How To Stabilize Wood – Full Guide 2021

What does it mean to stabilize wood?

Wood stabilization commonly leads to reinforcing wood on internal defects or weaknesses. In setting, stabilization may indicate anything from loading cracks with epoxy resin impregnated wood. Resins are the DIY wood stabilizer used for this process.

How long does it take to stabilize wood?

It takes 4-6 hours for wood on the low quality. Wood on the high end consumes about 24 hours to stabilize. For high-end wood, the process to take a day is that the whole air must be evacuated from the wood for the stabilization process to be successful.

How can I stabilize wood for cheap?

If you are looking for a few kinds of cheap, homemade options to expensive resins, you might need to try good old wood glue diluted out with water and vinegar. Also, you might require to try out diluted hide glue. Wood commonly wicks in the liquid into the end grain.

How do you stabilize wood with resin?

It is the most common substance called cactus juice(resin). Cactus juice is heat activated, so you have to heat this for it to harden; it is just a one part resin it is not an epoxy where you have to mix the two this will sit by itself and absorb into the wood it is also a low viscosity almost like water so it will get into the pores of the wood and this is great for stabilizing large blocks and getting things deep inside the wood and even like in the mallet I had a cactus juice was thin enough to suck through the block of wood (“resin impregnated wood”) even though it was a significantly block this is the one most often used for turns it also ends up being a little bit softer than epoxies.

How To Stabilize Wood

Wood Stabilizing

Being woodturners, we lead to hold on to every slightest scrap of wood in the shop. Frequently, we discover a nice piece of wood that is too soft or punky to turn. These are the pieces we hesitantly throw away since they are useless. Or can they? We have all noticed commercially stabilized burl wood blanks for sale, but now there are products ready to stabilize your blanks at residence, and it is easier than you may think. And with a variety of dyes and scents to pick from, you can improve the wood in ways you never thought possible.

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What is wood stabilizing?

The fundamental law of wood stabilizing is to get a piece of soft or punky wood and infuse it with resin to create a stable, rigid wood blank that is safe to turn. The resin removes air pockets everywhere the grain structure, forming a dense blank that is nearly impenetrable to moisture variations and polished to a high gloss.

Equipping the wood blanks

The first step in stabilizing a wood blank is to ensure the blank is dry. A wet blank is not suitable for stabilizing. Utilize a moisture meter to check that the moisture content of the wood is under 10%. To speed up the drying method, rough cut your blank lightly oversize and put it on a drying rack to enable airflow on all sides. You can also dry blanks in a furnace or oven. Give it time; drying too fast will result in the blank cracking.

Custom Blanks (Optional)

One of our preferred ideas about stabilizing is the ability to dye stabilized wood blanks. It is easy, and the possibilities are endless. Using Stick Fast coloring stain, mix the color and resin at a ratio of ¼ tablespoon of coloring stain per 1 quart of resin. Mix completely. Add more dye for a more bright color.

Get ready to stabilize.

So the blanks are nice and dry; it is the perfect time to stabilize. Here, we will be using the Holdfast Vacuum Stabilization Chamber Kit, a wood stabilizing kit. This kit comprises a stainless steel pot, inner chamber, anti-float plate, and vacuum generator. For this instance, we will leave the wood naturally. Resins are the DIY wood stabilizer used for this process.

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  1. Put the inner chamber inside the stainless steel pot.
  2. Lay the stabilized wood blanks into the inner chamber and use the anti-float plate to hold the blanks submerged through stabilization.
  3. Fill the inner chamber with sufficient resin to completely immerse the blanks with 1″ of resin on the blank’s head.
  4. Don’t worry; it is possible to use resin again.
  5. Seal the chamber and connect the vacuum lines.
  6. Turn ON the vacuum generator at the lowest setting and gradually increase the power to complete.
  7. It limits the resin from foaming too promptly and making a big mess.
  8. Depending on the thickness and kind of blank, the vacuum run between 30 minutes to an hour.
  9. Initially, the resin will foam due to air being drawn from the blanks.
  10. Maintain the vacuum till you see significantly fewer air bubbles exiting the blank.
  11. Tapping or lightly shaking the chamber supports release air more instantly from the blank.
  12. Once the bubbling is minimum or has stopped, turn off the vacuum generator and thoughtfully remove the lid.
  13. You might see that not much resin seems to have been vacuumed in the wood.
  14. Because the wood does not soak up enough resin during under vacuum
  15. It soaks up the resin if the atmospheric pressure is released back into the chamber.
  16. Leave the blanks to soak in the resin for a half hour or so on.
  17. After soaking, transfer the anti-float plate and verify that the blanks do not float.
  18. If they float, replicate the vacuum and soaking process.
  19. Once the blanks no longer glide, separate the blanks from the chamber and remove the excess resin.
  20. Pour the residual resin into a jar for re-use.
  21. Rinse the chamber pot with soap and water before the resin begins to gum up.
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Curing the blanks

Now the blanks are full of resin; it is the perfect time to cure the resin.

  1. Cover each blank separately in aluminum foil.
  2. Set the wrapped blanks into an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees F. We highly suggest using a cheap toaster oven preferably than your kitchen oven.
  3. Use an oven thermostat to ensure the temperature is accurate; too light or too significant heat will exhaust the curing process.
  4. Pen blank size parts must be baked for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Larger pieces will need more time.
  6. Verify the blanks after 30 minutes to notice if the resin has cured.
  7. The cured resin is complex and seems like a crystal.
  8. Suppose the resin is tranquil wet and placed the blanks back into the oven until the resin is fully cured.
  9. Now the resin is cured, make the rest of the blanks for 24 to 48 hours before using.
  10. Take care while turning your stabilized burl wood blank, the resin presents the blank more brittle, and it turned like an acrylic blank.

Items Used

  • Holdfast Vacuum Stabilization Chamber Kit ( wood stabilizing kit )
  • Stabilizing Resin – Stick Fast or Cactus Juice
  • Coloring Dye for Stabilizing Resin
  • Safety equipment – Nitrile Gloves, Eye Protection
  • Air Compressor
  • Oven (capable of 200 degrees F)




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