Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
What steaming does to Beech (scientific)

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
The recent discussion on steaming/boiling beech for planes perked my curiosity to find information on the topic. What fundamentally happens when the wood is steamed? These conclusions would apply to any steamed hardwood. I would conclude that steaming is good for beech plane blanks.

Below are quotes from the abstract of what seemed to be a reliable scientific study on the effects of steaming. The first paragraph summarizes why steaming is done. The second provides more detailed information on the chemistry involved.

"Subjecting beech to steaming is commonly practiced to reduce growth stress, improve dimensional stability, decrease drying time, achieve desirable color, and soften the wood. The objective of the study reported here was to determine the effect of steaming at low temperature (80[degrees]C) for varying durations on the physical, mechanical, and chemical characteristics of beech. [ what is reported are typical steaming conditions for walnut and I presume beech although I have no personal experience commercial with beech steaming]

"Following 100 hours of steaming, compression strength and modulus of elasticity decreased 13.2 and 16.5 percent, respectively. Steaming had a slight effect on radial and tangential shrinkage, and reduced density about 2 percent. Hemicelluloses in steamed wood decreased only 7 to 9 percent, but wood solubility was greatly decreased[because the stuff that was water soluble left in the steam and was no longer available to extract]. Acetyl content also decreased with steaming as hemicelluloses decreased. The lignin content of steamed wood was slightly higher than that of untreated wood[Lignin can't be made by steaming. The absolute amount remained the same, but what was left decreased thereby increasing the lignin concentration.] "

Messages In This Thread

What steaming does to Beech (scientific)
Re: What steaming does to Beech (scientific)
Steaming times and other trivia
Re: Steaming times and second rate products.
those second rate products...
Well said and accurate on all counts....
Re: Well said and accurate on all counts....
Re: Well said and accurate on all counts....
Re: Well said and accurate on all counts....
Re: Well said and accurate on all counts....
It's all made uniform in the finishing room
Re: It's all made uniform in the finishing room
Re: What steaming does to Beech (scientific)
adding some details
Re: the walnut steaming
Re: the walnut steaming
Re: the walnut steaming
Re: the walnut steaming
Re: the walnut steaming
Re: the walnut steaming
steaming and air drying *PIC*
Re: steaming and air drying
Re: steaming and air drying
Rays
Re: Rays
Re: steaming and air drying
Re: steaming and air drying
Air drying
Re: As an Aside - Warren
Re: As an Aside - Warren *LINK*
Re: As an Aside - Warren
Re: Air drying
Amen to that advice
Re: Amen to that advice
Re: the walnut steaming
What Curtis actually said
Re: What Curtis actually said
Re: What Curtis actually said
Re: What Curtis actually said *LINK*
Re: What Curtis actually said
Re: What Curtis actually said
Re: What Curtis actually said
turning details
Re: turning details
Baloney *PIC*
Re: Baloney
Re: Baloney
Re: Baloney
It looks exactly like black walnut....
I see countless..
Try it yourself
Re: Try it yourself - in ther real world
Re: Try it yourself - in ther real world
Re: Try it yourself - in ther real world
Re: Try it yourself - in ther real world
Re: Try it yourself - in ther real world
Re: Try it yourself - in ther real world
Re: Try it yourself - in ther real world
Re: Try it yourself
Re: Try it yourself
Re: Baloney
Re: adding some details
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