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Thread: Stablizing Pen Blanks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Murfreesboro. Tn
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    Stablizing Pen Blanks

    I have been reading Lathe Land for about a year and you all have solved a lot of problems for me. Now It's time to ask one. When you stablize a pen blank using CA glue, why does it help to use a vacuum pump instead of just soaking it? Also how long do you leave the vacuum on when putting the glue on the wood? How thick a pice of wood can you stablize?

    One last question: Has anyone heard of taking acrylic plastic and desolving it in acetone and stablizing pen blanks with that solution.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    lutefisk capitol, USA
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    Yes you can. There is a tutorial on www.thepenshop.net on doing the plexiglass/acetone stabilization including how to build a pressure pot.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Rooney View Post
    ...why does it help to use a vacuum pump instead of just soaking it? ...
    As I understand it, the vacuum helps pull the air out of the voids in the blank, and the air gets replaced by the stabilizing material. It just helps ensure the stabilizer penetrates deep into the wood. I'll leave the other questions to others who know more than I do. Dale's link to the pen making forum should get you pointed in the right direction.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
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    You want to make sure to use non-siliconized plexiglass. That is the cheaper grade anyway. I pick up scraps at a local big-box store. The plain plex will disolve in ascetone but the siliconized stuff will turn a goopy white mess. I have some made but have'nt used it yet. It is about the consistancy of syrup.
    The vacuum is used to pull the mix into the wood. Most folks I know doing this also pressurize the pot after it has been under vacuum for a while.
    Most folks are also using a harbor freight pressure pot. I don't know any who use CA glue AND vacuum. I use CA glue right on the lathe when I run into a problem spot in a pen. Punky wood or cracks are the normal situation that calls for some CA glue. Some people also use minwax wood hardener to stabalize wood. Another method utlizes Alumilite resin with Vacuum. Alumilite is a 2 part poly resin (I think it's poly). I cast pen blanks with another brand of poly resin that takes a few drops of activator per ounce. It is generaly too viscuss to get descent penetration into wood. The white alumilite is water consistancy.

  5. #5
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    Dale and Paul beat me to it with the best responses. Almost everyone that stabilizes has his own secret receipie. Let us know how it works. I'm looking for a used paint pot and will be plunging into this business shortly.

  6. #6
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    lutefisk capitol, USA
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    Frank, I have a lead on some used pots. I will let you know what I find. Can't cost too much to ship aluminum.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Johnson View Post
    Frank, I have a lead on some used pots. I will let you know what I find. Can't cost too much to ship aluminum.
    Great. Give me an e-holler.

  8. #8
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    Murfreesboro. Tn
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    Thanks everyone for the help. This was my first post and a great experience.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Don't ever hesitate to ask questions here, Pat. We'll give you plenty of answers, even if we don't know 'em.

    Seriously, I'd guess for every one person who posts a question, there are at least ten people who were wondering the same thing, but felt uncomfortable about asking the question. And over time, a hundred people will learn from the single question, and the thread gets found via searches.

    Thanks for asking the question.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
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    Yep and welcome aboard Pat. Feel free to join in these here discussions. If you need help interpreting Larry's posts, well you are on your own there!

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