Design, Oak, Furniture

How Outdoor Furniture is Made: Steam Bending

WHAT IS STEAM BENDING?

The elegant curves of Gaze Burvill luxury outdoor furniture that serve to be both aesthetically pleasing and provide superior comfort have become a recognisable signature style. These curves are created using the age old process of steam bending, a classic technique used for centuries to bend hard woods such as oak and ash into curves great and small, commonly used for making violins or perhaps a traditional wooden boat.

The wood is heated in a steam box to a temperature of around 100°c, this melts away the cellulose structure and makes the wood pliable for a very short time – around 30 seconds.  The craftsmen have to work quickly to bend the steamed wood around a pre-made jig, using a metal strap on the outside to help prevent any splitting. Once the wood is bent into shape it is clamped to the jig and put in a kiln to slowly air dry for a few days until the moisture content reduces back down to around 12%. Once the wood is dry, the curve becomes permanent and is strong and durable.

Watch this short video below to hear founder Simon Burvill talk about the steam bending process.


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