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Wood stabilizing #6: Spalted elm and dyes

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 01-22-2019 01:35 AM 778 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Dyeing experiments Part 6 of Wood stabilizing series Part 7: Memorial Day spalted birch and maple »

I did some more experimenting this weekend.

First up was some spalted elm for the surprise swap. I think I’ve got some stuff I can use!

Next some rotted oak. We were interested to see just how spongy the wood could be and still be worth stabilizing. I’m not sure it’s worth it, but I’m glad I tried it.

Then some spalted sweetgum. This shows a lot of promise, and I’m going to need to get a bunch more of it, I think.

And then the dyed wood. They are, top to bottom, left column: spalted oak, mahogany (2x), spalted elm (2x), spalted sweet gum and spalted maple; then right column: rock maple, spalted sweet gum, and apple.

I think I’ve got a couple in there that might be worth selling. I’m going to talk to a few other folks, and work on securing a bunch more of the spalted sweetgum, since I really like the way that came out. I also found it interesting that the mahogany looks lighter after stabilizing it with black dyed cactus juice. I’ve got some furniture that’s made from pore-filled mahogany, and this kind of has that look to it. And the apple (I used sap wood, rather than heart wood) was just kind of blah. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but now I know.

-- Dave - Minneapolis



8 comments so far

View oldrivers's profile

oldrivers

1673 posts in 1954 days


#1 posted 01-22-2019 02:26 AM

Man you have got it going on, very interesting project, may I say you have some good looking wood as a result. keep us posted.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

2788 posts in 2736 days


#2 posted 01-22-2019 02:41 AM

Is the apple in the bottom left? The red looks interesting as does the one above it. Actually, all of them look interesting. You should try some chestnut or red elm. Both are fairly open grain and should really absorb a lot of stabilizer.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View summerfi's profile

summerfi

4245 posts in 2075 days


#3 posted 01-22-2019 03:15 AM

Watching this series with interest, Dave. I’ve been thinking about getting set up to do this myself, just for my own use. When I look at eBay, I see so many stabilized wood pieces for sale. How easy do you think it would be to sell these with so much already on the market?

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

6131 posts in 2592 days


#4 posted 01-22-2019 06:22 AM

Very good work Dave,
I get the distinct impression we may be about to see a stabilised saw handle soon!

-- Regards Rob

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3760 posts in 970 days


#5 posted 01-22-2019 07:56 AM

Thanks, all. It’s been fun experimenting, but it’s also a lot of work. I’ve burned through two sander belts cleaning up blanks before realizing I should leave them a little oversized and clean them up with the bandsaw instead.

Live and learn.

Is the apple in the bottom left? The red looks interesting as does the one above it.

Bottom left is spalted maple from Kenny. The one above it is spalted sweetgum. The apple is on the bottom right, and came out pretty blah (both in red and black).

How easy do you think it would be to sell these with so much already on the market?

I’ve got a couple friends making knives who are buying a fair amount, Bob. There are also others here in MN who might buy preferentially from someone who shows up to their monthly knife-makers guild meeting. We’ll see, I guess. If you see something that interests you, PM me and we can talk. I’m not quite read to tackle saw handles, but that’s one of my goals.

I get the distinct impression we may be about to see a stabilised saw handle soon!

We may, Rob. I’m still working on my project for the surprise swap, which will use that spalted elm. The stuff is too soft for tool handles unstabilized, but it seems like it’ll last.

I’ve got two interesting pieces of apple knots that’ll get stabilized clear and a bunch of elm burl I got off eBay that will be done with red for the next batch. A saw handle is a pretty good sized piece, so I’ve been reluctant to tackle something that big until I get some of the simple issues out of the way. Also, bigger pieces take longer under vacuum and longer to soak and longer to cure, so they require more time. Easily double or triple the time needed for a blank big enough for knife scales.

So hopefully some time this spring for saw handles or blanks that might interest Bob. Some time soon the first knife made with one of my blanks will be done, and I’ll be sure to post a picture. Or project if I get done before my friends do.

Next order of juice I’m going to get a couple more dyes, too. Green and yellow, maybe?

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

8387 posts in 2431 days


#6 posted 01-22-2019 03:03 PM

Those are something Dave. I’m thinking of doing some of this. You sure have my attention.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3760 posts in 970 days


#7 posted 01-22-2019 09:26 PM

Thanks, Dave. If you’re interested in something and don’t want to fiddle with it, PM me and let me know what you’re after. Here’s a couple more pictures (taken under better light) from this batch. The red & black piece of maple is 1-5/8 square by about 6 long.

Just got my first refill of vacuum pump oil today, so apparently I’ll be doing at least a few more batches.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3760 posts in 970 days


#8 posted 04-04-2019 10:48 AM

Half of that blue piece (the bluer end) of sweet gum ended up in a carving knife and the other blacker half will make another one soon.

The red spalted maple ended up in a nice knife some friends of mine made.

The elm ended up being the sides in two planes: one blockier, and one more streamlined.

I’m hoping to get another batch started either this weekend or next. With the weather being nice enough that I can open the big garage door and keep working, even if the vacuum pump is putting oil in the air, it’s a little more tempting to mess with it. Plus I’m finally getting the best pieces used in stuff.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

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