To Those Using A Pressure Cooker As A Steam Generator

I've got my hose (HD brake line, got my needle (veterinarian, for horses etc.), clamps, and got my pressure cooker. Are the people using this setup just clamping the hose directly to the main release valve and cranking the heat? Bringing it to a boil & dropping to a simmer?

I hooked everything up, heated it up, and wasn't getting anything from the needle. I cooled it down, depressurized, and tried blowing through the needle to check for any obstruction. It takes what seems like quite a bit of force—more than the little weighted safety cap would allow (I assume). But maybe that's required to force steam out of the rig and through the needle? I'm just a little anxious about building pressure beyond what the gasket can handle... Was thinking of installing a second release valve and using one for the hose/needle, and one for the regulator, but thinking a little harder about it, the steam would release through the path of least resistance first. Maybe an adjustable valve w/ gauge so I can have some idea of the pressure I've built up and regulate the flow?

Ideas? Tips? Thanks.

Views: 4804

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hey Walter,

I am going to switch over to this too. I have done quite a few neck resets with steam (cappuccino machine) and the stew mac needle. Its messy and in one case, (an 1957 Gretsch Duo Jet) I had some issues with water/wood damage as it turns out it was glued with a poly resin glue and not hide like it should have been.

Anyways, this is on my list of items to purchase….

Joe (aka Jack Daniels)

Looking at it, it looks like you have to drill a much larger hole than you would normally for a steam needle?

My steam needle measures. 078", you would drill a 3/32" hole. The heating rod measure .125" (1/8). Mark Kane states above he has substituted a .128" bit instead of the .144" bit that comes with the tool.

Serious food for thought there. Im not too crazy about the big scorch mark in the vid though.

Interesting and worthy of some experimentation but I don't see this working on instruments built with hide glue by itself. I have heated dry hide glue granules with a hot plate, on an aluminum bar, while monitoring temperature with a bi-metallic spring thermometer to see what would happen. It did not change state up to 400 degrees, at which point it just started smoking. Wood starts smoking at that temperature too. I would also wonder how effective dry heat would be on guitar with wide neck heels that have  PVA or Aliphatic resin glue in the dovetail joint and also between the neck heel and the ribs. There may be some merit though to using both the dry heat and steam in sequence, first heating things up plenty good with the dry heat and then let it have it with the steam rig.

The soldering iron heater is a novel way to go about applying dry heat. I have not tried it out but did come across a similar approach before when looking into methods to remove dowel sticks from banjo necks. I found a thread somewhere I now forget, that used a small cartridge heater inserted into a drilled hole in the end of the heel (heel cap removed). Some water still had to be used though to soften the hide glue. Just Google cartridge heater, there are hundreds of choices and more information.

I imagine in any case this would work better with a little moisture added, since moisture conducts heat more efficiently. If you've ever picked up a hot kettle with a wet cloth youll know what I mean. Plus the benefit of scorch reduction.

After reading the reviews here, I bought the heat stick for the express purpose of removing the neck on a guitar with a mortise and tenon joint as opposed to the traditional dovetail joint.  I come across old Weymans and other parlor guitars from the ca 1900 era with this joint and there is no 'pocket' in which to drill and insert a steam needle.  In the past I've removed the fingerboard extension and worked small spatulas and a bit of hot water into the joint to soften the glue to remove the neck.

So my hunch was the heat stick would free the joint with only a few holes at the 13th fret, leaving the extension intact, and my hunch was correct.  I tried it out on a ca 1900 Bruno with the m/t joint.  Took a long time, two sessions, one for each side of the joint (drilled two holes), and I'd guess 30 min of heat each side at 400c.  Used the neck remove jig to apply a bit of upward pressure, and had the neck of the guitar in the vise and gently wiggled as things heated up.  

One key point is when things are loosening up pretty well, take a pipette with hot water and squirt the water into the seam around the perimeter of the heel to soften the glue at the bottom of the joint.  Since this guitar features such a delicately carved and thin heel, I only drilled the heater hole about 4 to 5 inches into the joint (didn't want the drill bit to exit the heel where it narrowed).  So the hot water near the end of the process will soften that glue in this lower area of the joint, and then a little pressure applied by the neck removal jig will pop it out.

One last thought, I'm used to steaming joints, and things get loud with steam, and the joint just gets gooey as it loosens.  But with the neck heater, as the joint heated, all was very quiet, but every now and then I'd hear a 'clunk' like something broke.  I think it was just the hide glue separating from the joint.  Kind of weird, like being on a frozen lake and hearing the ice make strange noises.

So the hide glue does not appear to melt or soften from the heat stick, but surely looses its hold.

My only suggestion to improve this method would be to make a smaller heating element so the hole(s) in the fingerboard don't have to be so big.


used my new heatsick on an old harmony, and yeah, i think i've done my first and last steam hose neck reset!

the stick was so much faster, safer and easier. i ran a couple pipettes worth of water into the joint as i was cooking it, and while i didn't see any escaping steam, once the neck came off (cleanly and easily with no finish blushing or anything) the hide glue residue in there was soft and a little sticky, suggesting that once the heat was reached the little bit of added water was enough to do the job. 

with my iron set to maybe 700° i didn't even leave any scorch marks in the wood!

Seems that people like it. Are you using the StewMac heat stick?

is there any other kind yet?

i don't doubt the clones will appear (it's a pretty simple hunk of copper as far as i can tell) but i'm pretty sure the stewmac one is the only one out there now.

Only ask as it seems like a pretty simple thing to put together on your own. I mean, it's just a copper rod, right?

Same her. Been using it for years without issues.


© 2024   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service