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Thread: my stabilizing technique

  1. #1
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    my stabilizing technique

    Please note, the title is NOT "How To Stabilize". This is an explanation of how I do it. There are many approaches to the process. I choose to use the KISS method. It works for me and I don't see any reason why it won't work for anyone.
    My pressure pot is an old paint pot that was given to me by friend Jay Caughron. In fact, he gave me two. I don't need two so sent one to another FW friend, Vaughn.
    My vac pump is a Gast with filters. I got from a friend who buys from commercial distress auctions for businesses gone bust. I got a great buy on it.
    Understand, any plastic parts in your pump will eventually be ruined by the solvent fumes. I know, one day, I will have to rebuild the pump. Fortunately, the Gast is designed to be rebuilt periodically.
    My solution is simple. I use scrap plexiglas and dissolve in straight Acetone. Before you ask, my source for plexiglas is a secret. I get free from a commercial source. But, I believe one could scrounge from local glass companies just by asking.
    There is no formula for percentage for the plexi/Aceton solution. I toss a few handfuls of plexi into the pot add Acetone and stir. It takes 24 to 48 hours for complete dissolving of the plexi. If there are no, or very little, solids left in the pot, it is ready.
    To stable, I just toss in the wood. Mostly I do pen blanks but have done pistol grips, blanks for duck calls and other small stuff. I once did a partially turned bowl that nearly filled the pot. Surprisingly, it stabled well and, I believe, all the way through.
    I use vacuum only. My pump pulls to 23 inches. For pen blanks a half hour is sufficient. But, I usually get busy with other tasks and leave as long as an hour.
    If you check the IAP http://www.penturners.org/ stabilizing forum, you will find there are as many theories about vacuum/pressure/time/solution/etc. as there are members.
    I like my results and see no reason to change.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the post Frank Can you add pigments to the Plexiglas mixture...dye, powder, colored Plexiglas
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  3. #3
    Not of late, but that used to was how I did it with the exception of the Belt and Suspenders Syndrome kinda guy I is.... I usually did it three imes for good measure... Then placed the wood chunk on an old wire fridge shelf to dry (harden)... I used either cheap sanding sealer or thinned old Poly.

    By the way, I didn't do pens, this was for bowl & vessel turnings... I turned a pen onetime, found it fun, then the scond one I found boring... More power to you Pen turners, they are loverly but... Geeze, how many ways can you turn a pen.... I know, all the arguments for wood species an odd material challenges... but the turning practice is the same (IMHO) Just not my cup of Cammamile (can't have caffine any more)
    Last edited by Bill Simpson; 12-12-2010 at 03:51 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burr View Post
    Thanks for the post Frank Can you add pigments to the Plexiglas mixture...dye, powder, colored Plexiglas
    Yes, some do it. But, the solution is fairly expensive. Color your solution and you are stuck with it unless you throw away the $$$$$$
    Acetone is $15.00 a gallon and I keep about 1 1/2 gal. or more in the pot. Plus the plexi is costly stuff if you have to buy.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
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    Frank, If I may, I think you might have left out a pertinent piece of information. It is my understanding and experience that you must get "non-silicon" plexi-glass My first attempt at making the solution ended up with a goopy mass in the bottom because the silicon won't allow the plexiglass to dissolve all the way. (or something like that) What one wants is the plain old generic plexiglass. I can't remember what the label difference was but I do remember that the stuff you want was the cheaper of the 2 versions of plexiglass commonly offered.

    Also, I found a hardware store that was keeping cut-off scraps of plexiglass and they were glad to clear out their bin for a few bucks.
    By the way thanks again for your note to me concerning your process.
    Last edited by Paul Downes; 12-14-2010 at 11:16 PM.
    I'm a certifiable tree hugger. (it's a poor mans way of determining DBH before cutting the tree down)

  6. #6
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    It is my understanding the 'wrong' kind of plexi is no longer made.
    Dunno if that is accurate, I picked that up at a penturning forum.
    What I get from my free source is OK.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7

    Good stuff!

    I made my pressure / vacuum pot and I can pull down to 25 inches. Currently I've been trying to us PR resin but I haven't had very good results. Maybe I'll try the plexi solution. How long will it last? I mean I have a couple good sources of plexi for around 2 bucks a pound for scrap. If I make this solution how long does it keep?

    Wondering if I can use the same pigments for that solution that I use for PR. Does anyone have an idea on that?
    Husband and Daddy is my primary job, the other thing I do is for money.
    www.blackswampwoodturning.webs.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Croy View Post
    I made my pressure / vacuum pot and I can pull down to 25 inches. Currently I've been trying to us PR resin but I haven't had very good results. Maybe I'll try the plexi solution. How long will it last? I mean I have a couple good sources of plexi for around 2 bucks a pound for scrap. If I make this solution how long does it keep?

    Wondering if I can use the same pigments for that solution that I use for PR. Does anyone have an idea on that?
    Drew, I can't answer that with scientific certainty. So, I'll make a stab at an answer based on my own form of twisted logic.
    Since the solution is a solid dissolved in a solvent, if anything was to go wrong (e.g. air getting to the solution) the solvent would evaporate and you would be left with the solid. And, I don't believe plexiglas will rot.
    In other words, I believe the solution will last indefinitely as long as it is kept in an air tight container. My solution is simply a continuation of the original I put in there about a year ago. I just add plexi and Acetone and keep using. Between uses I put the (hopefully) air tight lid back on the pot.
    So....Frank's sage advice for the day is.....don't sweat it.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9

    Vac time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Please note, the title is NOT "How To Stabilize". This is an explanation of how I do it. There are many approaches to the process. I choose to use the KISS method. It works for me and I don't see any reason why it won't work for anyone.
    My pressure pot is an old paint pot that was given to me by friend Jay Caughron. In fact, he gave me two. I don't need two so sent one to another FW friend, Vaughn.
    My vac pump is a Gast with filters. I got from a friend who buys from commercial distress auctions for businesses gone bust. I got a great buy on it.
    Understand, any plastic parts in your pump will eventually be ruined by the solvent fumes. I know, one day, I will have to rebuild the pump. Fortunately, the Gast is designed to be rebuilt periodically.
    My solution is simple. I use scrap plexiglas and dissolve in straight Acetone. Before you ask, my source for plexiglas is a secret. I get free from a commercial source. But, I believe one could scrounge from local glass companies just by asking.
    There is no formula for percentage for the plexi/Aceton solution. I toss a few handfuls of plexi into the pot add Acetone and stir. It takes 24 to 48 hours for complete dissolving of the plexi. If there are no, or very little, solids left in the pot, it is ready.
    To stable, I just toss in the wood. Mostly I do pen blanks but have done pistol grips, blanks for duck calls and other small stuff. I once did a partially turned bowl that nearly filled the pot. Surprisingly, it stabled well and, I believe, all the way through.
    I use vacuum only. My pump pulls to 23 inches. For pen blanks a half hour is sufficient. But, I usually get busy with other tasks and leave as long as an hour.
    If you check the IAP http://www.penturners.org/ stabilizing forum, you will find there are as many theories about vacuum/pressure/time/solution/etc. as there are members.
    I like my results and see no reason to change.
    Frank,
    You just throw the wood in the mix then vac the whole thing for 30 minutes? Am I reading this right?

    Thanks!
    Husband and Daddy is my primary job, the other thing I do is for money.
    www.blackswampwoodturning.webs.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Croy View Post
    Frank,
    You just throw the wood in the mix then vac the whole thing for 30 minutes? Am I reading this right?

    Thanks!
    Drew, you read it right.
    You said you had read many of the posts on IAP. I know you found there are three techniques for everyone posting. Some vac, some pressure, some alternate and do both, some howl at the moon and dance around rose petals.
    I simply fell back onto my high school physics classes that taught nature hates a vacuum. I figured: pull out the air and remaining moisture and it has to be replaced with something. And that 'something' is plexi-acetone mixture.
    I make mine by stopping adding plexi when no more will dissolve. The resulting solution isn't much thicker than water.
    Works for me.
    I just got back from a ten hour drive. This is my one and only post this eve. Will check in tomorrow a.m.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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