To bend wood, you need steam. The typical way to do this is to build a steam box that fits your part-to-be-bent inside. But there are three drawbacks to this method: The box must be sized to fit your piece; when you remove your piece from the box and transport it to your mold, it begins to cool, losing elasticity; and when not in use, the box takes up precious shop space.
Louis Sauzedde, the wood expert and master shipwright we looked at earlier, uses a different wood-steaming method that solves all three of those issues. Sauzedde doesn't build a box at all: Instead he steams the pieces inside a plastic bag.
In a word, it's brilliant. He's steaming the pieces directly in place, and the tighter confines of the bag mean more steam is concentrated closer to the wood, rather than taking up all of the the dead space in a steam box. When he's done there's no box to store. And the plastic can be cut to length to accommodate the piece.
Here's a clip of Sauzedde steaming a different piece, this one right at a mold:
For you furniture designer/builders who have been looking for an economical way to steam, particularly in a small shop, this seems ideal. If you try it, write in and let us know how it works out!