New at stabilizing wood.

whisperer

Member
I must’ve been living under a rock the last few years. I signed up here at KD and have been reading ever since about “stabilizing “ wood.
Tell me about this? Is this a vacuum tank full of epoxy that pulls it all the way into the fibers? Enlighten me.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
search the site...

Here's just one link from searching:


Then you'll prolly have questions....Welcome aboard!
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Here's the place to read about home stabilizing:

As said, home stabilizing works just fine on open pore woods. If you've got as much as 10 to 20 lb of wood it's less expensive to send to K&G or other professional places.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
You also might ask yourself why you need to stabilize wood. Granted there are some woods that do need to be stabilized to make good knife handles but there are knives that have been around for decades with ordinary hickory handles. There are also some wood that are about as stable as they get just the way they are.

Doug
 

whisperer

Member
Thanks all for your replies. Doug, that’s sorta where my head is at, great woods work for a long time. That being said if there is a new technology that makes good better then heck yeah, I will use it. I could pull a vacuum on a chamber and do that without too much trouble, just don’t know the technique or specific info.. I did do a full search here and still don’t have a “walk through “ , or I am the one that just isn’t getting it......
 
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Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
Fwiw...home "stabilizing" is not even in the same galaxy as professional. The pros use a few thousand lbs of pressure to impregnate the wood. cactus Juice work off a vacuum. It does indeed penetrate but is difficult to get complete penetration on some woods. (though the harder woods really do not need it). About 4 years ago I started testing Cactus Juice. I had bought some professionally stabilized chunks of wood and they were SO heavy and dense and polished amazing that I wanted to try it myself. I added red dye to my mix as my first batch did not seem to penetrate. The wood was birch and maple. I never could get the color to the center of the maple. The birch would if I drew vacuum on and off for about 4 days. Vacuum on for most of the day and off at night. It was not as dense as the pro job and obviously too much rigamarole. Definitely better than just sealing and finishing but not where I could tell a customer it was a pro job.

I've since kind of tried to use woods that seal well and take a nice polyurethane finish. Walnut, Maple, ironwood...I do plan to send some wood out for stabilizing when finances allow. I am pretty happy with what I get now though...
 
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whisperer

Member
I didn’t see on the cactus juice site what kind of resin they’re using? Epoxy, polyester etc..
I am a industrial maintenance tech and could certainly build a high pressure chamber if I needed to. Work with stuff like this all the time. Just need more info.... :)
 

whisperer

Member
“Stuff like this” meaning high pressure systems, tanks, pumps and piping etc.. Not trying to be a know it all. I know little about stabilizing.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
I was watching Path of Fire on You Tube and the lady who runs it actually stabilized a piece of lump charcoal. I don't know if she is fixing to go forward with it but she thinks it's solid enough to make a handle with. Of course I imagine that the block ended up being more cured resin than charcoal. She said it was pretty heavy compared to how it was before stabilizing. All one needs to ask is why one wants to do it.

Doug
 

whisperer

Member
Lol. I’m thinking that one could “stabilize” about anything but basically we would be just encapsulating whatever in a resin handle.
I’m guessing that the green juice is some kind of low viscosity MMA acrylic water based sealer. Probably foundation sealer of some kind.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
“Stuff like this” meaning high pressure systems, tanks, pumps and piping etc.. Not trying to be a know it all. I know little about stabilizing.
If I had the option I would build a test chamber that would both hold a vacuum and pressure. I would draw a vacuum on material submerged in resin and let it sit until I was fairly sure most of the air was removed from inside the material then I would release the vacuum and add pressure. I would let it sit under pressure (time to be determined) then I would cure. Because I do not have the fab skills to do that, Boss’ method currently works the best for me. I bet you a fat man eating a donut that way would work very well for home use.
 

fitzo

KNIFE MAKER
I didn’t see on the cactus juice site what kind of resin they’re using? Epoxy, polyester etc..
I am a industrial maintenance tech and could certainly build a high pressure chamber if I needed to. Work with stuff like this all the time. Just need more info.... :)

Cactus Juice is methacrylate. Superglue-ish. Even with full penetration the difference in absorbed mass vs an epoxy will be much less. Doesn't necessarily mean anything bad, but doesn't mean not without looking inside. I just purchased a couple blocks of stabilized spalted maple which must have been done with MA. The mass of the blocks was notably light.

I would LOVE to get a look at K&G's setup and find out what kind of pump they're using that pushes 4k PSI. And, I'd like to look at their pressure bomb, too, and see how they seal it. Cheap paint pot gaskets pooch out at 125PSI. It took $$$ Teflon-coated Vespel to seal columns that held 2500PSI.
I used high pressure liquid pumps in my lab for many years, but at lower volumes/sizes than doing batches of wood. Real curious about their pump. 4K PSI takes effort.

I've got a vaccuum setup and paint pot from trying Nelsonite years ago. Bob Hensarling and I were experimenting with mesquite burl impregnation. Didn't work well. Stoopidly, didn't learn my lesson, and a pint of Cactus Juice isn't so outrageous to try on a bit of curly maple.
Sometimes "scientific curiosity" is a PITA. :)
 
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KenH

Well-Known Member
Mike, are you SURE Cactus Juice is CA glue? "IF" I remember correctly It's a two part resin that requires heat to cure. It comes premixed in small qualities, but larger (over half gal) comes in 2 parts for mixing when used. If Cactus Juice is used properly with a good vacuum pot it will give 100% penetration and the finished block will sink in water, or at worse float even with water - just like the K&G blocks do. The BIG difference is K&G can stabilized wood that cactus juice won't even touch - like black walnut. As mentioned before, use a good open pore wood, hold under vacuum for several hours, then soak for several hours and you'll get pretty good results.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
Sometimes "scientific curiosity" is a PITA.
Sometimes....? Lol.

If I need stabilized from now on...I'm going "pro".

however...I am playing with getting my polyurethane finish deeper...but not stabilized. (gonna thin and use vacuum, then "cook")

Fitzo...do you think the 4k psi claim is creative advertising?
 

fitzo

KNIFE MAKER
Mike, are you SURE Cactus Juice is CA glue? "IF" I remember correctly It's a two part resin that requires heat to cure. It comes premixed in small qualities, but larger (over half gal) comes in 2 parts for mixing when used. If Cactus Juice is used properly with a good vacuum pot it will give 100% penetration and the finished block will sink in water, or at worse float even with water - just like the K&G blocks do. The BIG difference is K&G can stabilized wood that cactus juice won't even touch - like black walnut. As mentioned before, use a good open pore wood, hold under vacuum for several hours, then soak for several hours and you'll get pretty good results.

Isn't this the stuff, Ken? https://conestogaworks.com/articles/Cactus Juice MSDS.pdf
 
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whisperer

Member
So with what I’m reading about Cactus Juice it appears that it’s Methacrylate Esters or MMA. Even the front of the bottle says that. That MSDS says it’s not soluble in water... but the site says “water clean up” so I’m confused. I haven’t actually used it so does it actually wash off with water before it’s cured?
4000 psi is really easy to achieve using a hydraulic intensifier and a low psi pump. No volume needed really. Heck, you can buy a 4000 psi pressure washer for les than $1000.
 

fitzo

KNIFE MAKER
So with what I’m reading about Cactus Juice it appears that it’s Methacrylate Esters or MMA. Even the front of the bottle says that. That MSDS says it’s not soluble in water... but the site says “water clean up” so I’m confused. I haven’t actually used it so does it actually wash off with water before it’s cured?
4000 psi is really easy to achieve using a hydraulic intensifier and a low psi pump. No volume needed really. Heck, you can buy a 4000 psi pressure washer for les than $1000.
I would be very interested in seeing how this cleans up with water.

Thank you for mentioning the hydraulic intensifier. Not something one sees in a laboratory. I had dual piston pumps with sapphire pistons, ruby check valves, and vespel seals.
A question, then: is this device capable of creating and maintaining a static pressure against a liquid without flow? I am having a hard time getting the correct words for that, but hope context clears it up.
For that matter, anyone know what methacrylate does at 4k PSI? Some compounds contain surprises. LOL
Really interesting concept and device, though. Sorta made my day to find out about them. Thanks! :)
 
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