Those of you who read my review about Ultraseal, version #1, know there was considerable unhappiness with the product. Essentially, it never really cured or set-up despite even heat treating beyond the specified required amount of time and temp.
A few days ago, I received a sample of Ultraseal, version #2 to try.
Since my review of #1 had been negative, I was anxious to test this. My reviews are honest but I donít really take pleasure in knocking a product.
This test was planned to be on maple. But, I had a couple dried corn cobs on hand that were just begging to be stabled. So, I turned those down to get rid of soft material that would just soak up and waste the Ultraseal solution.
I put the blanks into a glass container in my paint pot, closed tight and proceeded to pull 23 inches for 45 minutes. My plan had been to pull for 30 minutes, about ten longer than recommended. But, I got distracted with another chore and they stayed in vacuum for the 45 minutes.
I released the pressure and allowed them to Ďsoakí for a while. Personally, I donít think this Ďsoakingí makes a whit of difference. If the solution didnít penetrate under pressure, it sure isnít going to all by itself.
I then took the wet blanks to our oven, which had been pre-heated to 225 degrees and let them Ďcookí for nearly an hour. Note: This is a heat curing product, not an air cured or dried solution.
When I removed, there still were some fumes gassing off and I got a serious snoot full. I would not recommend you trying this. Bad news.
By the way, this version has the same Ďorangeí aroma as version #1 but not as pungent and it didnít linger in the kitchen as long.
After they cooled, I took a good look. The blanks, both cob and maple did not change appearance. The US #1 test considerably darkened my Redbud test blanks.
In fact, they did not look affected or changed at all. Except on the bottom where excess solution had puddled before it cured and hardened. You can see this in the attached photo.
The cobs were, no doubt, very hard even though their appearance was no different than a non-stabled cob.
OK, at this point, I still didnít know if the stable test had been successful. The solution did seem to cure as it was supposed to, unlike version #1, which, to this day, is still tacky.
So, I chucked up one of the maple blanks and turned a portion of it to round and down a bit.
It turned OK, a bit hard but this didnít tell me anything because maple is quite hard. The appearance didnít give a clue either, just looked like maple. That is good because, if it stables as it should, you have a predictable product and your wood will look like the wood you started with.
But, I still didnít know if the stable went all the way through the wood and did itís job.
So, I sanded the turned portion. First with 220, then 320 then all the way through the Micro Mesh grits. The last few grits gave the blank a distinctive sheen. Finally, I polished with a hunk of wool blanket, a technique which may be unique to me.
The result is a fairly shiny piece of wood. It looks very good and I believe the looks are the result of the stable solution penetrating completely. But, the appearance is so identical to a non-stabled wood that I have to play it conservatively and not make a flat-out statement that the solution penetrated completely.
I even center drilled the turned blank and caught the dust on a clean piece of paper. From appearance, I still couldnít make a decision whether the solution had penetrated and I couldnít tell by feel or smell either. I tried.
Donít interpret this as me saying it did not penetrate. I simply donít know definitively. It may have and the quality of not affecting appearance (that is a good thing) is what might be the cause of the confusion.
Iím sure the cobs are penetrated completely. Put it this way, donít put them in the outhouse, the family will get real mad at you.
At this point, I will say that version #1 can be classed as an El Floppo. I wouldnít use it under any circumstances.
Version #2 appears to be a good product, provided it does penetrate completely. Iím curious to see what other reviewers have to say about their experiences.
Prices for the product have not been published. So, for now, it can only be said that this product should be attractive because it is ready to use. Many who do home stabilizing mix up their own concoctions, mostly Plexiglas dissolved in Acetone. That takes time and not everyone has access to scrap Plexi. So this product, quite possibly, has a market waiting.