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Author Topic: Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?  (Read 4552 times)

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Offline Daren

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Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?
« on: December 24, 2006, 09:06:18 am »
I have 100's of these spalted curly maple blanks cut for making lures and pens (and whatever else I can think of) but for anyone who has turned it you know it can be tough. The fact that some is punky and the figured grain I get odd tear out. I usually "get it close" and finish shaping with sandpaper, but it doesn't always sand even on the lathe because some parts are softer than others. I know they made solutions you soak the wood in to harden and stabilize it. But I was wondering if anyone had a home brew concoction ?



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Offline metalspinner

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Re: Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2006, 09:39:34 am »
I've been thinking about this as well, Daren.  I'm going to try to soak them in lacquer sanding sealer and see what happens.  You only need to stiffen the soft spots a little, and the sealer should soak into the punky spots.  I'm sure it won't soak in throughout the whole blank, but the soft spots are all that is needed.

One more thing... If a pen was going to be made from the blank, I would soke after drilling the hole out for the tube.  That way the soaking can go in from the inside as well.  I use epoxy to glue the tubes in so hopefully the glue would adhere to the sealer.(?)
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Offline Radar67

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Re: Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2006, 09:54:41 am »
I read an article about using polyurethane and a vacuum pump to stabilize the wood. The guy placed the blanks into a can of poly, then pulled a 20 inch vacuum on it for 24 hours. Took the blanks out, let them dry and turned them. I'll dig up the link if interested.

Stew
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Offline WH_Conley

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Re: Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2006, 10:19:48 am »
Don't know anything about turning wood except that it goes around. Had guy the other day tell me that he puts his wood in the freezer before turning. Says it don't tear out as bad. If there is anything to this maybe someone will verify.
Bill

Offline Steve

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Re: Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2006, 11:37:45 am »
I am also just running into the same problem with Ironwood. Beautiful wood,  but hard to work with.
I'd like that link Radar if you can find it.

Steve
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Offline Radar67

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Re: Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2006, 12:44:51 pm »
I had the PDF saved to my computer so I'll attach it here. It's a pretty simple process. I also have a link to plans to build your own vacuum press...which would be good to use in this case. It's from Joe Woodworkerjoewoodworker.com I've got my tubes cut and threaded, just waiting to order the kit.

Stew
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Offline Daren

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Re: Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2006, 06:01:53 pm »
Had guy the other day tell me that he puts his wood in the freezer before turning. Says it don't tear out as bad. If there is anything to this maybe someone will verify.

I got thinking about that, at first I figured it wouldn't work in my case because the wood is super dry-so it wouldn't freeze. But if I was looking for something homemade to soak them in, why not water? The water soaked into the softer wood like a sponge, and I threw them in the freezer.

I already had some blanks cut with the tube glued is that I had set aside because I was having troubles with them (hence the original question), why not try one? Won't cost nothing.

I figured the friction of the tools would thaw the wood before I got where I needed to be, it didn't. The heat caused by the friction of sanding dried the wood again.

Pen turning was the only place I was having so much trouble. I was able to turn them all the way down without tear out. You just have to really glue the blanks in to hold the little bit of wood that is left on the tubes.

There there are obvious disadvantages, like you can only drag one set out of the freezer at a time. But some advantages too, no worries chemicals in the wood making the finish fail if the stabilizer/varnish aren't compatible. And breathing those chemicals (even though I use special precaution with spalted wood anyway, but the frozen wood didn't create dust either)

I would call it a success overall. Easy and cheap, and I will do it with more.



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Offline metalspinner

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Re: Homemade stabilizer for spalted wood ?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2006, 08:52:01 pm »
Daren,
Did you let the wood dry any before you put on a finish?  The extra water you added didn't distort the blank?  That sounds very interesting.  I bet that would work with a big bowl blank as well.
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.