How do you know if a wood can be stabilized?

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Aug 8, 2007
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Ok, I recently had another CA finish get a bunch of tiny cracks about 4 weeks or more after I got the perfect finish on it...

This was yellowheart, not a wood you typically think of as difficult to finish. So now, I'm going to adopt a 100% stabilization policy. But are there any woods that won't stabilize? Would there be a negative effect to try to stabilize any woods?

I know that some of the darker woods will discolor the solution, so I'd have to separate lighter woods with darker woods, but other than that, any issues?

Also, is vacuum or pressure better for solution penetration?

Jun 23, 2008
Centerville, Iowa, USA.
There are plenty of woods that resist the stabilization process.

Particularly dense woods don't benefit much, if any. Desert Ironwood, African Blackwood and some of the Aussie Burls are just a few examples. Most woods that qualify as 'Ironwood' fall into this category.

Oily woods don't stabilize either. Cocobolo, Thuya and Olive are examples of oily woods.

As far as the process of stabilizing? A combination of vacuum/pressure is best for most woods. Place the submerged block or blank under vacuum (length of time will vary depending on block size and species) and then move it to a pressure pot overnight.

Hope this helps.
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