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Old 08-29-2014, 03:56 PM
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miketheknife miketheknife is offline
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Home Stabilizing

I have just received a state of the art laboratory quality vacuum pump, 8CFM and 3 micron. I was wondering if anyone else out there has a similar type pump. What I am wanting to do with it is start doing some serious home stabilizing of wood for friends and maybe even sell some if the quality is good enough. I guess I am looking for any tips or tricks to home stabilizing. I will be construction a large pressure vessel that I can then place a smaller vessel in if I am doing a small batch of wood. I am the type of person that thinks, note the word think, that I can do something myself just as good as a commercial product. Most of the time I do not save much money but I do get a great satisfaction of having done it myself. That is why I have fallen in love with knife making. If anyone has any advice please feel free to let me know, even if it is to tell me I am crazy!

Thanks, Mike
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:56 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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I can offer my opinion that 90% of all home stabilizing efforts fall very short of commercial results. The difference comes in two major areas: one, the chemistry and two, the available pressure.

The professional chemistry is very expensive and has a short shelf life so you probably won't be using that. There is a good runner up though called Cactus Juice. That seems to be the best alternative available and reportedly does a very good job. Anything else, and I seriously mean anything else, besides the pro stuff or Cactus Juice and you would be wasting your time and money.

The second area is in the equipment. There is a limit to how much vacuum can be drawn, around 29 inches I think, but whatever it is almost any halfway decent vacuum pump can get there so that's the easy part. The professionals use a combination of vacuum and pressure but the pressure is far higher than the average guy can get with his little compressor - thousands of pounds. A really good home setup will force the goo into all the nooks and crannies in a piece of wood but the pro high pressure forces the goo into the woods cells.

I laugh when I read about how someone dyed a piece of wood after they stabilized it. Apparently, they misunderstand what stabilizing means ...


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Old 08-29-2014, 09:07 PM
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smithy smithy is offline
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I have used Cactus Juice and stabilize what I use myself. A word of not try to stabilize large blocks, like 4 x4". I tried, and the process took longer than it was worth doing. It works great for knife scales size and critter parts.

If I didn't already have the necessary equipment, it would not be cost effective for me. For me, it's more of a convenience thing.
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Old 08-30-2014, 07:55 AM
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miketheknife miketheknife is offline
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Thanks for the input guys! So it looks like Cactus Juice and to stabilize smaller bits and pieces.
Ray, I understand what you are saying about the vacuum. The pump I have is one of the profesional units that will draw down to almost 30 inches Hg at 3 microns. That is about as close to ultimate vacuum as you can get. A 3 micron pump will pull a 99.999% vacuum if, and this is a big if, you can build a leak proof container. I think I can get a good stabilizing with that vacuum. I may just run some test scales with Cactus Juice and see what happens. I may give some away here and let some of yall test it too. I am not looking to make money just learn how to do it myself.

Thanks again, Mike
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:37 PM
jemoran jemoran is offline
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Mike, just a note; your vacuum pump is only as good as the oil its using. The lower rated oils will vaporize at the vacuum you are pulling. The oil I buy is rated in Torr, I think the oil I use is 10 to the minus 6th torr.

As far as vacuum / pressure chambers, I cut a HP Helium cylinder is half and welded flanges on the cut ends. The vacuum chamber has a plastic window and an o-ring seal, The pressure chamber has a blank steel flange. I use Argon high pressure welding gas for the pressure.

Mike, I didn't have to go out and buy any of this stuff, it's stuff I already had and use. Like you I like to do things myself. My only investment is the time it took me to put things together. If I didn't already have a welding operation I would not go out and rent a bottle to pressurize stabilizing fluid. If I didn't already have a free cylinder to convert to vacuum and pressure chambers, I wouldn't go out and buy one to stabilize wood.

Having said all of that, I get good results. I section the wood and use an inverted metallurgical microscope to examine the results.

Good luck

John Moran
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Old 08-30-2014, 04:27 PM
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ATalley ATalley is offline
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Mike , a quick search in the general bargains sticky produced a thread from a member named Jon Kennedy. His email is In a post he said he's been stabilizing wood and other stuff for about 5years. The post I saw was posted in -April of last year.

I have seen a guy advertising clear glass stabilizing chambers for sale in two sizes. I couldn't find the add on here, but you might be able to google search 'glass stabilizing chambers' and find the add.

Good luck! I'd love to test some for you-!

I've been looking for burl every time I go in the woods, no luck so far. If I find any maybe I'll send it to ya!



"We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends." Shel Silverstein
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:17 AM
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miketheknife miketheknife is offline
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Thanks for all the tips! I have an old air pack tank from the fire department that I plan on turning into a chamber. I will just give it a shot and see what happens. You know what the famous last words of a redneck were dont ya? "hey yall watch this"! Its my moto.
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