I knocked together a steam box out of some 15mm thick exterior plywood and connected it to a steam supply for bending the various curved parts of this double bow chair. I made several formers for the assorted bows from the same plywood by gluing two thicknesses together.
The first part to be bent was the crinoline stretcher for the chair’s undercarriage. The only ash I have at present has been ‘air-drying’ (truth be told, it has been sitting out in rain and shine at the end of the house) for the past four or five years. I had some reservations about the suitability of this old weathered timber, but I need not have worried; when steamed it bent like a sally rod.
When the bow had cooled, I removed it from the former and tied it securely to retain its shape until fully dried.