I’m knee deep in nappies and vomit at the moment with very little sleep happening but I’ve somehow managed to do a bit more on the garage! Hurrah!

Just a quick update this time. As I mentioned at the end of my last post I was planning to steam bend the wood for the main sign at the front of the garage – I did it this weekend!

The steam-bent wood will go at the front of the garage and will have the main sign on it.

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The wallpaper stripper and drainpipe set-up

The set-up involves a wallpaper stripping steam machine, a length of drainpipe and plenty of duct tape. I put the strip of wood to be bent into a length of drain pipe then used duct tape to cover both ends – leaving a very small hole at one end to allow the steam to escape and leaving a larger hole at the other end to fit the steam pipe into. A little trick I picked up from reading various guides is to raise the wood strip inside so it sits in the middle of the pipe (I just used small blocks of wood). This helps the steam to get all around the wood to be bent.

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The steamed wood clamped into the jig I made

As a rough guide I’ve read that you need to give it 1 hour in the steamer per inch thickness of wood. I work in metric so I converted this to 20 minutes per 10mm. My 1st strip was only 6mm thick so I gave 20 minutes just to make sure! When clamping it into the jig I put strips of thin plastic either side of the wood for protection. This was so there were no indentations made by the jig into the steam softened wood. I then left it to completely cool before removing.

Next I did the same for a slightly thick (but narrower) strip of 12mm wood which I gave 40 minutes in the steamer – again just to be sure! I‘ve used sash clamps and a jig to bend my wood but another way of doing it is using pegs fixed to a board - you bend the wood around the pegs which then hold it in place until it sets.

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Both pieces glued together and back in the jig

After both my pieces had set I’ve used wood glue to stick them together and finally put them both back into the jig for one last squeeze! The reason I’ve used 2 bits of wood is so that I can use the thicker one to fix to the main body of the garage, see the illustration below.

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A diagram of how they will fit onto the main body and also a close-up of glued pieces

I’m really happy with the finished part although one unexpected outcome is that it doesn’t hold the exact shape of the jig – it flexes back a bit and tries to straighten out. Thankfully it’s only a bit and once I’ve glued and screwed it to the main boy it will hold its shape perfectly.

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I also managed to cut the ramp and ramp supports so that just leaves one more part to make before I can start the painting! I’m getting very excited about painting as it’ll really start coming together once that’s under way.

One final thing – I bought and have tested out Mod Podge (matte) which I’ll be using to seal the paper parts of the garage. Thanks to Eli Gold’s Wig for the recommendation.