A little steaming in the woods

I used to do my steam bending on top of my brewing kettle whilst making beer.  That was a little too stressful, doing two things at once with a high time investment,  and potential for things going wrong, and involving gallons of boiling wort.  So I decided to do it properly, in the woods.  I’ve been building and rebuilding a little informal stove from fire bricks and thick mess wire grid for a while.  It’s main purpose has been to drive away the pesky midges that hang around otherwise and bite me.  I’ve been running it with a short chimney which causes a good draught, but to steam I needed a ‘kettle’ on the fire.  I rebuilt it into an approximation of a rocket stove.  Basically this is a heavy firebox to retain heat with a hole where the sticks are fed in and air is taken in immediately below the grid that supports the sticks.  I used an old malt extract bucket a quarter full of water ans then set my steaming cabinet on top.  Not as precarious as it sounds.  Although it took a while to generate sufficient steam, once up to temperature there was no shortage.  The aim was to make a handle for a trugg repair a customer has asked for.  I’d split and shaved down a length of hazel previously and fixed up a temporary jig to hold the handle in shape once bent.  It seemed to go OK:

You can see the trugg with the old worm-eaten handle here:

Sorry, no after picture, but it looks OK.

Call off the search for stock knives, I’ve bought a set from France that are winging their way over the Channel as I write.  They look to be an English pattern set, so it will be interesting to see if there is a maker’s name on them – a lot were made in High Burton, near Huddersfield not far from here. This is the true stock knife as seen on eBay.fr:

The bend on the handle looks pretty shallow, which is a plus for the bowl-carving I’ll be using it for.

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