For stabilising and hardening wood and other porous materials, Cactus Juice Stabilizing Resin is a premium professional grade heat cured resin. The wonderful, punky, spalted timbers that are just too soft to work with are especially responsive to it. Use with most Alumilite Dyes & Cactus Juice.
What materials make up wood stabiliser?
When resin or wood hardener is injected into a piece of soft or rotting wood, the wood hardens and becomes stable. The wood can also be stabilised using additional materials like epoxy resin, thermosetting resin, and a vacuum chamber. Hardwood may be used to make items that we use every day without causing any damage during the manufacturing process.
It seems sense that wood that is too soft or flaky would be difficult to deal with. When specific tools are used on the softwood, the softwood could crack. We stabilise the wood in order to make it easier to deal with for this reason.
Is the stabiliser in cactus juice toxic?
For stabilising and hardening wood and other porous materials, Cactus Juice Stabilizing Resin is a premium, professional-grade resin that is heat cured. The wonderful, punky, spalted timbers that are just too soft to work with are especially responsive to it. The majority of woods retain their natural colour after using Cactus Juice, which is simple to use. In contrast to common home stabilising products like Minwax Wood Hardener or polyurethane, cactus juice cures 99.99 percent from liquid to solid by weight and is neither harmful nor combustible. It also does not include any solvents. Instead of tossing those tacky blanks, try Cactus Juice!
The activator is sent in a separate bottle and is not included with this size of Cactus Juice. Simply open the little container and pour the contents into the 1/2 gallon bottle to activate. Shake vigorously after replacing the cap. Allow it to sit over night and shake once again the following day if some of the activator particles do not dissolve. ACTIVATE THE WHOLE BOTTLE, YOU MUST! Since it is challenging to proportion the semi paste activator effectively, I oppose attempts to activate portions of the bottle. You are on your own if you want to proceed anyhow and experience any problems with the juice! Fear not; activated cactus juice has an 8–12 month shelf life.
What makes a good stabiliser for wood?
One of the most widely used and affordable wood stabilisers is resin. The timbers are dried and then placed in vacuum chambers to remove any air pockets as part of the theresin stabilisation process. If you’re working with green wood, this drying procedure is very important (newly cut wood). The wood is then impregnated with acrylic resin. It fills up all the crevices that water may access. The ultimate result is a wood that is highly humidity-tolerant and significantly more stable.
Depending on the type and intended use, stabilising resin can cost anywhere from $60 to $150 per gallon. Epoxy resin is the easiest type of resin to work with if you’ve never worked with it before. But polyester resin is frequently far less expensive if you’re trying to save money.
How does cactus juice stabilise wood?
- Vacuum pump able to achieve a minimum of 100 microns or 29 Hg at sea level. Better stabilised blanks will be produced at higher vacuum. (I strongly advise an electric rotary vane vacuum pump because it can require several hours of vacuum to completely evacuate the air blanks.) For an explanation of vacuum and stabilisation, see this article.
- Small toaster oven, frequently purchased for $10 or less at consignment shops.
- Metalized foil (optional)
- To be stabilised material (10 percent moisture content or less, preferably 0 percent )
- Gloves made of Latex or nitrile as well as eye protection are examples of personal protection gear.
- Make blanks.
- Fill the vacuum chamber with blanks and press them down.
- Cactus Juice should be added to cover all the blanks.
- Apply a complete vacuum to the chamber and continue to use your vacuum pump until the bubbles stop.
- After releasing the suction, immerse the blanks for at least twice as long as you did before.
- Eliminate blanks
- Use a drip pan or wrap with foil
- Cure until the cactus juice has solidified at 190-200 F (87-93 C).
- Take the oven out.
- Await to reach room temperature.
- NEVER USE GLASS OR PET PLASTIC CONTENERS TO STORE EXCESS JUICE FOR LATER USE!
The first step is to ensure that your material is clean and has a moisture level of less than 5% (or better yet, 0%). All wood, including wood you buy that has been kiln-dried, needs to be dried before stabilising. No of how long it has been sitting, wood that has been left in your shop will always have an Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) because of the air’s humidity. In the majority of the nation, EMC is between 10 and 12 percent. Avoid using a moisture metre since they are inaccurate below 6 percent. Placing your blanks in your toaster oven at 220 F (104 C) for a minimum of 24 hours is the best way to ensure that they are as dry as possible after having already been air dried. The blanks should be taken out of the oven and put right away in a zip-top freezer bag or another airtight container to cool to room temperature. This is required because a piece of wood that is extremely dry and hot will begin to absorb moisture from the air as soon as it begins to cool down. When you add the Cactus Juice to hot blanks, it will promote early polymerisation, which will result in total failure. NEVER dry green wood in an oven. Prior to drying in the oven, let all freshly cut wood air dry for a few months. Inaction will result in warping and cracking.
Avoid using oily woods like Cocobolo and Rosewood. The reason is that, in a vacuum, the wood’s oils will be sucked out and may contaminate the juice, preventing a good curing.
Place your blanks in the stabilising chamber after that and add weight to them. Cactus Juice must be added to the stabilisation chamber in the required quantity to completely cover the blanks with around 1-2″ (25–50 mm) of Juice. Ensure that your stabilising chamber is situated in a safe, stable area. A vacuum chamber may explode if it experiences a violent shock, such hitting the ground.
If you wish to tint the wood, Cactus Juice can be coloured. I’ve tried a lot of different colours and have found that Alumilite or Cactus Juice Stabilizing Dyes work the best for me. They are highly concentrated and generate pleasing, vibrant colours that blend and complement the Juice beautifully. Some colours, like Transtint, can be applied sparingly, but if you use too much, the Juice won’t cure as well. Make careful to apply more dye than you believe is necessary!
Place the chamber’s lid on top after the cactus juice has been introduced. To get the gasket to seal, you might need on apply a little pressure to the lid. When the vacuum first starts, a tremendous volume of air is drawn from the blanks, which causes the Juice to foam up significantly. The vacuum control valve should be fully opened before turning on the pump, and it should be progressively closed afterwards to keep foam under control. Apply a thorough vacuum when the majority of the froth has dissipated.
It could take anything from 4-6 hours on the low end to 24+ hours on the high end to completely expel the air from your material, depending on the type of wood you are stabilising and the vacuum pump you are using. The most typical, in my opinion, is 12+ hours. Tiny bubbles will continue to appear for MANY hours if your wood has even the slightest amount of moisture (24-36). I advise curing your wood as previously indicated. Once you notice very few bubbles emerging from the blanks, keep running the vacuum. Release the vacuum and stop your pump once all the air has been drawn out. If you’re using a rotary vane pump, it’s crucial not to turn it off while it’s creating vacuum. Your pump will experience early wear as a result.)
Give the blanks at least twice as long to soak without vacuum as you did with it. In many types of wood, a lengthier soak—up to a week—will produce greater results. Keep in mind that the majority of resin uptake happens AFTER the vacuum is released. Some wood species, like walnut and redwood, benefit from a prolonged soak. I typically let these soak for a week.
After the blanks soak in the resin, take them out. Allow the blanks to drain of any extra cactus juice. It is a good idea to carefully wrap each blank in foil if you plan to cure many blanks at once to prevent them from congealing into one solid mass while the Juice cures. Rolling out a 2′ (60 cm) strip of foil and starting at one end, rolling the first blank in the foil until it is coated, is a simple technique to accomplish this. Next, place the second blank next to the first, and then rewrap the entire thing. Once all of the blanks are covered, add the third and then continue. You are now prepared for the oven after folding the ends over.
If you can fit the blanks in without them touching one other, you can also cure them without covering them in foil. Juice can be kept in the wood without foil, which is not necessary. In order to stack multiple blanks in your oven at once and to limit the mess (part of the Juice may flow out when heated), it is there. Just keep in mind that if you stack blanks together or allow them to touch without foil, they will harden into a block that needs to be cut apart. Make sure to use a drip pan to catch any bleed out if you cure without foil. It is strongly advised against using foil when stabilising objects that will later be cast in Alumilite so that the edges will remain free of dried cactus juice.
Now, preheat the oven to 190–200 F and lay the blanks inside (87-93 C). Make careful you use an oven thermometer to verify the toaster oven’s actual temperature. Toaster oven dials are infamously unreliable. The Juice won’t be harmed by being too hot, but it will “leak” out of the blank more frequently before it cures. For the Juice to cure, the blank’s interior temperature must reach 190–200 F (87–93 C) for at least 10 minutes. For the normal pen blank, this typically takes one to one and a half hours, although it can take longer for thicker material. Even lengthier time in the oven is not harmful, but if the blanks are not fully cured when you remove them and allow them to cool, putting them back in the oven will not result in a full cure. It is essential to be cautious and give them a lengthier cure until you have a better understanding of the procedure. Open the oven door and check the blanks for any cured Cactus Juice on them or in your drip pan to see if they are cured. Remove the blanks if you wrapped the items in foil, then peel the foil back. The blanks are finished if there is any cured cactus juice visible. Check again after letting them cure for another batch if you don’t notice any cured cactus juice.
When the blanks have finished drying, take them out of the oven while wearing gloves and remove the foil. The blanks must be allowed to cool to room temperature. After the blanks have cooled, you may either clean them up with a saw or scrape off the resin that has leaked out of them. Although it is not necessary, this step will enable you to see the final blanks more clearly and decide how you want to utilise them. An excellent alternative is a belt sander.
Pour the extra cactus juice from the chamber after the stabilisation procedure is complete and preserve it for later use. I use quart HDPE plastic paint mixing cups with lids, which you can purchase at your neighbourhood home improvement store in the paint aisle. Use PET plastic soda bottles instead of glass jars, which are optically clear plastic. It may eventually get better on its own. Since cactus juice does not evaporate, an airtight lid is not required. Simply clean the chamber with dish soap, water, and a towel after removing the extra juice. Before using it again, make sure it has thoroughly dried.
Can you use wood hardener on new wood?
On new wood, you can brush thick coatings of wood hardener. Wood surfaces will be shielded from warping and moisture absorption by hardeners. Additionally, by hardening new wood, you will avoid having to replace worn-out wood boards, saving you money.
How do you make a homemade wood hardener?
Here is a great DIY wood hardener that uses salt paste. You’ll need one egg white, water, cornstarch, and salt.
- Fill a container with a litre of water.
- 350g of salt is then added; mix to completely dissolve.
- When you have a thick paste, add corn starch and keep churning the mixture.
- Finally, whisk in the egg white while adding. The paste ought to be prepared.
- Using an applicator brush, evenly spread the paste across the entire surface.
How to harden pine wood
- In the oven is dried pine wood.
- To cool, remove the baked wood.
- Place the vacuum chamber with the dry pine wood inside.
- Resin should be added to the vacuum chamber and allowed to infuse.
- Give the infused wood some time to relax.
- Continue to bake the infused pinewood.
How to harden rotted wood
- Clean, dry, and remove any seriously rotten bits from the wood to prepare it.
- Get the wood hardener ready.
- Put the hardener on.
- Reapply extra coats after the wood has had time to dry.
- After the final layer, allow it to totally dry.
- Utilize a wire brush to remove any extra hardener.
How to make softwood harder
- Make the wood surface clean.
- Epoxy mixture
- On the soft wood surface, apply epoxy.
- Drill a hole to internally harden the wood.
- Between coats, allow the epoxy to dry completely.
- Add additional layers.
- The hard wood needs time to cure and dry.
How to harden wood with fire
- Build a fire pit.
- Lighting the fire
- Set the wood to heating.
- Continue circulating wood through the flames.
- To prevent burning or overheating, check frequently.
- If needed, repeat steps 4 and 5.
How does wood hardener work?
With its thin consistency, wood hardener may get deep inside the pores of the wood and seal them off from moisture and water. Its resins connect the softwood fibres that have rotted into a solid, hard shape. The wood hardener as a result restores the wood’s structural integrity.
Best wood hardener alternative
A great substitute for wood hardeners is epoxy. Epoxy can be used to seal the wood surface and bind the fibres of the wood, protecting it against rot, water, and other environmental factors. Epoxy resins and epoxy glue are also options.
What is wood hardener made of?
Acrylic resin, which is frequently dissolved in a solvent, is used to make wood hardeners. The acrylic resins are forced into the pores of the wood by the solvent used. After that, the resins combine the fibres of the injured wood.