Tips for Bending Wood Using Microwave Oven

 

One method for quickly adding heat and moisture to small pieces of wood is to use a microwave oven. As long as the wood and a means of keeping the wood moist can fit into the oven, this is an extremely efficient method for softening wood. Through experimentation, I have found there are several things to take into consideration when steaming wood in a microwave oven.

 

A microwave oven works by focusing tightly shaped radio waves on the water molecules within whatever is placed inside the oven. The molecules become slightly agitated and as a result, they give off heat. A dried piece of wood will heat up quickly when placed into the oven because it still contains enough water molecules to create heat. When the wood is removed, it is very hot, but it dries out very quickly because the water molecules have broken down and so they easily evaporate. This process actually makes a microwave oven a good tool for drying small pieces of wood for turning and other small projects – but only if the moisture content is lowered slowly enough to prevent cracking.

To make the microwave useful for bending, you need to add some moisture to the equation, just as you do when steaming wood. There only needs to be enough water present to surround the wood. Any extra water will just slow down the process. Wood can be wrapped in a soaking wet rag or placed in a shallow microwave-safe bowl with just enough water to cover the wood. There is no set time for heating wood in a microwave, so a little trial and error will be needed. Usually 5 to 10 minutes will do the trick. Keep a close eye on the progress, because if all of the water evaporates …

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Originally, I made this for our running club potluck last Saturday.  Amidst the other amazing brunch dishes, I didn’t really know how I felt about it.  But it was super easy to throw together (a lot easier than I thought because I was kinda dreading baking), so I decided to add it to my weekly meal prep for breakfast/a morning snack.

Now that I’ve had it as a stand-alone dish, it’s a lot better than I thought!  Even when I omitted the sugar this time.  And while I’ve only had it cold, I can only imagine how much better it is when it’s hot.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Family Fresh Cooking
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups Coach’s Oats (or regular rolled oats)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened Applesauce
3 cups almond milk
13.5 oz can of unsweetened Light Coconut Milk
1 large fuji apple, diced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
Toppings: 1 fuji apple (thinly sliced), pomegranate flavored craisins and chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (oats, salt, baking powder and cinnamon) in a large bowl.
  3. Pour in applesauce and all milks. Add apples and sugar (if using).
  4. Let the mixture sit to absorb some liquid for 10-15 minutes. Set the toppings aside.
  5. Put the oatmeal mixture in the baking dish (I divided the mixture into two round casserole dishes).
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes. The oatmeal might appear not done when you take it out of the oven. Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature.
  7. Top with toppings of your choice.
  8. Put it in the refrigerator overnight for best results. It will thicken nicely in there.
  9. To serve, cut and re-heat as needed.