Steam-bending has always required a certain amount of jury-rigging to make the steam: adapting a propane burner, retrofitting a kettle or tweaking a wallpaper steamer. Now Earlex has made steam-bending a little easier by offering a steam generator that is simple to hook up to any steam box via a 1⁄2″-diameter hole.
In essence, the Earlex WS77 is a wallpaper steamer that is sold without a steam plate. Instead of a steam plate, you get a brass nipple that allows you to easily attach the steam generator to any steam box. First, drill a 1⁄2″ hole in your steam box. The nipple threads into the hole and is secured by a brass backing nut. You are in business.
The WS77 holds about 1.3 gallons of water, which will give you two hours of continuous steam – more than enough for short runs of parts. Once you plug in the steam generator (there is no switch), you’ll get steam flowing in about 30 minutes. I was completely happy with the amount of steam the Earlex pumped out. My steam box was at 212°F after only 10 minutes of steaming.
From the June 2015 issue