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

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Old 04-04-2016, 07:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2016
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Default Stabilizing without pressure/vacuum?

Hi all,

I recently came into some Manzanita burl and branches (freshly dug up/felled by a homeowner who graded the road into his property). I cut the burl into pen blanks and also cut some of the branches into blanks. Coated all of them with Anchor Seal about 2 weeks ago. I don't have a pressure pot or vacuum. My question is, without using a pressure pot/vacuum, how long should I wait for them to stabilize naturally? Or will they ever do that? I noticed that there is some cracking in one of the pieces, but most are not. Just wondering how long I should wait and any hints on storage while drying. Should I put them in paper bags? Thanks for any helpful hints, I'm a new pen turner.

- Jeff
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Old 04-05-2016, 12:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Are you asking how long the pieces will take to dry, or stabilize? Because that is two very different things?

Scott (one will happen, the other will not) B
Central Arkansas IAP Chapter Member
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes you are talking about drying or seasoning the wood. Stabilizing is for punky or other wood that would fly apart the second you hit it with a tool and adds resins to the wood to strengthen it.
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The main point here is you can not stablize without a vaccum chamber.
And a pressure pot is used for casting.

All you can do is allow mother nature to dry the wood. ... dry them either in a microwave or set your oven to a low temp and dry them in there.
It's not "Having what you want" is "Wanting what you have".

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Old 04-10-2016, 04:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Some woods, and manzanita may be one of them, are so dense they will not take stabilizing, with or without use of a vacuum. Without a vacuum, simply soaking will allow the solution to penetrate a little but ful penetration is highly unlikely. A friend makes and sells many bowls turned from manzanita. It is a challenge and why he gets big bucks for his finished product. The wood usually contains stones and sand. Not good on tools. I suggest you keep plenty of #100 CA on hand an apply as needed while turning and as a final finish. Good luck.
Mountain Home, Arkansas
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." from Animal Farm by George Orwell
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Thanks all

Thanks to all who replied on this one. Very much appreciated. I have noticed now that the pieces that I coated in the wax are cracking in various places anyway. I still may be able to get some decent lengths out of some of the pieces in order to turn some pens. Good point on the stones in Manzanita Rifleman....I noticed that when I was cutting the pieces with the bandsaw. Not sure I want to mess up my turning tools, but we'll see. Without a pressure pot or vacuum, I think I will just let it all dry longer, be careful and slow when turning and fill voids with CA as I go. Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Manzanita wood? Burl? That is a real find. It is against the law to cut living Manzanita. I have worked with the wood and it is beautiful. Good find.
John Grden's Pen Works

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Old 04-20-2016, 06:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When I have found timber suitable for pen making, I have treated and stored it for around 18 months before I use them for making pens.

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Old 04-20-2016, 10:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks Hawkdave, I'm not very patient! ;-)
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm aware that it's illegal to cut or remove live Manzanita. I lucked out because I found a spot where a new landowner used a grader to make a road and cut through a bunch of it and pushed a bunch of it to the side of the road....roots and all in some cases because the ground was so sandy. Was able to get a lot without being illegal about it. I intend on going back and getting more, but I am really trying to learn how to let it dry without it cracking like all heck. I am going to invest in a stabilization chamber and vacuum very soon, but now I need to learn more about drying without cracking.
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