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Steaming Frames (small boats)


The effect of steam on timber is widely used in traditional boat building; framing, planking, making mast hoops etc. All utilise the advantages that steam gives the shipwright / boatbuilder to achieve the required shape.

The skill demonstrated will focus on the use of steam in framing a small sailing dinghy (14’ clinker Fowey River sailing dinghy). Timber selection and grain orientation will be discussed, and the use of steam to make the frames / ribs pliable and the processes used through the boat to complete this task will be demonstrated. This sill is also known as timbering the boat.


The process is demonstrated in the accompanying video clips with a step-by-step guide. The conversation with the boat builder, in this case Marcus Lewis, is unscripted and covers the technique from his experience.

The video covers frames being fitted in different parts of the boat and demonstrating techniques required to cope with it.

Part 1

  • Introduction to framing, timber selection

  • Steam box / pipe

  • Timber selection

  • General discussion on framing

Part 2

  • Process of framing

Part 3

  • Framing continues…

Part 4

  • Framing continues…

Part 5

  • Framing continues…
Kies Taal...

Benodigd Gereedschap

  • Steam pipe / box
  • Steam generator (2 wall paper strippers)
  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • Saw
  • Gloves
  • A guide to position the frames / ribs
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Pencil
  • Band saw
  • Thicknesser
  • Router to round the edges
  • Useful to have 2 people

Benodigde Materialen

  • Green oak