DIY Bow Project XIV – Steam Oven for Bow Bending & Odd Finnish Dishes – Mämmi & Talkkuna

Spring is coming to countryside! I have seen a lot of new visitors flying over our home fields, like some swans, wood pigeons, cranes, woodcocks, great spotted woodpeckers, and even the black raven once came out of the dark forest to visit us. At the same time, I have eaten odd traditional Finnish stuff, mämmi and talkkuna, and made a new steam oven for steam bending my bows. Recently, I found an old, big ventilation pipe. I wrapped the pipe into a big mat for insulating it thermally from the environment, and I improvised plugs for the both ends. Finally, I filled the chamber by hot steam produced by a second hand steam cleaner I got with a ridiculously low price. By probing the temperature, after a moment, the temperature settled to constant 99 degrees of Celsius everywhere I measured. Thus, the thermal treatment should be even, at least after three hours of steaming, which was  hopefully not too much! For penetrating the heat better into the wood, and for preliminary softening the microstructures of the bow, I soaked the bow in water for overnight before the steaming. Or better said, I kept the bow wrapped into a wet towel. After the steaming, I quickly clamped the bow against to a long flat board. Now the bow is waiting for me to open the clamps and see the results. The bow was quite thick, but if I would have removed more wood from the limbs, I’m afraid that the handle would have been relatively too rigid and over stress the limbs during the bending. So, I decided to give the bow a good steam treatment, and afterwards I will sand the bow for removing the possibly damaged back fibers. So, here are some recent photos from the springy countryside, enjoy!


Here is my steam oven for steam bending my bows!


By measuring the temperature even from the low-back of the oven, the temperature was over 99 degrees of Celsius. I used two small logs inside the chamber for elevating the bow from the condensed water, so that every bit of the bow were in the same temperature. During the three hours steaming, I needed to add pre-heated water into my steam cleaner, so that it didn’t cool too much and the heating was continuous.


After the steaming, I quickly clamped the bow against to a flat board, and now the whole setup is stabilizing in my workshop. Let’s hope the best! Oh, the bow is behind the board 😀


A black field kitten, is bullied by the horses :((


My girlfriend designed herself these planting supports, and together we build them. Now she needs some soil and seeds 🙂


Yum, these gutters need some cleaning!


Almost done! Hmm, this stuff looks like…


Mämmi! After a hard work, it is time eat some sweet mämmi, an old Finnish odd dish, mixed with milk. Mämmi is made by keeping the ingredients, rye mostly, in an optimal temperature, so that the rye’s starch becomes broken down into smaller, sweet tasting sugars by the enzymes of the rye. That’s what I call biotechnology baby! Mämmi might look suspicious, but it has excellent northern, sweet but dark taste!

talkkuna with viili

Here I have talkkuna mixed with viili and table sugar. Talkkuna consists of grind and baked rye, barley, oat, and pea. A handy, dry preserved mixture of nutrients used a lot in old times. Viili is kind of Nordic sour milk, which combines excellently with talkkuna! Like mämmi, talkkuna has also a lot of fibers. I hope someday you will find yourself talkkuna and viili, and you can taste the rough but elegant taste of North. Oh, notice the ceramic hare hunter and the cross-bow and trident decorated glass bottle I wanted to ram in this photo ^^

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