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Shamus Blargostadt

wood stabilizing chambers

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not directly related to metal but hoping this query is relevant enough not to get me cuffed.

I have some really good wood that I've aged and some burals I'm ready to cut open, and some really beautiful spalted maple I'd like to make into proper knife handles. I tried  an el'cheapo method of heating minwax wood hardener in a canning jar with my scales then sealing it and letting the vacuum created by cooling impregnate the wood but they still cracked on me.

Can anyone recommend a vacuum chamber build or ready-made product suitable for this? I'm hoping to keep it under $200 if possible, for something that will work for a couple of years.

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That method wouldn't give you enough of a vacuum to get the hardener all the way through the wood. I've not tried this myself, but I gather it's possible to make a vacuum chamber out of a mason jar, a brake bleeder, and some fittings. Hopefully someone with a bit more experience can chime in.

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47 minutes ago, JHCC said:

"...I gather it's possible to make a vacuum chamber out of a mason jar, a brake bleeder, and some fittings. Hopefully someone with a bit more experience can chime in.

Thx, JHCC, never heard of one, but HF has one for 25 bucks.  Should save me hauling my supplies up to work (access to our handy shop oven vacuum).  It might require some dithering over or adding a reservoir chamber as the gas releases from amongst the wood fibers.

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Now I'm wondering if I could attach a nipple to a Mason jar lid and run it off my vacuum sealer from the kitchen....

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look up Cactus Juice

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https://www.amazon.com/ZENY-Single-Stage-Economy-Conditioner-Refrigerant/dp/B012CFTYX4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1498491277&sr=8-3&keywords=vacuum+pump

$56  A mason jar, 2qt if you can find one, and some fittings from your local ACE/Home depot. Drill (very slowly because a bit can catch and  tear the brass lid... ask me how I know)  a hole barely big enough for the fittings to sandwitch with gaskets on each side of the hole in the lid.

 

If you want to spend a little extra, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NP311CU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

@$128. complete setup its what I use. Soak the wood in the liquid, can even put inside a glass jar inside the pot to make cleanup easier. weight it down until submerged. hit the vacuum pump. it sucks the air out of the wood, you will see it bubbling out and usually creates a foam on the top as the air bubbles expand D/T the vacuum. after the wood no longer has bubbles coming out, release the pressure, all the voids in the wood will compress when atmospheric pressure is added back in and suck up the liquid its sitting in.

 

I have taken a 4" X 4" X 6" chunk of mesquite and had linseed oil penetrate all the way through it.  When you cut it in half there is oil all the way to the middle. This process will work with stabilizers too. 

 

 

PS if you buy the pot kit from amazon, the hose has a rectangular insert in it that unscrews out, if you don't unscrew it it wont attach to the vac pump...

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On 6/26/2017 at 11:34 AM, Steve Sells said:

look up Cactus Juice

thanks, Steve. This guy has just what I'm looking for.

 

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I'm on this path as well, but haven't had time to put anything together yet.  I have several 2 quart mason jars  for vacuum chambers.  For a vacuum pump I have 3 possibilities, but again haven't had time to tinker.  I have a disposable wound-vac machine from a hospital (I doubt it provides adequate vacuum though, a currently defunct vacuum pump for air conditioning systems, and a dehumidifier which I believe has a refrigerant pump that can be repurposed. As I understand it, the refrigerant pump from a freezer or refrigerator could also be used.

 

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13 minutes ago, Jclonts82 said:

https://www.amazon.com/ZENY-Single-Stage-Economy-Conditioner-Refrigerant/dp/B012CFTYX4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1498491277&sr=8-3&keywords=vacuum+pump

$56  A mason jar, 2qt if you can find one, and some fittings from your local ACE/Home depot. Drill (very slowly because a bit can catch and  tear the brass lid... ask me how I know)  a hole barely big enough for the fittings to sandwitch with gaskets on each side of the hole in the lid.

 

If you want to spend a little extra, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NP311CU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

@$128. complete setup its what I use. Soak the wood in the liquid, can even put inside a glass jar inside the pot to make cleanup easier. weight it down until submerged. hit the vacuum pump. it sucks the air out of the wood, you will see it bubbling out and usually creates a foam on the top as the air bubbles expand D/T the vacuum. after the wood no longer has bubbles coming out, release the pressure, all the voids in the wood will compress when atmospheric pressure is added back in and suck up the liquid its sitting in.

 

I have taken a 4" X 4" X 6" chunk of mesquite and had linseed oil penetrate all the way through it.  When you cut it in half there is oil all the way to the middle. This process will work with stabilizers too. 

 

 

PS if you buy the pot kit from amazon, the hose has a rectangular insert in it that unscrews out, if you don't unscrew it it wont attach to the vac pump...

Thank you J - you are using second link? The description says "3 Gallon GlassVac Aluminum Chamber". Do you have to fill it up with 3 gallons of stabilizer compound, or just enough to submerge it?  Or do you just fill a jar with your wood, submerge it in the jar, then place the whole thing in the chamber?  Did you have to buy more things for that (eg: vaccum pump) or is everything included in that item?  Really like the price!

 

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All is inclusive with the pump and chamber, no extra fittings required. you only need enough liquid, whatever youre using, to cover the work piece. I suggest using a quart jar inside the pot so you dont need as much liquid. also if it foams over the jar, it will be collected in the pot and you can just pour it back in when done. 

 

I also used the pot by itself with 1.5 gallons of linseed oil and soaked a bunch of wood blanks at the same time for a larger project. If doing this, make sure the foam doesn't hit the intake by the gauges because the pump will suck it into itself, and is probably not healthy for it... again, ask me how I know...

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5 minutes ago, Jclonts82 said:

All is inclusive with the pump and chamber, no extra fittings required. you only need enough liquid, whatever youre using, to cover the work piece. I suggest using a quart jar inside the pot so you dont need as much liquid. also if it foams over the jar, it will be collected in the pot and you can just pour it back in when done. 

 

I also used the pot by itself with 1.5 gallons of linseed oil and soaked a bunch of wood blanks at the same time for a larger project. If doing this, make sure the foam doesn't hit the intake by the gauges because the pump will suck it into itself, and is probably not healthy for it... again, ask me how I know...

is that the right link? It doesn't appear to include a pump https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NP311CU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1#feature-bullets-btf

Just want to make sure I'm looking at the same think you have. Sounds perfect!

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The first link, 56$ for the pump,

second link is just the chamber without  a pump.

 

total for both will be roughly $185

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I've never done this but Tim at Big Dog Forge (nice YouTube guy) did a video on his cheap and easy method of stabilizing wood with Cactus Juice.  Pretty quick and informative video and you might like his frugal methods.

https://youtu.be/pXmigZMLhpM

 

Lou

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I bought one of the Zeny vacuum pumps, then picked up a large heavy walled pot from the Goodwill store and a piece of 1/2" x 12" x 12" acrylic sheet off eBay for the chamber. A vacuum gauge, a couple of ball valves and plumbing fittings, rubber hose and a piece of rubber sheet for a gasket and I had the whole set up. Works really well for wood stabilizing and bubbling out investment for metal casting. I think it was about $120 for everything.

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Making a vacuum chamber is easy enough as already mentioned.  However, I have to say that I have used some very high quality commercial vacuum chambers and let the wood soak for many hours under vacuum followed by twice as much time under the surface of the liquid as it was in the vacuum to let the resin soak into it.  (Per the directions of the resins)  However, I have never managed to get results as densely saturated as the wood I buy that was commercially stabilized.

It's your dime, but $200 would allow you to have a lot of wood professionally stabilized.

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a really good chamber is an old pressure cooker from a thrift store or an old pressure pot for painting. far from big bucks.

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make sure it has a usable gasket though---or budget time for hunting a new one down!

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I made a quick video of my pump pumping on a block of 1" X 1" X 7" blocks glued together for another project im working on... just so you can see it in action. 

 

It looks like the linseed oils is boiling, but its just air, and possibly vaporized water coming out of the wood. 

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