Wood stabilizing #4: Second batch

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 12-24-2018 02:09 AM 1534 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Unwrapped and unplugged Part 4 of Wood stabilizing series Part 5: Dyeing experiments »

I stabilized another batch of wood this weekend. It included: butternut, salt cedar, cherry, citrus, spalted elm, eucalyptus, hackberry, ipe, African mahogany, hard maple, spalted maple, white oak, pear, and walnut.

I made a list, so I wouldn’t forget. Especially before sanding off the excess cactus juice, it can be hard to tell what’s what.

And here they are:

Butternut through ipe in the first photo, and ipe through walnut in the second. No huge surprises. Ipe remains hard and hard to work when stabilized. The eucalyptus I got from AZWoody is very pretty, as is the spalted maple I got from HokieKen. Butternut remains a favorite. Mahogany and pear will both probably find their way into future projects.

Next up, dyeing and pore-filling. Oak and mahogany are both interesting to me, especially if I get cool colors. And the citrus isn’t quite as yellow as I’d hoped, but I’ll keep playing with that.

That’s it for this time. Feel free to ask questions, but I’m figuring a lot of this out as I go, so the answer might be, “huh, I dunno.”

-- Dave - Santa Fe

2 comments so far

View robscastle's profile


8614 posts in 3695 days

#1 posted 12-24-2018 10:36 PM

Hello Dave,

Merry Christmas,
OK this “wood stabilising” blog attracted my curiosity so I went back and checked all the previous associated blogs to find out what it was all about, as like StefanG I had also never heard of the process.
So after reading up on it all I have formed the following opinion (and thats mine of course)

1. That the process is designed for knife makers who use wood for the handles.
2. Or to assist “crazy” wood turners who insist on turning pieces of timber designed to possibly impale you in the process, as it hardens the timber also.
3. The process allows resin (AKA Cactus juice) (at first I thought had taken up selling Snake Oil) to permiate the timber to,
A. Harden it (as referenced above) and
B. To make it waterproof.

Its not something I will be trying in the near future, for the following reasons

Mainly using the wifes kitchen or even going in there is life shortening, let alone
reading about some of the examples of death wishes guys use as below:
1. Heating up metal plates in the oven then using the bench to do veneering work.
2. Welding RHS in thongs in the kitchen
3. Using the microwave to accelerate seasoning of timber.
and now the latest using the toaster to stabilise wood !!
As for the excuse I will buy one for the workshop later that could result in me being found with my head sabre sawed during the night.

Otherwise a very educating blog you have prepared, well done!

You have selected a very nice range of timbers and I look forward to seeing the resulting project post.

-- Regards Rob

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10478 posts in 2073 days

#2 posted 12-25-2018 12:21 AM

Merry Christmas, Rob!

Yes, the primary purpose seems to be making knife handles. I have friends who do that, and who may help finance my experiments if I help provide them with stock. We’ll see how that turns out.

But there is also a company, Blue Spruce Toolworks, who make resin-infused mallets (among other tools) and one of the things I’m looking into is whether I can make things like side escapement moulding planes out of resin-infused wood. Something easier to come by, perhaps, than quarter-sawn beech. Or at least something unique.

I’m also about to embark on experiments with dyeing, perhaps not to the extreme that Mad Scientist Knife Scales does, but perhaps as a way to get interesting pieces of wood for box lids and such.

Or perhaps I’ll end up carving spoons and make resin-infused wooden spoons which will stand up to being run through a dishwasher, as suburban housewives sometimes seem to do.

I’m not entirely sure at this point, so I’ve tried a large number of different kinds of wood, and have been playing with the samples, carving them and attempting to work them with hand tools and figure out if this is useful to me or not. I really like, for example, the way that stabilizing “evens out” the early and late growth in pine, making the wood much more pleasant to carve. I also am working on pore-filling oak, in order to have something more suitable to finer detail work. And ipe is nearly indestructible to begin with, so I threw some in to see exactly how hard it would be after stabilizing, I need to play with that more yet. At this point, I can say that ipe’s ability to dull tools seems unaffected by infusing it with resin.

I look forward to the project post as well. I wonder what it will be!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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