Cactus Juice vs Wood Juice vs Minwax

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Forum topic by Andybb posted 04-24-2018 02:21 AM 1562 views 0 times favorited 0 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2831 posts in 1451 days

04-24-2018 02:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe turning

Just getting into pen blank stabilization. Made a vac system last night and immersed spalted maple blanks and pulled a vacuum until it stopped bubbling. Used Minwax wood hardener as it was at the big box store and I wanted to see if it would work. Didn’t want to bake them as I figured that would be grounds for divorce or at lease a serious ass-chewing. (bought a cheap toaster oven at Goodwill for $9 today). I have no problem starting over. It was just an experiment.


1. Do you need to bake them since I used Minwax and do I still need to bake them since they will have been drying for 24hrs when I get home from work?

2. Is CJ the beat-all end-all product to use?
3. Just for fun I mixed in some red trans tint dye in another batch and let them percolate in the cham ber too. Is that a technique or was that a waste of time. The blanks looked red through and through when I checked this morning.
4. Didn’t put a gauge on my system as I figured that if it was bubbling like the ones on youtube it was sucking. I just let off a little pressure when it bubbled too much. Need to replace the 16oz jelly jar with a big pickle jar.a

EDIT – No need to respond. Just in case anybody else has the same question here are the responses I got from the penturners assn forum

Minwax doesn’t come close to Cactus Juice IMO. My pump also died the first time I tried stabilizing with Minwax. It may have been a coincidence, but I’ve read online that the fumes from Minwax can seize up a pump, especially the cheap ones, which it was. I now have a Robinair and use CJ exclusively. I also recommend getting an oven thermometer if you haven’t already. Toaster ovens are notoriously inaccurate and when using CJ you have to make sure it heats to the proper temp for the full curing time. I got one at Walmart for somewhere between $10-$20. I let the wood marinate overnight in a pressure pot after the bubbles stop coming out. You don’t need pressure but I figured it might help. Regardless, you want to let it soak after you release the vacuum. I’ve also read that more resin seeps in after releasing the vacuum than what actually penetrates while it’s under vacuum. I have no way of verifying this, but I’d rather listen to the experienced folks

Personally, I don’t think you can get a better product than Cactus Juice nor any better customer service than what Curtis Seebeck gives. You cannot go wrong using Cactus Juice….great product and great guy that sells it.
Temperature is important. Do not trust the temp dial on the oven. Good advice above about the oven thermometer. Let the wood soak for twice as long (or longer) than the time under vacuum.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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