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hayzen 07-27-2009 10:41 PM

How to create a curved wooden base shoe?
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Hi all,

I'm hoping I'm posting in the correct forum.

I had some water damage done to my home and I'm currently rebuilding it right now.

My staircase has a curved base shoe on it as seen in the first photo I attached. The other curved base shoe is supposed to be on the underside of the staircase as seen in the second photo that I attached. I bought a matching maple base shoe to be nailed into the underside of the stairs, but base shoe is not flexible enough for the curved stairs.

Someone suggested buying a flexible matching base shoe but then it won't match my current maple base shoe when I stain it.

How do I get my maple base shoe to be flexible enough to bend? I heard you can try steaming it but I haven't found any documentation on how something like that can be done.

Thanks. :)

Termite 07-27-2009 11:41 PM

Thanks for posting good clear pics of what you're trying to do! Those are pretty subtle curves. You can probably install it normally.

If that doesn't work you can soak it in a long PVC pipe capped at one end and filled with water for a few hours to soften it up and it'll bend with no problem. That will obviously raise the grain and there may be very slight shrinkage as it dries out over the next few days. Give it time to thoroughly dry and then sand it in place before finishing.

Steam bending is an old practice that goes back to shipbuilding. You've got to have a heck of a contraption called a steam box to do it and you'd need a very long one. Soaking the trim will yield similar results.

ARI001 07-28-2009 08:05 AM

You can convert a hot water heater into a steam box. I don't think that is necessary for this installation though. You should be able to make some relief cuts on the back side of the shoe moulding that will allow it to curve more easily. It shouldn't take much as it appears to be a pretty gentle curve.

hayzen 07-28-2009 03:29 PM

Thanks, I'll give both these ways a try. :)

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