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Wood steaming process in 5 steps

The steaming process for wood is a method used to modify or enhance certain properties of wood by subjecting it to steam under controlled conditions.
This process is commonly employed in the timber industry for various purposes, such as bending or shaping wood, improving its dimensional stability, or enhancing its color.

The steaming process in 5 steps

  1. Conditioning: The wood is sorted and prepared for the steaming process. It may be sorted based on species, size, or intended application. The wood may also be pre-soaked in water to ensure uniform moisture content.

  2. Steaming chamber: The wood is loaded into a sealed chamber or kiln specifically designed for steaming.
    The chamber could be equipped with steam generators or boilers that produce steam or is equipped with a water tank inside which is inserted a heat exchanger that can be fed to superheated water, steam, thermal oil or gas (INDIRECT STEAMERS).
    The steam is introduced (DIRECT) or produced (INDIRECT) into the chamber, creating a controlled and humid environment.

  3. Steaming parameters: The temperature, duration, and humidity levels are carefully controlled to achieve the desired results. The specific parameters vary depending on the type of wood, its thickness, and the intended purpose. Generally, temperatures range between 80 °C to 100 °C, and the duration can range from a few hours to several days.

  4. Steam penetration: The steam permeates the wood and raises its internal temperature. As the wood absorbs the moisture from the steam, it expands and becomes more pliable. This allows for easier bending or shaping of the wood, depending on the intended application.

  5. Cooling and drying: After the desired steaming period, the steam is gradually vented out of the chamber, and the wood is allowed to cool and dry. Care must be taken during this phase to prevent rapid drying, which can lead to warping or cracking of the wood.

Benefits of the steaming process The steaming process can impart several benefits to wood.
It can make the wood more flexible and easier to work with, allowing for complex shapes to be achieved through bending or forming.
Steaming can also lead to improved dimensional stability and resistance to warping.
Nevetheless, the main use is to give different colors and aesthetics to the wood, making it more visually appealing.

In our experience the best choice is to use indirect steamers that give more homogeneity to wood and lower consumption and diversify the heat source’s choice.

On one side, indirect vaporizers require an expensive concrete foundation, because of the need to create a tank.
On the other, they do not have the direct steam generator, which requires several precautions to be kept efficient, as water descaling and condensate water treatment.

It's important to note that the steaming process may have limitations depending on the wood species and desired outcome. It is always recommended to consult industry guidelines and experts when considering the steaming process for wood.

Feel free to ask for more information.