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Casting & Stabilization Making your own blanks & stabilizing wood blanks.


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Old 03-10-2018, 01:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Wolf Creek Montana
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Default Spalted Hackberry

Quick question for anyone who has stabilized spalted Hackberry. I did my first batch today with Cactus Juice, 5/8"x5/8"x6", and when I turned my vacuum pump on it did the normal bubble up. However, after about 10 minutes it settled down and I was able to close the vacuum valve all the way shut. It's been under vacuum for 1 hour now and except for small bubbles there's nothing really happening. Has anyone ever experienced this. Last week I did some Rocky Mountain Maple from my property and it took just over 5 hours in the vacuum chamber and it bubbled up pretty heavily for the first hour or so. Any ideas will help. Thanks
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Old 03-10-2018, 02:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf creek knives View Post
Quick question for anyone who has stabilized spalted Hackberry. I did my first batch today with Cactus Juice, 5/8"x5/8"x6", and when I turned my vacuum pump on it did the normal bubble up. However, after about 10 minutes it settled down and I was able to close the vacuum valve all the way shut. It's been under vacuum for 1 hour now and except for small bubbles there's nothing really happening. Has anyone ever experienced this. Last week I did some Rocky Mountain Maple from my property and it took just over 5 hours in the vacuum chamber and it bubbled up pretty heavily for the first hour or so. Any ideas will help. Thanks
What I have found is after hour or so it settles down to a few bubbles. What i have found to work for me is to leave product under vac over night, on my pot it will stay at 29 and hold without having the vac pump on.
Then i will drip dry, wrap in tin foil, oven at 230 deg for 6 hours. works every time with older spalted wood.

Some time if the wood has any moister i will bake it for two three hours before stabilizing.

Last edited by Dieseldoc; 03-10-2018 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I have found that spalted and burled wood tends to soak up the resin faster. It also seems to dry faster as well, but if you are baking to dry it's probably not an issue. It is surprising the variation between different woods, some stuff that I thought would soak up a lot of resin didn't, and vice versa.
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Old 03-12-2018, 06:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Thank you both for helping me with this. I had 16 blanks in the chamber and they all came out very nice. It took 3.5 hours to get to zero bubbles compared to 5 hours for the maple. This wood was extremely dry and as my friend who sent it to me stated when I asked how dry it was, "it's drier than a popcorn fart". So I guess that means it was pretty dry. My moisture meter didn't even show a glimmer of light when I tested it. Thanks again for your help and info. Tom
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Old 03-12-2018, 07:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Glad they came out looking good! It sounds like you are not baking the wood prior to stabilizing. In the cold dry winter air this is probably less of an issue. My first batch that I did was various woods that I dried in a food dehydrator for 36 hours, I estimate MC was about 3%. I left the vac pump running for 16 hours and still had a few tiny bubbles. The second batch I baked in a toaster oven for 36 hours at 220 degF, so definitely 0% MC. The second batch stabilized much faster, like 3 hours, fewer tiny bubbles, and reached deeper vacuum. Some of the blanks stopped bubbling in less than an hour. Even in the dry winter air there is moisture in wood at equilibrium (6%) or so. When under a deep vacuum, the water is essentially boiling out of the wood. If water vapor is coming out, then resin isn't going in. Long story short - bake the wood at 220 for 24 hours and you may be able to further reduce the time that you are running your vac pump. This also illustrates why the soak time (not under vacuum) is important, you want the pressure to equalize in the blank and force resin into all the tiny places. Anyway, sorry if this stuff was already all known to you, I just kind of ran with it
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Sam for your response. On these I did not bake the blanks before putting them in the vacuum chamber. I used my moisture meter and it didn't even begin to light up so I figured the blanks were good and dry. There's a lot of things I wish I could do longer and differently but living where I do doesn't always work. I live completely off the grid with the closest power line 8 miles away. So when the sun goes down I'm on power stored in my state of the art batteries. Because of this I can't use a toaster oven or any other appliance that draws a lot of amperage after dark. So I have to use a Camp Chef propane stove and I won't leave it unattended due to the open flame. One thing I did notice was that my vacuum pump oil looked like new after I got done with the chamber. When I did the Maple I needed to change it because it got cloudy which I attribute to a bit of water still in the blanks although I got complete stabilization on the blanks I stabilized. Thanks again.
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Makes sense Tom, my guess is that scenery and privacy more than compensates for these types of inconveniences. One idea for larger of denser woods that you want to stabilize you could store them in a ziplock while you sleep.
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