Carved Steambent Box
with Steve Brown


Bentwood Box by John Vanpronssen

Bentwood Box by John Vanpronssen

NW Coast Arts & Carving Series Level:  Level I


This class is taught by Steve Brown one of the most respected carvers and carving teachers in the NW.
In 2013 we're presenting this class as a one week class. In the prior version of the class the greatest interest was in creating and carving the designs on the faces of the box. If the wood dries well you should be able to paint the carved faces of the box.
One of the great treasures of Northwest Coast Native technology is the bent-corner box, which was made in a huge range of sizes and a number of typical styles. 

Class Description

Days 1 and 2
A bent-corner box employs a single plank of wood the same length as the ‘circumference’ of the box. Specially shaped kerfs are cut across the width, and the ends are rabbeted to become the fourth-corner joint. Steam the plank, and it will bend into a four-sided container. 
Fasten the fourth corner, fit on a bottom piece and make a lid: There you have a finished container. This is primarily a hand-tool process, but some aspects of the task may benefit from judicious power assistance.
In breaks between the construction of box and while the box glue are drying you will be introduced to the formline basis for the traditional designs for boxes and masks.   We encourage you to have an idea of the sort of design you'd like to see on the box before you come to class. Steve will work with you to finalize the proportions and detail elements of the design.
Days 3-5
Using the traditional crooked or bent knife to create the designs on the faces of the steambent box is one of the greater challenges of this class. The scale and scope of this project offer you plenty of chances to learn the successful use of the bent knife to create fine details and larger features.


At a minimum you will need to the following carving tools to participate in this class:

  • Traditional bent carving knives - small-radius knife and shallow curved knife
  • Classic straight carving knife

You can purchase these carving tools  from various vendors or you can to make the knives in the Bent Knife Making Class that immediately precedes this class.

Steve suggests these tools from the following vendors:

  • Kestrel Tools:  
    Crooked Knives - C-A and C-H
    Detailing straight knife
  • North Bay Forge:
    Crooked knives: Tip Bent Knife and Shallow Bent Knife
    Medium straight knife

If you do not have tools - we may have some loaner tools but please enquire before registration.

Carvers who already own tools are encouraged to bring their carving kit with them. The discussions and history of various tools are great fun.

More about this class


This is a class for beginning carvers but not novice woodworkers. You should have some experience with  saws, chisels, basic assembly skills, using drills and, preferably, have experience using a bandsaw.

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.

Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.

Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $750
Materials Charge: $75

2013 Classes:

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.

3/9/2013 - Two spaces available.

May 13-17, 2013

Carved Steambent Box


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Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades Copyright © 2007-2014. All rights reserved.

200 Battery Way | Fort Worden | Port Townsend, WA 98368 | (360) 344-4455 | email

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit. Any donations made to the School are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.