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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 02-21-2013, 09:45 AM
Imakethings Imakethings is offline
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Wood stabilization

After a bit of looking about on the internet and discussion and investigation with members of the chemistry club and staff at the college I think I might have found something cheaper than the stuff used currently.

My investigation drove me to start looking at thermosetting plastics and resins, it turns out that they are a hell of a lot more common than I initially expected.
Polyester resin (aka fiberglass resin)
Vinyl Ester resin (used for same as above, but better strength characteristics)

Both are thermosetting resins, but here's something I'm really happy about. You can use styrene based thinner to thin out either one without sacrificing any strength (unlike using acetone as a thinner).

So, before I go off and test this further (I had polyester resin on hand anyway so I tried it last night, good results), has anyone tried using something other than one of the commercial goos and if so what were your results?
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:14 AM
metal99 metal99 is offline
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The only problem I see with those resins is the working time. With the other "stabilizing" resins your work time is pretty much how ever long you want it to be because they are heat cured. Some wood and especially bone needs to be under vac for a long time.


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Old 02-21-2013, 09:17 PM
Imakethings Imakethings is offline
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You are aware that if you don't add the catalyst the shelf life of both those resins is about 3-4 months? In addition they ARE heat cured, the only thing the catalyst does is provide the heat.

The test piece I did recently was to see if my idea would work, polyester resin, vacuum till no bubbles, oven at 250 F for 2 hours.

Bone dry, not sticky. I've got two other test pieces in the goo right now, I'm amazed by how much gas is trapped in there.....

I'll slice one open to see how well it did for penetration when it's done.

Last edited by Imakethings; 02-21-2013 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:19 PM
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C Craft C Craft is offline
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The folks who do this kind of work keep it a closely guarded secret as too ingredients and process.

Research in the subject tells me two things.

Number one those who have worked out there own process have worked long and hard and had many failures.they usually have a lot tied up in the experimentation. So they keep there results closely guarded.

The second thing is; if you are worried that much about the process getting out, it may not be a hard to do as most think.

However having made that last statement I will say this. I was a carpenter for years and made custom furniture and sometimes the cost of sitting up to do a process unless you are doing a lot of it, can be very cost preventative! Sometimes the start up costs out way the bottom dollar you will be able to recover under any short term use! MHO

Note: their are some folks out there who will stabilize wood for you at a decent price. Sometimes that just beats having to pay for and deal with chemicals that can cause all sorts of problems, as well as the equipment you will need to set up and do the process!


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Last edited by C Craft; 02-21-2013 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:41 PM
Imakethings Imakethings is offline
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I had the vacuum pump anyway, and an older pressure cooker that I got for 5 bucks. I tend to keep fiberglass resin on hand anyhow, so why not?

Anywho, best I've been able to determine the commercial systems out there are simply using a different polymer than I am. Those are using a thermostabilizing acrylic ester, I'm using a thermostablizing polyester.

Surprisingly similar science involved.

Now only if I could find a styrene based thinner somewhere locally.....
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:09 PM
metal99 metal99 is offline
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Properly catalyzed polyester resin will only stay in liquid form for a limited time. I have some special polyester resin that is used for vacuum moulding and it has a one hour work time. If you under catalyze the resin sure you can get it to harden if you bake it but it won't have the same properties of properly cartelized resin. They are not meant to be heat cured like your doing but hey if it works for you then giver!

You might be able to get the proper thinner at a fiberglass shop. I know my father in laws shop has it. That's where I got my slow cure polyester resin from. It's also thinner then your normal polyester resin.


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Last edited by metal99; 02-21-2013 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:21 AM
Imakethings Imakethings is offline
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Most of what I've been reading suggests that the catalyzing agent isn't all that important if you can provide an alternate source of heat. So far experimental results back this up.
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Old 10-27-2020, 04:32 PM
TrudyTurner TrudyTurner is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakethings View Post
After a bit of looking about on the internet and discussion and investigation with members of the chemistry club and staff at the college I think I might have found something cheaper than the stuff used currently.

My investigation drove me to start looking at thermosetting plastics and resins, it turns out that they are a hell of a lot more common than I initially expected.
Polyester resin (aka fiberglass resin)
Vinyl Ester resin (used for same as above, but better strength characteristics)
-------------------------------
chemical synthesis with https://ereztech.com/product/silicon...de-10026-04-7/
Chemistry today is very important for almost every area of people's life. The thing is that chemical reactions of synthesis, creation and a lot of others are everywhere. Even in your kitchen up to my favorite way to prevent mud and dust on the LCD screens. They are so useful!
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Old 10-27-2020, 05:35 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Ok, I'll be the contrarian here. What are you trying to achieve? Are you aware that there are woods that just cannot be stabilized because their too oily/dense or both? Are you chasing a trend? And yes I think that stabilization is largely just a trend. Wood handles have existed thousands of years without stabilization. Also stabilization will not prevent wood from expanding or shrinking or checking. It will only reduce wood expanding or shrinking or checking. So, are you going to spend money and effort for any gain?

Doug


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Old 10-28-2020, 10:08 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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I'm with you on this Doug. Rarely use stabilized woods or other materials. Hate the smell of "plastic" when sanded or drilled. I see no reason to make a knife with a handle that will outlast it's blade. Ought to finish their occupation at the same time. Choose good material and get good results.

I have a sneaky suspicion that most makers choose the stabilized materials because they are easier to finish. I like "natural" look and feel, but that's just me. I'm not about to tell anyone "their" business, we all do what we do.


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Old 11-06-2020, 03:40 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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I feel the same as Carl and Doug.

I don't see the need to set up my own stabilizing setup. I would have to make a lot of knives and have unusual woods like burls for the trouble as most hardwoods do not really need to be stabilized. I use exotic woods like cocobolo, a fave of mine, purple heart, desert ironwood, african blackwood, mesquite and others like marble wood. What do all those woods have in common? They can't be stabilized because they're too oily or already too hard to bother. I mostly use exotic hardwoods, but I also use good well figured walnut or bird's eye maple and mesquite. The mesquite cannot be stabilized very well, but the walnut and maple can, but is it really necessary?

I went to a Farmers and Cowboy Museum near here and saw a cap & ball Gambler's pistol and dagger with handles made of bird's eye maple that obviously were sold as a set that were made around 1867. The handles were well taken care of and except for some time darkening were just as good as when made. Most gun and knife handles were made of North American hardwoods and were in good shape considering some were 200+ years old on some of the muzzle loading pistols. The camp/kitchen knives had blades that were wearing out faster than the oiled handles. There were rusty decayed guns/knives with the handles in better condition. So unless I get a piece of nice burl I will use some gifted to me bird's eye maple for a full tang handle on some Damascus, file or O1 knives. I believe well sealed handles will last as long as the blades judging by what I saw in the museum. Just take care of your knife, and use a good wood stock wax like Birchwood Casey Gunstock Wax, p.s. it works good on your high carbon blades too to prevent rust.
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