The secret to a successful lamination is properly sized and thickness sanded strips, lots of clamps, slower curing glue, not nessessarily epoxy, and a second pair of willing hands.
Our stem strips outperform the standard stem strips giving perfect results every time. They are easier to work with as well as being effortless to bend without the use of a steam box. Laminating is all about eliminating the use of steam due to the advent of higher quality glues which previous generations of boat builders did not have access to. Almost all stem strips can be bent without the use of any steam box except those from Green Valley Boat Works. They differ in the fact that they have a very severe upturn which is almost an 80 degree bend over a very few short inches and a little help from boiling water, not necessarily steam goes a long way. Had these designs been designed for cedar strip construction rather than fiberglass construction, in all likely hood the bow and stems would probably have evolved with a somewhat less severe stem.
What makes our stem strips different is the fact that they consist of 4 pcs thickness sanded to 3/16″ rather than the standard planed 3-pcs. of 1/4″ and for a very good reason.
Instead of wrestling with 1/4″ stem strips you can use our 4 pcs of 3/16″ thickness SANDED strips which results in the same thickness of 3/4″ . Thickness planed stem strips can produce microscopic fractures which are more likely to break upon bending, especially if the planer blades are dull or if the wood has been feed into the planer against the grain or using a lower grade wood. This forces you to go to the work of making a steam box. However our thickness sanded 3/16″ stem strips have no micro fractures due to the nature of thickness sanding and this combination with the 1/16″ removed allow the stem strips to be bent in almost all cases by simply holding them under a hot water tap for a minute or two at most, if at all, even with kiln dried wood. Going to the elaborate work of putting a steam box together is merely an academic exercise at this point, but we will show you just how easy it is to bend Green Valley stem strips in minutes with a simple old pot and a simple Coleman stove or some sort or equivalent. If your work space is close to your kitchen you can even use your stove. This info is provided with the purchase of stem strips via online instructions.
We always provide a baker’s dozens in our stem kits, even though you only need 4 pcs of thickness sanded 3/16″ inner Yellow Cedar stem strips and 4 pcs of thickness sanded 3/16″ outer hardwood strips. We provide 5 of each for either end “just in case” which equals 20 pieces. Only TotemStrips goes the extra distance because we want your stems to be a resounding success. Simply put, the thinner the lamination’s, the easier the bend with less spring back and less chance of compression fractures. In all our years of laminating we have never used a steam box and have never had breakage. Work with the best for less.