WHAT IS STEAM BENDING?
The elegant curves of Gaze Burvill 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.