Right so where do you start when ya want to build a Naomhóg?
Bhuel, we have a place to build it and I have all the tools that we need to get crackin so we are making a two-pronged attack on getting started.
We decided to start on both the wood and the steamer.
I don't have much to say about the wood other than I don't have it yet, the search continues tomorrow.
The steamer I picked up day before yesterday and cost me 70 bucks secondhand. It's a wallpaper steamer which puts out quite a bit of steam. Dave picked up a battered 250mm/10inch pipe complete with cap to use as the steambox which was a lot handier than me building a ply one which is what normally what happens.
There is plenty of info out there on steambox so I won't talk about the myriad of options and will just pretty much stick to what we built and why. This is set at a slope to let the condensed water run off, probably best if the slope faces away from ya so that when the cap is taken off you don't get hot water pouring out and scalding large tracts of ye're lovely faces off.
There are 33 ribs (ish) to be bent so a large steamer will be useful, plastic remains unaffected by the water although as it turns out the heat did soften it a bit and it now has a dent in it where it was resting on the sawhorse. I will have to make that support a bit wider than the inch and half it is now.
We're aiming for a temp of around 212F/100C or boiling point as tis know in fancy retaurants! We tested it out last night and it got to just under 100C before we got impatient and took the cap off to put our wood in. Dave has a better idea how long it took to get to temp he might fill in the blanks tomorrow. We also put some foam and a blanket on top to insulate it a bit.
Tage Frid book I have which has a section on steam bending, it looks like we just need to leave them in for longer. He recommends 1 hour per 1/4 inch so we will do a test along those lines at the weekend hopefully to see what happens.
The tightest bend on any rib is the one at prow (front) and that was what we aimed for. We bent it back so the two ends were only 12 inches apart and it only started running (translates as breaking) very near the end of bending. We had only left these in the steamer for about 10 mins.
We also did a test on some 3X1 ash, this is the dimension we will be using for the gunnels (gunwales or bit of the boat at the top that the oars sit on). It was pretty promising, we only had it in the steamer for 40 mins and we bent it about 1 inch. We only have to bend it about 2 inches but more on that later.
And that's about it for now ... more tests to come and hopefully will have some wood by the weekend. More on wood selection in tomorrow's post...