My Stabilizing Data (various woods)

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Dehn0045

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This is only my second batch of stabilizing pen blanks with cactus juice, so take all of this with a grain of salt. I figured I would post my method and data in case anyone might be interested.

I dried the blanks in a toaster oven between 200 and 220 degF for 36 hours. Cooled in ziploc bag for a few hours. Placed in vacuum chamber (pickle jar) and pulled vacuum for about 5 hours. I was able to get down close to 30 inHg (according to my "economy" oil filled gauge). There was still some bubbles coming off, but very minimal (my first batch had more bubbles coming off after 16 hrs of vacuum due to wood not being totally dry). I soaked them for about 15 hours. Wrapped in foil and then cured in the toaster oven at 200 for about 4 hours. I pulled them out and cleaned the excess resin with a sander.

Here is my data that I collected along the way. All weights are in grams (my scale is a kitchen scale, probably could have used better precision, but its what I had...). Most interesting is the sumac, for as light as it is it didn't hardly pick up any resin. I'm happy with how much the redwood took up, as well as the black ash, since they both started out pretty dense. Everything else was basically about what I expected.
 

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Dehn0045

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MC is Moisture Content? Before or after drying in the oven? Just trying to understand your data.
Don
Yes, moisture content, prior to drying. This assuming that the dried moisture content is 0%, which I think is reasonably accurate. I'm not sure how much the MC should vary between species, but much of the variation is probably due to the accuracy of my scale, +/- 1 gram is pretty significant...
 

Dehn0045

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I did a little more stabilizing and figured I would share my data. With these batches I dried in the toaster oven 24 hrs at 225, pulled vacuum for about 2 or 3 hours, soaked 24 hrs, and then cured at 225 for 3 hrs. Pretty similar results as before. One that didn't take up much resin was a small piece of afzelia, I didn't think it would take much. Also, I noticed that the spalted wood really soaked up the juice. Another that didn't soak up much was the Myrtle, which I think I have heard didn't stabilize well. My last observation is the variation in penetration among the same species, for example the koa both looked pretty similar but one soaked up a lot more than the other.
 

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PatrickR

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Interesting data. Shows how much variation there is in the same species. I really think it comes down to the density of the piece.


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Dehn0045

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Interesting data. Shows how much variation there is in the same species. I really think it comes down to the density of the piece.
Density plays a role, but there seems to be other factors (with my method at least). For example, sumac and myrtle are very light woods and neither soaked up much resin at all. I got nearly as much resin to go into Afzelia, which is much more dense. Ash and amboyna are also pretty dense, but they are able to pick up quite a bit. Another strange one for me is black locust burl, I didn't record data on that batch, but it hardly soaked up any resin -- it is a relatively dense wood, but not that dense... It seems really hit and miss, that is why I started collecting the data, and I find it interesting...
 

PatrickR

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I was thinking of the difference within the same kind, ie the apricot but yes there must be more to it. I’d love to see some hard data from the manufacturers showing expansion ratios before and after. To me that’s more relevant than how much it soaks up. Till then I’ll just keep stabilizing everything.
 

Dehn0045

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I stabilized another batch of various wood blanks with Cactus Juice and collected data. The data continues to be pretty consistent, but a couple of new things that I didn't necessarily expect.

The Cottonwood, box elder, black ash and maple all soaked up a lot of juice as expected. The unknown spalted wood also took up a lot, I have noticed that spalted woods are always near the top. One winner that was unexpected was the chechen burl, it was quite hard and heavy to begin with, I didn't expect it to do that well.

On the other end, the Russian olive did poorly, but that was expected. I expected more from the mesquite, but stabilizing mesquite probably isn't all that necessary anyway.

I'm pretty happy with the results over all, now I need to turn some pens!
 

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adigordon

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I am also playing around and trying with various woods since I am very new to stabilizing. After I have found out that I had to minimize MC prior to stabilizing, I have tried Mahogany, Beech, Balsa, Oak, Ash and Linden following a similar method like yours and I have Walnut in the queue. I couldn't see most of them in your lists. Have you ever tried one of these woods before?

Once I am happy and confident about the stabilization process, I will move to dye stabilization which I didn't get any satisfactory result up to now. Two variables left that I have to change are; a) the type of wood, and b) the dye. I think I finally have now the suitable wood for dyeing and will see the result of the stabilization first, after which I will try dying.

On the other hand, I could share the data I have recorded as an addition to your studies, if you like...;)

Cheers,
 
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