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Old 06-04-2019, 08:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I was thinking a 10% reduction like clearcoat. Just enough to bring the consistency from honey to syrup. I was reading in some boat forums and found info on using a mixture of xylene and epoxy to stabilize wood. I read some that also used denatured alcohol or acetone, but xylene seems to be the better choice.

I was considering trying to set up a vibrating table to help get the air out. The test piece I did ended up with some small voids along the outside, but that could have also been because I moved it around a bit after I poured it in.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I've not done any casting in a few years but Alumilite was the company I had the most luck with. Understand the wood/material you are going to cast, casting epoxies will not get absorbed into the material very well, not their purpose (thin epoxy only if the manufacturer has instructions the chemical balance to cast epoxy is finicky). If you are going to cast something that is soft/weak/brittle to begin with into a blank I recommend you stabilize the material first. The Cactus Juice system with a vacuum chamber is really the best way to go but there are other options. Many times you can just buy wood hardener and submerge the material for a few days the take it out and let it sit on the shelf for a few more days. You need to make sure your wood/pine cone/etc. is done curing before you cast in epoxy. If you cast it before it is done curing it will screw up your cast.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm thinking I might try wood hardener just to be on the safe side. The cactus juice is just more than I want to invest. The piece I have is good and solid, but it still couldn't hurt. I'm going to drill into the top side of the wood where will be covered to give the epoxy more bite.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Macdave06 View Post
I'm thinking I might try wood hardener just to be on the safe side.
Wood hardener is great, but I would again recommend using a vacuum chamber.
It doesn't need to be fancy or "supper vacuum" but it will help a lot get it absorbed and lessen the amount or trapped air bubbles.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Macdave06 View Post
It seems to be done pretty regularly for turning projects. I was under the impression that the epoxy would soak into the pores of the wood and pretty much prevent any kind of shrinking/swelling. What I'll probably do after I have it shaped is either take it to work and have our painter clear it, or brush on another coat of epoxy resin.

I've actually been leaning towards using a piece of a log. I cut chunks years ago to set vases on (kind of like a giant coaster)and still have a few. I figured just cut 3 square sides and let the epoxy fill the fourth.
You needn't worry about the wood swelling, as most people who use Alumilite and wood seal the project in CA glue.

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I'm with you Macdave.

"Stabilized" burl (whatever that actually means) is all over YouTube. I think it looks amazing.
The one thing no one has mentioned, with Cactus Juice, you need to bake the piece to harden the resin.

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I love those ones they do with pinecones.
I've done pinecones, made several pen blanks. They turn out awesome. I've also done banksia pod, and that is amazing as well, though harder to work with. As long as you seal your project with CA glue after, you really don't need to stabilize the pinecone. I've had no problems in the past, before I started to stabilize with Cactus Juice in a vacuum.

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Originally Posted by XEMON View Post
I have done my own stabilized knife handle (for my own knife).
Epoxy is not really the best, it's too thick and won't flow into the pores of the wood well ...

You need"cactus juice" resin and a vacuum pump.
The juice is much more fluid and takes longer to cure.
I made a changer in which I drop the wood, submerge it in juice and then pull a valve on the chamber. I love the vacuum run. For 12 to 24h before pulling the wood out.

If you shape the piece before stabilizing it it will save you some headheack ...
If you plan on lathe work, stabilize first.

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The cactus juice is just more than I want to invest.
That's the nice thing about Cactus Juice. After you submerge and vacuum chamber your block of wood, all the resin that isn't used, can be then reused again and again. There is very little "waste" where as all the epoxy you use on a project gets used up. The shelf life is one year when you put in the activator, and you need to keep it below 85 degrees, if I remember correctly.

When I stabilized some coffee beans for some pens and a coffee scoop, I still have all the resin that didn't soak into the beans, ready for the next batch.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:05 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the info. I'm gonna pick up some melamine to make a mold during the week. Hopefully cast something by next weekend.
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