Stabilizing pen blanks

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tipusnr

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We have two Harbor Freights in town and neither carries the hand pumps in stock. I'm starting to obsess over making one of these vacuum chambers even while scared about getting it wrong and wasting money.
 
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jrc

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I used the wood hardner for some elm, cherry burl, and maple burl. I let them soak for a day or two and after I turned them I could tell that they soaked all the way thru. I'm not sure if you need a vacum but it does not hurt to try.
 

Doghouse

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Ok, I tried a pressure cooker with laquer. It worked ok until the pump blew (air conditioner) then the rubber seal let go from the laquer thinner. Hmmm... Back to the drawing board. I may have to try making a new seal of some kind...
 
G

Guest

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Tried the HF hand pump.USed quart mason jar with fitting on the top.
The blanks were corn cob.
The gauge got up to about 22-22 lbs.( I guess that's what you call it)Cobs bubbled.Within 1/2 hr they sank.The down side is the fumes from the hardner melted teh pump.
I can still pull a vacuum but I have to unscrew the gauge to release the pressure.
I'll let them dry overnite and turn them tomorrow.
 

pen-turners

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Just pulled my blanks out of the Minwax hardner and red dye mix. Will cut them later and check to see how saturated they are. I didn't do the dye for looks but rather to judge saturation of the hardening medium. Will update later. I did some spalted buckeye burl and box elder burl.

Chris
 
G

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In a earlier post i reported I had a qualified success with the Harbor freight Hand pump.
I then went back and picked up the venturi vacuum pump.It was on sale at my local store for $9.99.
<b></b>BELIEVE IT OR NOT IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This pump works on a compressor.
The suction fitting supplied is the type that goes on refrigeration lines but once removed, standard 1/8 pipe fittings can be used.
I recommend removing the bottom and holding the venturi fitting while making the necessary modifications.

To those who are using a hand pump in no way should it take 90 pumps to pull a vacuum. If it does you must have a leak somewhere.
I also recommend using Ball type jars and lids.You can mount the fitting in the lids and if the seal gets ruined the fitting can be reapplied to another lid which are replaceable.I have "stripped the outer screw ring on my setup but once the vac is pulled the outer ring doesn't really matter.
THis is the pump at Harbor Freight.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=3952
 

SAK

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Hey guys, This is new for me. I'm the GM at Nelsonite Chemical Products, Inc. Grand Rapids, Michigan. We would be more than happy to supply sample quarts for your group trial. We have been making Nelsonite for 70+ years and have enormous faith in it's performance. Give me a call and I'll make sure it's shipped at no charge.
(616)456-7098 or fax (616)456-6632
 

wayneis

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SAK, I have to say that this really suprises me. Many of us here and at the other penturners site tried to purchase your product and several were treated pretty badly. I at last found and purchased Nelsonite from a Company that makes pool ques. It may be good for some uses but I was not at all impressed in it for stabilizing wood blanks for pen turning. In fact I have a half gallon that I don't know what to do with.

Wayne
 

DCBluesman

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I contacted Scott Knutsen of Nelsonite. He seems genuine and sincere in wanting us to see if their products are a good fit for our craft. He has agreed to supply me with a quart each of three products which he believes might be useful in stabilizing penblanks. I will test it against a number of species and let the group know my results.
 

Daniel

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I would like to thank both Lou and Scott Knutsen. for seeing whatever they see in this group to have threre products tested by us. it was one of the things I hoped to see begin to happen in this group. thank you for your respect in our opinions. and the time you have taken to allow us to see if your products will benefit our craft. I take it as an honor.
 

wayneis

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Why don'y you ask some of the people here that have already tried it. It seems as though my opinion is'nt worth listening to so ask Tom (old Griz) If you do a search you'll find that a few of us Tom and I included, tried and reported that we were not impressed and I think that there was one or two others that also reported the same thing. Unless they have a new product out, it is not the type of stabilizing agent we are looking for. When the pool que companies use it they start out with wood that is stable, we do not. What pen turners need to have stabilized is pretty soft woods, spalted woods and burl wood.
Wayne
 

DCBluesman

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Wayne...I actually spent half an hour reading every single post on this site that had the word Nelsonite in it. In my reading, what I found were apocryphal references with few facts. What I proposed to Scott Knutsen is that I try a variety of woods in each of the three separate products that he thinks might be worth our while. I will lay out the test much as I layed out the test I recently did on kit parts. I will report back to this forum with the results. I explained to Scott K. that I would send him a copy, but that I would post the results here...good or bad. He was VERY comfortable with that idea.

This is not an attempt to lessen the value of anyone's opinion. You're opinion, as well as Tom Mullane's, are very much worth listening to. This is simply a test with a bit more structure in the reporting. If you have already gathered this data, I'd love to see it shared here. I will gladly call Scott back and let him know the results and that I do not feel further testing is necessary. Just let me know. Thanks! [8D]
 

dougle40

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I personally haven't done any stabilizing but if they do have some different products , and maybe improved , I think it's worth a shot .
Couldn't hurt !!!
 

Daniel

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Wayne,
I read this entire thread. I have also seen comments about nelsonite in the past. I have also been awaire of your experience with them.
1. I have not seen anything that indicated to me the results of having used the nelsonite.
2. the attempts to use it seemed to get lost in either the difficulty of locating it, the cost of it or quantities it had to be gotten in.
the presute headed in the direction of polyurethane and nelsonite seemed to be forgotten.
3. even then I recall the nelsonite was "Given" away and still no real report of it was made.
4. it was only one product not three that was even tried.
5. your bad experience does not convince me to not evaluate there product.
Personally I want to go back and try the Plexiglass and acetone idea but use vacume with it. it has been clear to me right from the start that whatever is used needs a vacume. it also needs to be put under pressure afterwards. I am going to try with just the vacume. if you go back and read my previous comments in this thread. I am interested in something that will stabalize every piece of wood I use. Your bad experience doesn't cancel my desire to find that. I have made pens out of unstabalized, hard tight grained woods ony to have them crack weeks, months even up to a year later. this is not the sort of results I want from my work. if people that are making items that sell for thousands of dollars, like pool ques and fly rods do, use this stuff. that is a pretty powerful comment to me.
 

Fred in NC

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Daniel, I fully understand your reasoning. Further testing and research are in order. I am willing to help.

Vacuum is the way to exhaust the air so the liquid can be absorbed into the wood. The atmospheric pressure forces the liquid in IF the blank is submerged in the liquid. If the atmospheric pressure is not sufficient, then pressure will be needed. I have both a vacuum pump and a compressor, and I am willing to help if needed.
 

Daniel

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Fred,
this may be better discussed through e-mail or evem a phone conversation.
I can call you cheap if I have your number.
basically the plexiglass in my mind offers the most solid medium. just my gut feeling about it. there are two different types of plexiglass. Acrylic which is what i wanted to try first. and Polyecetate or something like that.
I am looking for info on safely handeling Acetone and what mixture you are getting when you desolve Plexiglass in it. basically I have found that you need Goggles, rubber gloves and a resporator that will stop gas vapor for the acetone. nothing on the possible gases that coudl be created with the combination yet. Acetone is volatile and would have a
catch on fire issue. but venting to the atmosphere is not a problem. i.e. just sending it out to the neighborhood with a fan.
basicaly this is the same thing that they do in nail salons with acrylic nails. just a very fine grade and expensive acrylic that they use.
I can help with cost. If you can conduct the trials.
plexiglass and acetone look like all we would need if you have the vacume pump. be sure the acetone will not eat your pump though.
thanks
 

wayneis

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Daniel I do agree with most everything you said. We do need something similar to the plexiglass to stabilize the woods that are used in our applications. I went back and did a search because there is two different threads talking about this and found a few posts from you, Tom and I. What both Tom and I found and reported back were that the certain Nelsonite product that we tested was water thin, had a very strong patrolium smell, and did nothing to stabilize burl or un-stable woods. If Nelsonite has another product, then maybe it is something new, then I'm all for trying it.

I've purchased wood from que components and like you stated in a much earlier post, the wood that the pool manufacturers use is a stable wood to begin with. The woods that are used in making pool que's and fishing rods are much different, all of the woods that QC offer are pretty tight grain woods, maple, pink ivory, black wood, and so on. I don't think that thats the types of wood that we are trying to stabilize. I bought two different types of amboyna burl from them and there was no difference in the structure of their's and the amboyna that I've bought from Gilmer or several other companies that had non-stabilized amboyna burl.

Wayne
 

Daniel

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Hot Dog,
I can't believe how many times this issue has been descussed, pondered,
attempts of one sort or anouther have been started. etc. and there is still no defenitive answer to it. Can we stabalize our own wood from home??? I would love for this to be beaten to a definitive death or figured out. there is so much work to be done that somehow it has to be coordinated, and documented. this group has the coordination and preservation of conversation ability to get it done.
thank you for helping Fred.
 

wayneis

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Lou do a search because there are two threads. I the other thread is where both Tom and I believe my reports are located. If they have two other products then maybe one of them would be better than what we tested. The information that was available at the time said nothing about three different products. There is a big difference in the woods that we need stabilized and the woods that are used in pool ques and fishing rods.

Wayne

Originally posted by DCBluesman
<br />Wayne...I actually spent half an hour reading every single post on this site that had the word Nelsonite in it. In my reading, what I found were apocryphal references with few facts. What I proposed to Scott Knutsen is that I try a variety of woods in each of the three separate products that he thinks might be worth our while. I will lay out the test much as I layed out the test I recently did on kit parts. I will report back to this forum with the results. I explained to Scott K. that I would send him a copy, but that I would post the results here...good or bad. He was VERY comfortable with that idea.

This is not an attempt to lessen the value of anyone's opinion. You're opinion, as well as Tom Mullane's, are very much worth listening to. This is simply a test with a bit more structure in the reporting. If you have already gathered this data, I'd love to see it shared here. I will gladly call Scott back and let him know the results and that I do not feel further testing is necessary. Just let me know. Thanks! [8D]
 

wayneis

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Daniel in a conversation with a friend last night that is setting up a stabilizing process, he said that heat is also involved along with vacume. The stabilizing product is baked into the wood from what I understood. Another thing for you to ponder.

Wayne
 

Daniel

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Wayne,
You are correct in that we use many woods that are not structurally there enough for just coating with some material that does not lend a strangth to the material. crumbly burls etc. I hope that a couple or even three or four different pricess can be discovered that will work for various applications. in a perfect world the ones for harder woods would be cheaper and simpler. withthe harder more expensive methods being for the soft puncky or simply crumbly type woods. of course lets nto forget the it would be best to just find one dip it and it is done fantasy. who knows it may eventually be found. one thing that cannot be replaced is the ability to consistantly find the quality of woods that say Bill form AS provides. but hte ability to stablize say even redwood. well who will ship off redwood and pay the price to have ti done? if they could get a can of nelsonite or polyurethane or whatever and do it themselves. well it might bring redwood pens to a whole new level.
I just simply think htis is a topic that eventually needs an answer. this group has by far gone the furthest in answering it. I think it is great that you can go back and actually find something I said way back when. it is what I see will make this whole thing possible.
I knew the conversation had gotten split up but hadn't goen and found the pieces myself. hopefully we will find something that works, and then have to gather up all the parts and put them in one place.
 

Daniel

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Wayne,
I am awaire that teh process used by the companies use Heat at some point in the process. this is how it all fits together in my understanding.
Blank is submerged in a bath of the stabalizing medium and a vacume is applied. the blanks is then removed from the bath and placed under pressure to furter force the material into the wood. then the whole thing is heated to cure the stabalizing material. I think the heat is applied while the blank is still in the pressure stage as well but never been entirely sure. I hope to find a process that eleminates some of these steps. an acceptable compromise method.
 

danf

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Gentlemen

Having read this entire thread I am more than a little surprised that no one has mentioned an old fridge or freezer compressor for the vacuum cource.As it was very simply explained to me,(and I need it simple) one side sucks and the other blows. A friend and myself are about to build a small version of a Vacuum Kiln that we saw on this link http://carverscompanion.com/Ezine/Vol2Issue4/LynnDiel/LynnDiel.html

It looks as though it would dry small amounts of wood for turning very quickly without or with minimal checking. Just thought I'd mention this to supplement the wealth of information here..

DanF
 

Rifleman1776

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Chris, I couldn't find your posting with the results. Please update us. Thanks.






Originally posted by pen-turners
<br />Am halfway through an experiment. Have a couple of Spalted Buckeye Burl blanks soaking in Minwax wood hardener with red dye added and will turn them in a few days. Will let everyone know the outcome good or bad. I also have a batch soaking in plexiglass acetone mixture and will compare the results.

Chris
 
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