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Steam bending

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Anyone have experience steam bending Mahogany? I'm getting ready to install the rub rails on my Spindrift 12. They are 1 1/4 " tall and 7/16th thick, I think they may go on without steaming, but I don't want to remake them if they crack !  So I thought I would steam them. It seems every rub rail I've ever installed try's to cup out on the bottom as it goes towards the stem. Its actually the shape of the hull making the strip bend in two different directions that makes it appear to cup out.

My steam box will handle the first six feet of the rail that takes all the real bending. I've done white oak before in it and you can just about tie it in a knot when it comes out of the box, but I've never steamed mahogany before.




















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Best luck Scott, I think luck has a lot to do when steam bending!  I have been fighting steam bending pecan for several days, with a pile of cracked pecan splinters!  I have had excellent results with white oak, I may give up the pecan trim idea and use white oak!  Mahogany will steam bend, I had done some in a previous project with good results, I fact I soaked some for 30 minutes/inch and used a heat gun to bend some mahogany, that seemed to work ok on larger radius bends.  

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Oaks, especially White Oak, and especially if still green can be steamed and tied into knots. The term Mahogany can mean almost anything that is red these days. But most of them, and real Mahoganies, especially after being dried, (kd or air) do not bend a lot better steamed than dry. I am not saying don't steam, I am saying don't expect miracles.


I found  installing rub rails, out wales, etc. works best by securing the bow first using screws, and maybe clamps too during the dry fit.  This is where the greatest curve is and that end is most likely to break lose. Then slowly bend around the shear and clamp as you go.  I dry fit the entire thing and use screws at least at both ends. When satisfied that it fits properly in place I remove it and do it again but using epoxy as well. Screws and epoxy don't really work in conjunction with each other.  But screws are the only thing I trust to keep the ends from pealing away, and epoxy secures the whole thing. If your pieces break it will likely be because of grain run out.  Steaming won't do a lot in this case.

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