Episode 10 – Building the TotalBoat Sport Dory

Louis is switching things up this week and stepping away from the Dory mold to start steam bending the wood for the stem. It’s going to be made out of a nice piece of seasoned white oak that he is going to compression steam bend.  He’s using standard 6mil poly and will pull the piece of lumber and metal brace into the bag for steaming.  With a couple burners and some water, Lou shows us how to feed steam into the bag with rubber tubing to heat up the stem and melt the Lignin in the wood, that’s the glue that holds the wood together.  Once the piece softens up he can crank on the come-along and pull the stem into the proper parabolic shape.

Lou uses an unusual method for steaming and for bending the wood into the desired shape for the stem. There’s always something to learn from Lou and Episode 10 does not disappoint!
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9 responses to “Episode 10 – Building the TotalBoat Sport Dory

  1. Real nice work. I was in the marine business over twenty years and loved it. I am retired and now in my eighty’s Don’t have the zest i once had but still love boats. I may come to see you one day. Best wishes. Larry

  2. a true Master Shipright sharing his knowledge! It just doesn’t get any better! Thank you Lou, and thank you Jamestown/Total Boat!

  3. Lou Thanks for the tips as long as you learn something new every day you age less.My carpenters were involved in new ribs for a 1937 German sailing Shrimper North sea. The bow had a radical curve,the ribs were very curved I advised them to steam the wood.They had never done this& would not do it. Using Mahogany they broke several frames ,plus planks.I designed a steam box using PVC tube. Still did not use it. Their solution was to dig a trench & weigh down the wood in boiling water. It sort of worked,still broke wood. luckily they were only paying $1.50 bF

  4. Interesting episode, Lou. Some questions for you:
    1. Why did you use the bubble approach to measure water levels in the steamer reservoirs? Why not use a simple dipstick to find the watermark?
    2. Instead of bending the wood, cut a piece of the proper shape be cut directly from a board?

  5. Lou,,thanks!,,Love the videos! I have a few questions on the steam bending of the stem today.
    1. Can you diagram the wood rays in orientation to the piece?
    2. What was the thickness and the total steaming time?
    3. Was the wood green or dried before steaming?
    4. Would it have helped to soak the wood in water for while before steaming? If so, what would have been the appropriate time?
    5. Not very clear from the video, but, did you in fact use a steam generator at each end? Was there much draining from the bag?

  6. Can the steel backing plate that the come-a-long attaches to be reused, or does the bending put a set into the plate, so that it cannot be straightened and a new one has to be built for each steaming operation? If a new plate would be needed each time could ¼ inch end plates be made and a piece of thin sheet steel, that would be flexible, then be welded to the end plates. This would allow the backing plate to be reused at a future date.
    Reason I am asking this is that Lew is making the wood mold so that more than just this one dory could be built from the mold.

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