Turns out you can bend lumber into some pretty amazing shapes if you first soften it by exposure to steam. Just how long it needs to “soak” in the steam varies with the species and thickness of the wood in question, but the necessary equipment is dirt cheap. This great tutorial over at the Dewalt website explains how to build a wood steaming cabinet from a few bucks worth of materials. Author, engineer, and carpenter Tony Maund says:
This entire project took about 4 hours to make and cost less than $20. This should last a number of years or more.
A piece of inexpensive, easy, homebrew equipment that will last for years and let me do amazing new things with wood? Where do I sign?