibSeat/Rib.PDF
What do you know? I was able to add the PDF and it was very easy. Hope this helps. Have a blast on your Warrior!

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