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Finally received my wood stabilizing system!!!


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Finally, the wait is over! Curtis at Turntex Woodworks has sent me my order of a vacuum chamber, and his stabilizing resin Cactus Juice (resinol 90c).


All in all, this is TOP NOTCH craftsmanship. He recently started making vertical chambers with clear pvc (EXPENSIVE!), and I ended up getting one 14" tall. With it I can stabilize blanks for knives, pistols, and even scabbards for knives (Think fully stabilized handle and scabbard for a Tanto!). Already have some beautiful 50 year dried Walnut to use, among several others. Currently drying the wood to near 0% moisture before I throw them in for stabilization, so my initial review will have to wait.


Also in the picture is the Vacuum pump I purchased to purge the chamber and the wood of air.



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Here is a Post I found from Curtis at Turntex Woodworks



Hello folks,


I was pointed to this site by someone and thought I would register to answer some questions an provide some help. I sincerely hope I am not violating any rules regarding selling and in the interest of such, I will mention that Cactus Juice, which is a professional quality resin, is my product and this is NOT intended to be a sales pitch of any kind.




It sounds to me that your material was not dry. You should NEVER have a reduction in weight after stabilizing. To ensure complete dryness, I recommend that you put your wood in your oven at the same cure temperature that you would cure you blanks and allow them to "cook" for 24 hours. This will bring them down to oven dry or 0% moisture. This will allow more room for the resin to penetrate into the wood. Also, if only ran your vacuum pump for a few minutes, you did not run it long enough. I normally run mine for at least 1 hour, sometimes 2. Then, once you release the vacuum, you need to let it set for 30-40 minutes to allow the pressures to equalize. On spalted, punky wood, you should see a big weight increase, usually more than the 50% you reported. In other words, if a blank starts out at 35 grams, I would expect it to come out of the oven at 70 grams or better. I frequently get a 300% weight increase on the more punky stuff.


The resin is a methacrylate ester blend which is the same chemistry as what the professional stabilizers use. The difference in results has solely to do with differences in processing methods.


For those using Ronseal or other materials that have to dry...be careful when using vacuum. Ronseal, which I assume is similar to Minwax Wood Hardener here in the US, contains a high amount of flammable solvents that will boil at very little vacuum and exhaust through your vacuum pump as very flammable gas! Minwax Wood hardener, for example, is 72% acetone and 6% mineral spirits. The balance is the acrylic that you want in the wood. 100% of the acetone and mineral spirits have to evaporate in order to "dry", thus leaving only 22% of your wood filled with the solids. A heat cured stabilzing resin will cure at a rate of 99.99%. I am not going to claim 100% since I never like to use absolutes! In testing, however, 18.3 grams of liquid resin in a redneck beaker (shot glass!) comes out of the oven weighing exactly 18.3 grams as a solid. Thus, whatever you get into the wood will cure instead of being flashed off in the vacuum process.


Pikebite...you said "The wood will not be fully stabilized after cooking. The polymerisation can take a week or more to finish and the wood may not give a good finish or it may move during this time." I have to respectfully disagree with you on this, at least when it comes to a heat cured, professional quality resin. Once the resin has been properly polymerized in the oven, it is done. It will not dry or cure any further. It is a chemical reaction of the initiator, which is heat activated. Once the stabilized piece cools down, all the cross-linking of the molecules has occurred that is going to occur. As a matter of fact, it will not even do it any good to put it back in the oven.


I have to run but will check back in later to see if I can answer any other questions and comment further. I hope I am not intruding here!

I definitely suggest you cook the wood in your oven before stabilizing. I cook my air dried wood in large batches at 90° C for 24 hrs prior to stabilizing to assure oven dry or 0% moisture. I then take the wood out of the oven and place it in large ziplock bags to prevent it from picking up ambient moisture from the air as it cools down. That way I always have a good supply of dry wood ready to go. The plastic bags will also tell you if you still have moisture in the wood. As the wood cools down in the sealed bag, if there is moisture present, it will form condensation inside the bag and you will know it was not dry! "


As per his post and not edited at all >



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Thank you for posting that. I have been able to take buckeye burl, and turn it into a workable piece that will take on a mirror polish. Using sandpaper and I am waiting on an order of micro-mesh sanding pads, I can do that. I have a profound interest in bringing out the characteristics of the wood as I am with a Hamon.


I have a youtube video of the set-up in action:


And a few pics of one of the buckeye scales sanded to 2000 grit sandpaper (A quick run through the grits just to see what it would look like).


I have had some issues with some very old walnut (50+ year dry) using this process, and am adding an extra step to help ensure a full stabilize tomorrow.




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