Just keep reminding me how awesome it is to have a turret.
I KNOW it is. It’s probably the same feeling that people with children experience. You love them, and you are willing to do anything for them, but every once in a while, you have no idea what to do with them and you’d really like to yell at them (and you do). This isn’t the first time I’ve compared restoration to parenthood. And probably not the last.
I love my turret. I DO. But I am DONE with it.
Sadly, by “Done with it,” I mean emotionally. Physically? Not even close.
Be prepared for zillions of pictures. Doug did science, and with that, comes a lot of documentation. I’m going to try and translate it the best I can!
Science in Renovation
“The Steambox Turret Saga of ’16!”
First, it’s not technically a box, which troubles me. It’s more like a Steamtube. So, what’s a steambox? It’s a device to allow you to steam wood, to make it more pliable, to allow it to curve, which is what we needed to do to recreate the woodwork in the turret. It’s not easy.
You take a large piece of PVC piping, and use a cap for the end.
You drill into the cap, and attach the hose from a wallpaper steamer.
You connect it all together with a cap on the other end, which you drill a hole in to vent. VERY IMPORTANT, so it doesn’t explode from the pressure.
We set it up in the basement, and tried a test piece.
Here’s the Steambox put together. First, you need a dark, damp cellar of a basement, that’s cluttered and messy and has horrible lighting for any type of picture. Next, we used a plastic generic work table to set the steambox on, and also the wallpaper steamer (sitting behind it). Underneath the vent hole, you need a bucket or something to catch water. The lime-green bucket definitely adds a bit of brightness and whimsy to such a depressing environment. 🙂
The test piece went in – fingers crossed! Once it’s in, we left it for about 90 minutes.
The test piece came out soaked, from the water pooling on the bottom. So, Doug used some wire to build a platform / strainer to set the wood on.
Meanwhile, while steaming, he built some curves, to use as the forms. These are in the same diameter (or with a little more angle) of the turret. We’ll clamp the steamed wood to these forms to make the correct (correct enough?) radius.
Second try? Not so good, either.
Third try seemed to have some movement, so we went to clamping. Again, this is still a test piece.
Once the test piece came out, it was straight to the forms to bend and clamp!
We let it sit for 24 hours before pulling it off. And, it was definitely curved! But not enough. It sprung back a bit from the form. Blargh.
Next up? Part two, where Doug takes what he learns, and applies it to the actual reproduction moulding. Which is as terrifying as it sounds! But, it does get better. But still – this is a really, really tedious process. And I’m not the best at tedious… I’m going to be exceeding glad when this is over.