Picture of CHOPSTICK Steamer and Bending Jig

With all these chopsticks laying around (My wife loves to eat Chinese a little too much) I'm always looking for ways too make use of these little shard's of wood. It occurred to me that  I could probably make some cool curves, however looking at my 6ft wood steamer outside really was a waste of a lot of electric and water just to steam a couple of small sticks of wood. I've steamed and bent a lot of wood pieces over the years and this will be my first try at chopsticks. I am thinking about another project that I can use these for.
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Step 1: Materials:

Picture of Materials:

2" PVC Pipe a little longer than the chopsticks, But planning ahead for smaller projects than my 6 ft steamer.
2" PVC Fittings (I used a screw on end cap and a 90 degree)
Various sizes of wood to make a stand
Multi-groove / fluted wood dowel pins
Old Pot for heating water
Tubing (I used a plastic tubing that is re-enforced)
Hot plate or stove
Chopsticks or wood dowels
Aluminum foil

Tools used:
Drill press (optional)
Various size drill bits
Hole saw (or jig saw will work in a pinch)
Crosscut saw (circular saw or hand saw will work too)
Wood lathe (Optional: used it just for looks)

Step 2: Lets get to steamin' The cut up

Picture of Lets get to steamin' The cut up
First: Put the the 2" screw cap on the pvc pipe
Second: Cut the legs of the stand, this is kind of important remember to make them long enough to put the steamer high enough over your hotplate and pot
Third: Trace out the hole on each leg and drill with hole saw then test fit the PVC pipe
Forth: Cut the base long enough and wide enough to support the steamer
Finally: Cut the top plate for the steamer pot, Make sure you cut it larger that the pot so that it overlaps the edges of the pot
Kootenayboy3 months ago

I love this, though when I first saw it I thought it was on a much larger scale lol. I just built a 1ft x 1ft x 4' wood steaming box so I was excited. Im thinking Ill take your idea and upscale it ;)

One thing I thought of here though was for all that work in fabricating the steamer would it not be easier possibly cheaper to head to walmart and buy a $20 rice/veggi steamer? lol if all your doing is chopsticks it would do that in a few minutes lol

Graffix10g3 years ago
do you think steaming with pvc is safe..?

yes safe to use PVC but steam will easily soften the pvc pipe I have now use a piece of spiral wrapped stell duct which is much better and does not distort.

LifeWarrior (author)  Graffix10g3 years ago
Yes when I built a 6 footer I had the same question but after googling it is a world wide professionals choice to use pvc pipe as a steam box, I first seen it on the yankee workshop
sweeet, thanks! time to go make some back scratchers.
LifeWarrior (author)  Graffix10g3 years ago
The 6 foot one works great and I wanted to see if a small one would work too for things like a back scratcher. Good luck on building and let me know if I can be of any help.
LifeWarrior (author)  Graffix10g3 years ago
Mindmapper13 months ago

wrap them in w wet towel and put them in a microwave works and it only takes few minutes....................................

augapfel1 year ago
Have you considered putting the chopsticks in a pressure cooker and softening up that way? I imagine it would soften them up in just a few minutes assuming of course that you can get a large enough pressure cooker to put a full length chopstick inside.
LifeWarrior (author)  augapfel1 year ago
Interesting thought? I never considered putting them in something like that, or just in boiling water for that matter. It might worth an i'ble to see if there is a design that could be created, or how they would even react to that method. Thanks for the idea!
nwhi1232 years ago
That a brilliant idea I'm going to make one thz
Ugifer2 years ago
Are you sure that your chopsticks are wood?
Quite often they are bamboo, which might explain the difference in steaming time.
Great instructable BTW - I may have to give it a go, if I can only think of something useful to do with a bunch of bent chopsticks!
LifeWarrior (author)  Ugifer2 years ago
Great observation, it didn't occur to me these chopsticks might be bamboo. It makes sense given the origin of the utensil. I picked these up from a couple of sources but the majority of them for the project were from Krogers, So i made the assumption they were made cheaper brand of wood. As for what I used them to make was for a desk stand for my Barnes and Nobles Nook, which was good for awhile but I moved on to another stand. But I had a couple of ideas like some kind of art deco wall hooks or other types of stands for something.
Robot Lover3 years ago
Instead of drilling so much, try using a layer or two of peg board.
LifeWarrior (author)  Robot Lover3 years ago
I had tried to use that as a shortcut once for a big project, no matter how soft I got the wood (even balsa) the pins just couldn't stand up to the pressure when the wood would start to dry. For something small didn't take long to drill for multiple forms, If I'm doing something bigger I just trace the form and drill just what I need to make it no more. Thanks for the reply
Great-sounding suggestion... and great reply.
LifeWarrior (author)  Broom3 years ago
Thanks, The pegboard idea I've had a lot of mixed results when trying to do that, but and it could work with a lot of layers, but after a few missed attempts I just started drilling the forms,
badpanda3 years ago
Great build!
LifeWarrior (author)  badpanda3 years ago
Thanks I looked at your Humane Animal Trap as well, First thought that came to mind was "Cool way to think out side the box" but I didn't want to post such a bad pun on your 'ible, LOL!