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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Pine Bark stabilizing

    I found a couple pieces of pretty thick pine bark after splitting some firewood, I was going to try to carve some of it, but I've never carved any kind of bark before so I decided to cut it up and try to stabilize with cactus juice.
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    The pieces were 2" thick at the thickest point, after cutting them I wound up about 1" thick.

    I ran them under vacuum for about 10 hours and they had mostly stopped bubbling. Even so when I went to take the weight off they floated to the top and seemed kind of lite. I thought I might try some pens or something out of them. It will be interesting to see if they are truly stabilized and stay together.


    Here they are after cooking, most of the stuff seems to be on the outside of the bark. I sure hope these work out after all the time messin with this.
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    Anyone else ever try this?

    Thanks ~Mike
    If at first you succeed, try to hide your astonishment.
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  2. #2

    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    Quote Originally Posted by autobodyman View Post
    I found a couple pieces of pretty thick pine bark after splitting some firewood, I was going to try to carve some of it, but I've never carved any kind of bark before so I decided to cut it up and try to stabilize with cactus juice.

    Anyone else ever try this?
    Thanks ~Mike
    Mike, I have never tried Pine Bark but I have tried Red Fir (Doug) Bark and the results were not very good. I suspect that it has to do with the amount of pitch in the bark and Pine has more pitch than Fir.

    This is for a fly rod handle

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    The bark on the top left you can see where I glued the rings together and the stabilizing fluid did not penetrate 100%. After baking the bark felt spongy.

    I was able to save the experiment. After shaping the soft section I just soaked with thin CA and finished turning it.

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  3. #3
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    06-22-2010
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    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    Never tried any of this, so I'm thinking in the dark. Why not use a thin CA glue for stabilizing, or maybe a thin epoxy resin of some sort?
    art

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  4. #4
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    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    Think your supposed to pull the vacuum, and have the pieces weighted down so they 'suck up' the resin/juice? By letting the item float above the liquid, you let the piece suck in the air again.




    Scott (I like Minwax wood hardener) B
    These products offered are just cheaply priced, not cheap quality!
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  5. #5
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    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    Quote Originally Posted by Caddisfly View Post
    Mike, I have never tried Pine Bark but I have tried Red Fir (Doug) Bark and the results were not very good. I suspect that it has to do with the amount of pitch in the bark and Pine has more pitch than Fir.
    The guy that sells the cactus juice told me that certain woods, cedar, redwood etc... didn't work very well because of the resins/pitch in the wood so I sort of half expected this wouldn't work real well. The material is fairly solid so I was really just looking to "glue" or reinforce the layers so it wouldn't break out when turning.

    The bark on the top left you can see where I glued the rings together and the stabilizing fluid did not penetrate 100%. After baking the bark felt spongy.
    This bark didn't feel spongy to start with and I cooked it in my toaster oven for a couple hours (200) before putting in the vacuum chamber to make sure I had the moisture content as low as possible. It did dry it out some more (from 6% to about 2%) but I also noticed some pitch spotting.

    I was able to save the experiment. After shaping the soft section I just soaked with thin CA and finished turning it.
    I was hoping to be able to avoid the CA glue, just to speed the process up but if it's necessary I will do that also.
    Quote Originally Posted by art3427 View Post
    Never tried any of this, so I'm thinking in the dark. Why not use a thin CA glue for stabilizing, or maybe a thin epoxy resin of some sort?
    Thin CA is okay but it really doesn't penetrate as deep as one would think, I've done that before and it's fine for a little surface penetration but if I used it on blanks this large I would turn off the CA before I even got them round. Epoxy would be worse as it probably wouldn't penetrate at all, kind of the point of the vacuum chamber to suck the "juice" completely threw the wood.

    Quote Originally Posted by SDB777 View Post
    Think your supposed to pull the vacuum, and have the pieces weighted down so they 'suck up' the resin/juice? By letting the item float above the liquid, you let the piece suck in the air again.
    I did have them weighted down with about an inch and a half of the liquid over the wood, they floated up after I released the vacuum and took the weight off (other woods I've done no longer floated afterwards). Though I would think that even floating it should still suck the liquid in as the entire chamber is under a vacuum, shouldn't be any air in the chamber (except for what's trapped in the wood).

    Scott (I like Minwax wood hardener) B
    Really, I've tried that stuff and didn't think to much of it, course that was before I had the vacuum chamber so I just submerged the piece in a container overnight and then removed it, took forever for the stuff to dry and even then it seemed kind of sticky deeper in when I tried to carve it several days later.

    Thanks ~Mike
    Last edited by autobodyman; 10-08-2014 at 9:13 am.
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  6. #6

    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    Quote Originally Posted by art3427 View Post
    Never tried any of this, so I'm thinking in the dark. Why not use a thin CA glue for stabilizing, or maybe a thin epoxy resin of some sort?
    I've used CA numerous times and it has a couple of issues I try to avoid.

    One, it really doesn't penetrate that deep so you put CA on and turn it down and have to repeat the process numerous times and you waste a lot.

    Two, the goal with my grip was to make it not a hard piece of plastic but to feel similar to cork.

    What I have had pretty good success with is to take some 30 minute epoxy and I cut it with 91% Isopropyl until it is the consistency of water.

    I then paint the bark with a foam brush and this seems to penetrate deeper than anything I've tried.
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  7. #7

    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    Quote Originally Posted by SDB777 View Post
    Think your supposed to pull the vacuum, and have the pieces weighted down so they 'suck up' the resin/juice? By letting the item float above the liquid, you let the piece suck in the air again.
    Scott (I like Minwax wood hardener) B
    I've not used minwax but I've used a lot of plexi melted with acetone which I suspect is very similar.

    Not sure how Mike does his but when I put my blanks in the glass jar I use enough rocks to keep the material sunk until they are done and they sink on there own.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    I didn't take pictures of the pine bark in the cactus juice but here's my setup from a previous stabilization.
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    Took about 14 hours under a vacuum before they stopped bubbling and they did not float afterwards.

    Thanks ~Mike
    Last edited by autobodyman; 10-09-2014 at 3:47 am.
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  9. #9
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    12-07-2011
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    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    Hey Mike. And I thought I was the only one turning bark. Just goes to show that even when we think we are doing something original, usually someone else has already done it.
    I do not have a vacuum set-up so I just try to turn bark as it is. Lately I have been gluing it together to get thicker blanks. I'll try to post some as soon as I get my photo stuff set up again.
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  10. #10
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    12-07-2011
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    Re: Pine Bark stabilizing

    Quote Originally Posted by Caddisfly View Post
    Mike, I have never tried Pine Bark but I have tried Red Fir (Doug) Bark and the results were not very good. I suspect that it has to do with the amount of pitch in the bark and Pine has more pitch than Fir.

    This is for a fly rod handle

    Attachment 21095

    The bark on the top left you can see where I glued the rings together and the stabilizing fluid did not penetrate 100%. After baking the bark felt spongy.

    I was able to save the experiment. After shaping the soft section I just soaked with thin CA and finished turning it.

    This looks like a really good save. Love the appearance of the bark in the fly rod grip. After seeing your rod grip I can hardly wait to get out fly fishing again . . .
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