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Thread: Wood Stabilizing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Default Wood Stabilizing?

    Well today I took my first stab at stabilizing my own wood. I got the stuff to do it about 3 years ago as a Christmas gift. I read up and watched video's and thought what a time consuming and scary process.
    Finally today I decided enough is enough even though I was semi skeered I thought, what the heck. Most I can do is screw up the pump and fail.

    I using stuff called Cactus Juice which is a heat activated resin. I've done the soak and the vacuum chamber today and it's in the toaster oven now for 4 hours or so and we'll see what we got. I could tell the very dry wood soaked up a lot of the resin both in volume and the weight of the wood. Optimistic.

    I did goof and release the vacuum a bit to quickly which resulted in sucking resin back into the pump but I noticed it right off and shut it down, drained the oil, flushed and refilled so hopefully no long lasting damage to the expensive pump.

    I'll get a report out tomorrow when the process is over. Fingers crossed.
    http://bawanna45.wix.com/bawannas-grip-emporium#!
    In Memory of Paul "Dietrich" Stines.
    Dad: Say something nice to your cousin Shirley
    Dietrich: For a fat girl you sure don't sweat much.
    Cue sound of Head slap.

    RIP Muggsy & TMan

    "If you are a warrior legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that JOCKO will not come today."

  2. #2
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    Oct 2009
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    Have you tried those little blue pills you can get off the internet?....They work pretty good and do the same thing but with a lot less hassle and mess, although some Cactus Juice might be interesting...
    These days I seem to think a lot about the things I forgot to do...... Jackson Browne

    Whooped em again didn't we Josey

  3. #3
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    Oh you wicked wicked boy. I just use a couple popsicle sticks and some duct tape for that.
    http://bawanna45.wix.com/bawannas-grip-emporium#!
    In Memory of Paul "Dietrich" Stines.
    Dad: Say something nice to your cousin Shirley
    Dietrich: For a fat girl you sure don't sweat much.
    Cue sound of Head slap.

    RIP Muggsy & TMan

    "If you are a warrior legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that JOCKO will not come today."

  4. #4
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    Default

    This thread could go downhill very quickly. Interesting in how the wood turns out and good luck removing the duct tape. I found it to be very painful.
    "Never pet a burning dog"

  5. #5
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    Well ever since Jocko went and lit out leaving us I figured somebody has to pick up the slack....Anyway good luck with your wood project boss, hope it turns out like you want it to.....
    These days I seem to think a lot about the things I forgot to do...... Jackson Browne

    Whooped em again didn't we Josey

  6. #6
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    Default

    How's the project progressing Colonel?animated-busy-smiley-image-0034.gif
    [<a href=http://i43.tinypic.com/2n7fnux.gif target=_blank>http://i43.tinypic.com/2n7fnux.gif</a>

  7. #7
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    I kind of got side tracked on the follow up, my youngest son the Marine got an apartment and was moving out, still a work in progress but he's close.
    The project I consider a success especially for a first time and quite a learning experience. The final product I think accomplished it's purpose in taking not usable soft wood and making it usable.
    It is quite a time consuming and involved task but like most things will become easier although still time consuming.

    Here's a shot of the needed stuff to do it.

    Up top the vacuum pot. I can do pieces flat up to about 6". Then the pump oil and the jug of Cactus Juice.
    Below that is the toaster oven and the pump.

    The wife convinced me to just throw caution to the wind and try a dye. I kind of wish I'd just went clear but the dye definitely added to the learning experience.

    To kind of abbreviate, here's the process.
    Need to have absolutely dry wood. Zero moisture. This wood was bone dry but it was still suggested to bake it for 3 or 4 hours. I don't have a moisture gauge so I baked it to be safe. Then into a plastic wrap (I used a zip lock bag) to make sure no moisture gets back into the wood if your not going right into the vacuum pot.
    Then put the pieces in the bottom of the vacuum pot and weight them down so they don't float.
    Add the Cactus Juice to fully cover the wood plus about an inch.
    One fella ( I watched a lot of video's) recommended just letting it soak for an hour. This worked well as I used the hour to help with the son's moving.
    Then we get to the scary part for me which was applying the vacuum. The pump is quite expensive, the oil level and cleanliness are critical. This one confused me as it had 3 ports coming out of a manifold. Turns out they are different sizes for different connections so not scary at all really once my simple mind figured that part out.
    Once I figured out how to get a vacuum going, had to apply a bit of pressure on the lid to get a proper seal, it starts to bubble. Have to watch and if the bubbling gets near the lid you have to ease off on the vacuum and let the bubbles subside which they do quickly. Then after a few minutes the bubbles aren't as heavy but continue.
    I realized that once I achieved the vacuum I could shut the pump off and it maintained and the bubbles continued.
    One learning step here was to release the vacuum very slowly, I did it too quick and it sucked the resin back up into the pump. I was afraid of that. Anyhow I shut it down, drained the oil, made a trip to town to get more pump oil and flushed and refilled.
    Restarted the process which was actually fine as again the fella recommended doing the whole process twice. Getting the initial vacuum and watching the bubbles. On the second round I got very few bubbles.

    Then it's a waiting game for about 4 hours just soaking. Even suggested it was ok to leave over night which I'll probably do next time.

    Guess this isn't very abbreviated after all and we're not there yet.

    After the 4 hours another learning experience. The stuff is still very liquid at this point. You remove the wood from the resin and wrap it in tin foil (individual pieces). I just did like I saw and wiped off the excess with my finger and wrapped in the foil. I will go to much more effort in wiping off all excess next time. It just stays on the outside and after 4 hours in the toaster oven if plenty hard. Even wrapped in foil it leaked out all over the oven which of course was smoking something fierce. Ended up double wrapping after we wiped all the stuff out of the oven.
    The oven temp is apparently quite critical and needs to be at 200 degrees. I got a oven temp gauge as suggested. If too hot it sets the outside to quickly and the inside won't set up and the piece will be ruined. Not hot enough is better and just cook it longer. Guess you can't over cook.
    My toaster oven that came with the gift of all this stuff has a timer that only goes to 30 minutes. I'd like to eliminate that so I don't have to watch the clock so much, if I'm late the oven turns off, the temp of course drops and I have to get it back right at the 200 degree mark. Another learning experience.

    I neglected to take pictures of how they come out of the foil except one test piece I added here.



    The other pieces were quite built up with the very blue resin. Took quite a bit of time at the belt sander to get down to the wood.

    This was the result.

    The bottom long pieces are the same wood before anything was done to it.

    Untreated wood. Very light, pretty soft. It would crack, shrink and warp with weather changes for sure.


    I cut the end off the test piece and it appears the resin did go all the way through. I'll know more for sure when I do some shaping for a grip or knife handle.

    I plan to cut up some pieces for pen blanks to see how that works out too.

    The Cactus juice has a shelf life of 6 months once the hardener is added to the gallon jug. After stabilizing, the juice that is left in the tank can be reused as often as you like. Another reason to wipe off all of the excess and get it back in the jug.

    Have to have a container in this case for the blue dyed stuff unless I intend to do everything blue which I don't. Next attempt I think I will do with no dye or very little. Came with 5 or 6 different dyes which can be mixed and matched.

    So that concludes my first stabilizing saga. I got lots of wood that needs it and I'm not quite as afraid to do it after this maiden voyage.

    I'll keep ya posted.
    http://bawanna45.wix.com/bawannas-grip-emporium#!
    In Memory of Paul "Dietrich" Stines.
    Dad: Say something nice to your cousin Shirley
    Dietrich: For a fat girl you sure don't sweat much.
    Cue sound of Head slap.

    RIP Muggsy & TMan

    "If you are a warrior legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that JOCKO will not come today."

  8. #8
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    Default

    The bigger pieces looked like spalted maple. is that right or is it something else.

  9. #9
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    I believe it is spalted maple. Pretty stuff. I have another pile of little pieces I just cut to run in the next batch, some mesquite, Zebra, mixed stuff. Some for pen blanks, mostly grip stuff.
    http://bawanna45.wix.com/bawannas-grip-emporium#!
    In Memory of Paul "Dietrich" Stines.
    Dad: Say something nice to your cousin Shirley
    Dietrich: For a fat girl you sure don't sweat much.
    Cue sound of Head slap.

    RIP Muggsy & TMan

    "If you are a warrior legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that JOCKO will not come today."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Wet & Wild Pacific NW
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    Default

    I was just looking at moisture meters. Some online for like 13 bucks, as usual I looked at comparisons and thought I'll get the best. Turns out the best is 489 bucks. So I think that ones off the table. In fact I think I'll forgo the whole deal. Just cook the wood good and go for it.
    Not rocket science.
    http://bawanna45.wix.com/bawannas-grip-emporium#!
    In Memory of Paul "Dietrich" Stines.
    Dad: Say something nice to your cousin Shirley
    Dietrich: For a fat girl you sure don't sweat much.
    Cue sound of Head slap.

    RIP Muggsy & TMan

    "If you are a warrior legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that JOCKO will not come today."

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