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Wood stabilizing #7: Memorial Day spalted birch and maple

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 06-02-2019 12:04 AM 1632 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Spalted elm and dyes Part 7 of Wood stabilizing series no next part

Over Memorial Day weekend, I stabilized some more wood. I had some eucalyptus from Arizona that a co-worker wanted stabilized. I forgot to take pictures of it before giving it to him, but with a wood as hard as that eucalyptus is, most of what you accomplish by stabilizing it with cactus juice is filling voids. But it’s also brittle, and we were hoping it would be more workable after stabilizing. I’ll update when I hear more about that.

I also did some spalted birch, which was about as light as balsa after it was completely dried. As you would expect, it soaked up a lot of cactus juice, but it’s nice and solid and pretty workable now.

None of those pieces are quite big enough for a saw handle, unless I do the stubby handles that fit the Veritas backsaws. I might just.

There were also two tiny pieces of birch from a log I carved on a bit during last summer’s vacation up north. These might make knife scales.

And finally, there are three pieces of maple. One was spalted, and the other two were still pretty sound. I stuck them all in some blue-dyed cactus juice for about three hours, baked them, then stabilized them in the vacuum pot with the second batch of birch and clear juice. I think they’re pretty, but I need to remember to start with bigger pieces. At least one of them will probably make a through-tang knife handle, though.

-- Dave - Minneapolis



7 comments so far

View oldrivers's profile

oldrivers

1673 posts in 1954 days


#1 posted 06-02-2019 03:54 AM

looks really good you dud well.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

8387 posts in 2431 days


#2 posted 06-02-2019 12:33 PM

You’re doing well with the stabilizing Dave. That maple will be worth its price in gold.

-- 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


#3 posted 06-02-2019 03:07 PM

Thanks, gents!

I’m not sure about gold, Dave, but the prettiest of the maple pieces would bring $25 or so. Maybe not quite worth the effort, but if it was a little bigger, it’d make two sets of scales and maybe be worth $50. I think that makes it worth the effort.

But at the moment, I’m making things for my own use or a few local buddies, who are mostly swapping spalted logs for stabilized pieces. Now I just need room to store the stuff! ;-)

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2654 posts in 1208 days


#4 posted 06-03-2019 06:47 AM

Hay DP, can you stabilise a lame duck?

When you say small pieces one can only guess the size base on… well what are the dimensions?

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3760 posts in 970 days


#5 posted 06-03-2019 10:29 AM

LBD, The birch are mostly under an inch thick, and about 4×6 inches (25×100x150mm). The two tiny birch pieces are maybe 3/8×1-1/4×4 inches – 10×30x100mm. The rightmost maple piece is about 1-1/4 inch square by 5 long. 30×30x125 mm. The others are wider but thinner. Maybe 1-3/4×3/4×5 inches, or 45×20x120mm.

One of the larger birch pieces had a crack inside it that I only found when I sawed it open to make knife scales, and so ended up in the trash, and another made the small chef’s knife I made yesterday.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2654 posts in 1208 days


#6 posted 06-03-2019 12:22 PM

That makes a cool small collection…

Noticed you made the knife but didn’t comment in case you used it on me. Not only am I duck… I’m also a chicken!


..... One of the larger birch pieces had a crack inside it that I only found when I sawed it open…..
- Dave Polaschek

You should’ve glued it back together and sawed it again to see if the crack was still there…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View mafe's profile

mafe

12042 posts in 3477 days


#7 posted 06-04-2019 08:50 PM

I love spalted wood, the fact that something breaking down, adds beauty is such a fine thought.
When you the stabilize it, it is like holding on to that, or freezing a moment of time.
Wonderful.
Best thoughts dear Dave,
Mads

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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