Stabilizing without vacuum?

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Dinosaurnut

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Dec 5, 2018
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Hummelstown, PA
Is it possible to stabilize wood without using a vacuum chamber? Say, if I were to immerse the wood in the cactus juice, and just leave it there for a longer time period? I haven’t tried stabilization before, and was hoping to try it with minimal monetary output...
 
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I don't know about using Cactus Juice 9which is a very good product from what I've seen!). I sometimes just use Thin CA Glue. Just cover the wood to be stabilized, use activator, and wait a day or so. You may need to make a container to hold in the excess CA Glue from running out all over, I just use some old PVC pipe with the ends taped off. Then after it dries I just sand off the PVC pipe. Depending on the wood and the amount of free space between the wood and the pipe, you will need a lot of CA Glue so this may not be cost effective. But for the occaisional job it works for me!
 

magpens

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Feb 2, 2011
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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Recently I used a product from the Minwax company, called Wood Hardener.
One of the members here told me about it.

I used it on some punky spalted oak wood and it seemed to do a moderately good job.

Wouldn't say that the wood is fully stabilized but I was able to turn it and drill it and make a pen out of it.

I soaked the blanks in the Wood Hardener for about half and hour, then lifted them out carefully allowing the excess liquid to drain ... the blank actually "dries" pretty quickly after removal ... the excess liquid on the blank evaporates very fast. Then I waited overnight before turning/drilling. The improved stability of the wood was quite noticeable.

Don't drip the Wood Hardener on anything of value ... it quickly sticks and leaves a residue like glue.

Keep the Wood Hardener container capped to retard evaporation. The blank soaking should also be done in a container that is capped ... recommend a Mason jar with lid.
 
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vtgaryw

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Jul 24, 2012
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Milton, VT
Disclaimer: I have not tried most of these, but I was doing some research to compare different stabilization methods. In addition to the MinWax Hardener, there's a company called Preservation Systems that make two products that are meant to help stabilize dry or semi-dry wood.

The first is called Wood Juice: https://www.preservation-solutions.com/product/wood-juice/

The second is called Polycryl: https://www.preservation-solutions.com/product/polycryl-wood-fortifier/

That said, Cactus Juice and vacuum is the gold standard, but other ways can get you acceptable results as well. I've used diluted Polycrylic in a vacuum system and gotten good results. You can compare different methods by the % increase in weight after drying. Nothing beats Cactus Juice, but you can compare others against each other.

Gary
 

Dehn0045

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Yes: http://www.penturners.org/forum/f43/can-you-stabilize-blanks-without-vacuum-test-results-91355/

I will add that stabilizing is very wood-specific. I have not stabilized a lot of wood, but I have stabilized lots of different types of wood. Some woods that you would expect to soak up a lot of juice didn't seems to soak up hardly any, and vice versa. In my experience spalted woods take up the most juice. For a small quantity, you might find it more cost effective to send the wood off to a professional service.

Here is the thread where I shared my data: http://www.penturners.org/forum/f43/my-stabilizing-data-various-woods-152942/

I have done about 100 blanks, with an all-in cost of around $150 (1-gal resin, cheap vacuum pump, pickle jar vacuum chamber, cheap toaster oven).
 
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