Alternatives to Cactus Juice?

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thunderwear

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Hey all, I've tried to search for this, but there is so much information on this forum about "resins" that it's difficult to find anything that directly answers this question.

Being that both Cactus Juice and Stickfast stabilizing resins are so expensive, what are alternatives? Are there any cheaper alternatives that work as well? Has anyone come up with a way to make their own stabilizing resin?

Thanks for any advice....my vacuum pump is on the way and my chamber is almost built.

--Jeff
 
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mark james

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Being that both Cactus Juice and Stickfast stabilizing resins are so expensive, what are alternatives?
--Jeff
Well... My refrigerator was expensive, but I like my ice cream cold :). And I don't want to build a refrigerator (probably fail) - I'll buy one I know works...

Jeff, You can try to re-invent the wheel, but there are plenty of nice wheels available.

I suspect if you wish to re-invent "Cactus Juice and Stickfast stabilizing resins" you can... and $1,000.. $2,000..$3,000 later... Hmnnn.. That's nice :eek:

But to answer your question: I do not know of other alternatives. However, you can just use a tube of CA to get things solid. But as you have a vacuum pump and a chamber on the way... What ya gonna put in it?

Disclosure: I do not stabilize, but use Alumilite to cast - And have no interest in re-inventing Alumilite, which is also by comparison expensive; or cheap as I would probably spend a LOT to re-invent it!

Get your chamber, get some proven product, save your money.

Just my opinion.

Oh, truly, have FUN!
 

Edward Cypher

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Have to agree with Mark. There is Venom which is probably similar to CJ and Stickfast and I think there price is about the same. If you want it to come out stick with what others have already done unless you have a chem degree or a lot of money for R and D. I have used both CJ and Stickfast and prefer CJ because of the customer service. Can't say enough good stuff about Curtis. In addition he does a lot for IAP so why not support him. I save up til I can make a 4 gallon order to save a little money or go in with others so that we can order the 4 gallons.
 

jttheclockman

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Not sure how the price compares but the old stand by used was Minwax wood hardener. Been used for many years.

Need to read the do's and don'ts.
 
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low_48

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Do some research on here before CJ was available. You either shipped your blanks away to a professional, or tried weird conceptions like plexiglas scraps melted in acetone. None of the home brews come close.
 

jttheclockman

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Do some research on here before CJ was available. You either shipped your blanks away to a professional, or tried weird conceptions like plexiglas scraps melted in acetone. None of the home brews come close.

Do not remember the plexiglass scraps used for stabilizing. Do remember them being used to make a durable finish instead of CA.:)
 

terrymiller

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Many years ago I started searching for the same solution and all I could come up with was what is used in the boating industry. They use a mix of Xylene and Epoxy to soak into the wood to stabilize rotten or punky wood. This is the website that I was looking at for information. I have not tried this so I do not know if it works or if anyone here has tried this.

Penetrating Epoxy Resin - Facts - Test Results
 

Joey-Nieves

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Almost 2 years ago I was exactly were you are. I posted something similar and got similar results, except for the melted plastic(now that's desperate:biggrin:).

My sister invited me do Utah, to take a course on stabilizing wood at Craft USA, with Kirk Deheer, yes Dr. Kirk. I was interested in getting a hands on do and don't s, so my sister and I grab our bags and went to Provo. I most confess that I was under the impression that I wasn't going to learn much, boy was I wrong. The fluid we used was cactus juice, we learned about dyes, tricks, catalyzing and what type of wood to use.
In addition the Dr. taught us about thread chasing and other things, on the 3rd day of our 2 day seminar.

The most important thing I learned was how much the stuff lasts. You use air tight bottles to store the different colors you make, and save them after you finish. The amount of juice that actually stays in the blank is very small, but you need enough to submerge that blank.

So the real disadvantage is the initial investment, but you will get a big return.

P.S. In that trip I met Josh Reid, from CSUSA, who also took the seminar, and we have been good friends since, he should be coming over for New Years with his wife George (Georgina). I can't wait!
 

thunderwear

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Thanks TerryMiller....I spent waaaaaay too much time this morning learning about epoxies, but I am glad I did. Very interesting. Thanks for the link!
 

thunderwear

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Thanks Joey-Nieves, I don't know if I will get into this enough to fly to Provo and take a seminar on it, but your comments seem to agree with everyone that Cactus Juice is worth the cost. Seems like everything I have found that is an alternative is either just as expensive as Cactus Juice anyway, or might not work as well. Boy, the guy running TurnTex or whoever makes that stuff has got a lock on the industry! If only I was a chemist! ;-)
 

KenV

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Jeff.

Running organic solvents through vacuum pumps into enclosed rooms is not good for vacuum pumps or occupants of rooms. Good risk management is not necessarily cheap.
 

MesquiteMan

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I am "the guy who runs TurnTex" and the owner of Cactus Juice as well as a long time member here. Cactus Juice and home stabilizing was born and first introduced here on IAP. I have the highest market share because I was the first to market and because I truly treat and think of all my customers as friends.
 

MesquiteMan

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You use air tight bottles to store the different colors you make, and save them after you finish.
Do NOT use air tight containers to store your CJ. For one, it is not needed since there is nothing in it that evaporates. I have an open container in my shop that I originally filled to a level and marked it. Over 6 years later, the level is exactly the same. Secondly, storing in an air tight container can cause it to cure on its own. My recommendation for storing is the plastic paint mixing containers with the snap on lids. The ones at Lowes or HD that look kinda like large cottage cheese containers. Easy to pour back into and not air tight enough to cause any problems.
 

Joey-Nieves

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You use air tight bottles to store the different colors you make, and save them after you finish.
Do NOT use air tight containers to store your CJ. For one, it is not needed since there is nothing in it that evaporates. I have an open container in my shop that I originally filled to a level and marked it. Over 6 years later, the level is exactly the same. Secondly, storing in an air tight container can cause it to cure on its own. My recommendation for storing is the plastic paint mixing containers with the snap on lids. The ones at Lowes or HD that look kinda like large cottage cheese containers. Easy to pour back into and not air tight enough to cause any problems.
Curtis
Now that I got you here, I put some in a glass jar and it dried up solid after about 2 months or less. I did everything I normally do put away what was left in the jar because it had the dye.

lost about half a gallon in 3 bottles :frown:, I'm waiting on the loto numbers to buy some juice, but maybe you can tell me what went wrong, I thought is was because the jar that did not seal well, but know you say I was wrong.

Do you got a theory?

Joey
 

MesquiteMan

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My documentation says specifically to not store in sealed glass jars! Sealing CJ in a tight container will cause this. There is NOTHING in CJ to "dry" so it is best stored in a non-air tight container. I am sorry that you were told wrong by one of my retailers. Please send me an e-mail to Curtis@turntex.com and I will take care of you for the resin that you lost.

I am currently in D.C. on vacation for the week so I will not be able to reply or do anything for you until I return next Monday but I WILL take good care of you!
 

Joey-Nieves

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My documentation says specifically to not store in sealed glass jars! Sealing CJ in a tight container will cause this. There is NOTHING in CJ to "dry" so it is best stored in a non-air tight container. I am sorry that you were told wrong by one of my retailers. Please send me an e-mail to Curtis@turntex.com and I will take care of you for the resin that you lost.

I am currently in D.C. on vacation for the week so I will not be able to reply or do anything for you until I return next Monday but I WILL take good care of you!
I have always recommended your product, I new it had to be something I did.

Thank you, email sent!
 

jkirkb94

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Many years ago I used a pickle jar as a vacuum chamber and used a hand powered vacuum pump used to work on car brakes. Tried polyurethane if I remember right. Wasn't pleased with the results. Note sure if it was the pickle jar, hand pump, the polyurethane or all of the above! Oh, there was also the odor! Just bought my first batch of Cactus juice. Have a dedicated chamber and am awaiting the vacuum pump. I have a bunch of soft woods that I have been holding onto for years since it was too difficult adding a little CA, turn some, add more CA, turn some, etc.
 
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thunderwear

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Hey Mesquite Man,

Please don't take my questions about this as an affront. After all the research I have done and all the responses from IAP members, I get it. I made an order a couple of days ago. I'm new to penmaking, blank stabilizing, etc. and new to this forum too, so please excuse my ignorance. I look forward to trying out cactus juice for the first time. Thanks for chiming in. -- Jeff
 

MesquiteMan

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No worries, sir! I did not take it as anything more than a fellow penmaker asking a question! Please let me know how I can help you get the most out of your stabilizing! I am on vacation in Washington, DC until Monday, 5/30 so may not be able to answer until then but will certainly help you in any way I can. Feel free to give me a call one day next week if you need to!

Hey Mesquite Man,

Please don't take my questions about this as an affront. After all the research I have done and all the responses from IAP members, I get it. I made an order a couple of days ago. I'm new to penmaking, blank stabilizing, etc. and new to this forum too, so please excuse my ignorance. I look forward to trying out cactus juice for the first time. Thanks for chiming in. -- Jeff
 
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thunderwear

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Because you are new and you are from California we will forgive you, but in order to prove your repentance you most stabilize some blanks and send them to those who answered your post!
Do you have manzanita in PR? It's pretty rare here and protected. I just got a hold of some manzanita and manzanita root burl because a homeowner graded his road and tore out a bunch of it and pushed it to the side of the road (so not illegal for me to pick it up). Can you picture my car with all the branches sticking out of ALL of my windows driving home? ;-) Anyway I made a few blanks. They're so dense I don't think they need any stabilization. PM me your mailing address and I will send you one.
 

thunderwear

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No worries, sir! I did not take it as anything more than a fellow penmaker asking a question! Please let me know how I can help you get the most out of your stabilizing! I am on vacation in Washington, DC until Monday, 5/30 so may not be able to answer until then but will certainly help you in any way I can. Feel free to give me a call one day next week if you need to!

Hey Mesquite Man,

Please don't take my questions about this as an affront. After all the research I have done and all the responses from IAP members, I get it. I made an order a couple of days ago. I'm new to penmaking, blank stabilizing, etc. and new to this forum too, so please excuse my ignorance. I look forward to trying out cactus juice for the first time. Thanks for chiming in. -- Jeff
Thanks Curtis. Hope you have a good vacation.
 

hcpens

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Doing 20 to 30 blanks a week / month I finally ran out of my 2 gallons of CJ that I bought 2 years ago, and yes it was still working on some very punky wood, so ... how is this stuff expensive, so much is reusable time after time, depending on the type of wood that you are trying to stabilize, you have no waste. If you took trash wood and then sold the blanks for $1.00 each you could easily pay for a gallon of CJ and still have leftover Juice.
 

Joey-Nieves

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Because you are new and you are from California we will forgive you, but in order to prove your repentance you most stabilize some blanks and send them to those who answered your post!
Do you have manzanita in PR? It's pretty rare here and protected. I just got a hold of some manzanita and manzanita root burl because a homeowner graded his road and tore out a bunch of it and pushed it to the side of the road (so not illegal for me to pick it up). Can you picture my car with all the branches sticking out of ALL of my windows driving home? ;-) Anyway I made a few blanks. They're so dense I don't think they need any stabilization. PM me your mailing address and I will send you one.
No we dont Have Manzanita but we do have many interesting woods Maderas de Puerto Rico this link is in Spanish but the philums are there so you can look them up in Wikipedia.
 

efrulla

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Cactus Juice might SEEM expensive but you can stabilize a large amount of material with a gallon of the stuff. One thing you get with cactus juice is Curtis and his vast knowledge which he will freely and gladly share with you. How good is Curtis to do business with. I bought one of his chambers and during my first stabilization the heat in my shop rose (no fault of the stabilization process) to a quite high level. The Cactus juice set in the chamber. I sent Curtis an email explaining what happened and he called me back to explain what might have happened. This event was not the fault of Cactus Juice or the chamber but Curtis insisted on replacing the chamber at no cost. I had to argue with him to allow me to barter some of my expertise the he needed in exchange for the replacement chamber.

Cactus Juice expensive. Not in my book.
 

Hubert H

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Just a quick observation: There is a reason so many different people came out supporting Curtis and his product. Any one guess why?
 

Monty

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Just a quick observation: There is a reason so many different people came out supporting Curtis and his product. Any one guess why?
Just my WAG, but I believe it’s because Curtis was the first person (I believe) to market a home stabilization solution and containers for stabilizing. He took the time to work out the method and share it with others. Several other companies came later, but basically followed his methodology. Curtis is also very customer service oriented. If you have problems or questions, you can usually contact him late at night and on weekends when others are closed and don’t answer their phone. Lastly, Curtis has been a member here for years and we like to support our members.
 

thunderwear

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Glad I read some of these comments....especially the one about heat affecting the CJ. It's going to be 105 hear today, and I am now keeping the CJ in the house, not in the garage!
 

RobS

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Great thread. After working with bog wood last week and picking up some soft burls I starting researching stabilization.

Thanks for the info.
 

Hamyjunior

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Who could help me stabilize some blanks

I am in desperate need of some help stabilizing 5-6 blanks.
Is there anyone here that could assist me with this?
 
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