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Thread: "Infused with an acrylic"

  1. #1
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    "Infused with an acrylic"

    Blue Spruce is offering tools with handles that are " infused with an acrylic". Lee Valley also offer sliding bevels with something similar.

    Does anyone know how this can be done at home without spending a fortune?

    My guess is that the wood is immersed into a container of acrylic and then a vacuum pulled on it. Then pulled out and "cured".

    Thanks for all responses.

    Eric

  2. #2
    Eric, this question was asked in another thread recently, and did't get much response other than what you have stated.

    There is a company that produces infused wood here - no affiliation.

  3. #3
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    Thanks John

    Guess I missed it. Sorry. Still, someone should have something. Oh well, I'll keep looking.

    Thanks. Eric

  4. #4
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    "Does anyone know how this can be done at home without spending a fortune?"

    Eric - The short answer is no. And even if you were willing to spend a lot of money, the process is patented (and you can't use it - even for personal purposes. Patent law is different than copyright - there is no "fair use").

    The company that makes Blue Spruce's stock, though, will sell you wood that's been treated in this way.

  5. #5
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    Check pen turners forums and search for "stabilizing wood". A number of these guys do this on a regular basis. In a nutshell, the wood is permeated with a resin under pressure. Many do this with a home brew set up using a compressor and a HF paint pot. I remember seeing more than one tutorial on how to cobble this together. The maximum size, and the final result, I can't comment on.

  6. #6
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    Perhap Tony Z will reply. He sent me a piece for a chisel handle (- I am just looking for the right chisel ..).

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  7. #7
    In the IAP there is a listing fo a product called ultraseal:rboutin@ultrasealant.com
    It may be the answer you are looking for.
    Mark

  8. #8
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    David K., is the patent on the product or the process? I know that the so called "Diamond wood" is a similar thing, the wood is laminated and saturated with resine... or some thing like that!

  9. #9
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    "David K., is the patent on the product or the process?"

    The process, and the final result (which in this case is wood that's had the acrylic replace the air voids in the cells completely - it's not just a surface treatment). There are, of course, a fair number of potential alternative processes as noted above, but if I understand the company's website correctly, the downside to previous infusion processes is that they don't go very deep, so they're only useful for small stuff (like pen blanks).

  10. #10
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    Shop Built vacuum chamber

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Brown View Post
    Blue Spruce is offering tools with handles that are " infused with an acrylic". Lee Valley also offer sliding bevels with something similar.

    Does anyone know how this can be done at home without spending a fortune?

    My guess is that the wood is immersed into a container of acrylic and then a vacuum pulled on it. Then pulled out and "cured".

    Thanks for all responses.

    Eric
    Eric,
    To answer your question, and to echo the reply of some others here, Yes you can make a vaccum chamber and "resin" impregnate your own tool blanks. I've tried it and the results were OK. Not great mind you. Just OK. Back when I was turning pens this seemed like a good idea to make premium blanks out of punky wood.

    You need a vacuum pump that can pull about 25" Hg. I have one and use it on my lathe as a vacuum chuck. Then you need a vacuum chamber. I used an old pickle jar. The test piece was some spalted silver maple that had the consitency of styrofoam. But the color was amazing! I used Minwax Wood hardener as the "resin" but other have actually used melted plexiglass (in acetone). I adapted the lid of the pickle jar with some fittings and made sure it sealed well. Then I got an old soup can, put a wire handle on it, and then filled it with the maple test piece and the wood hardener. As soon as you pull a vacuum, the test piece started to suck up the hardener. I maintained the vacuum for a couple hours and then allowed the piece to dry. After it dried I found that the hardener only penetrated about 1/8' to 1/4" into the wood. I was told that drilling a hole right up through the center of the test piece (as mist pen blanks have this anyway) would help. I never tried that but reasoned it would work.

    After all this mess I shelved the vaccum rig and haven't touched it since. However, your idea of using it to make chisel handle blanks has peaked my interest. You could probably drill a small diameter "stopped" hole up the middle of the blank and that would allow the "resin" to infuse more of the blank.


    OR, you could just send your wood to a person that does this for a living and get a professional done resin impregnation!

    Another thought it to buy stabilized turkey call blanks. Bill Baumbeck at Arizona Silhouette sells these as well as other types of stabilized blanks.
    Dominic Greco

  11. #11
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    I've investigated this process as well and the product that is widely used for this is a Loctite product called Resinol. There are a couple of different versions of this product and the difference is in the way they cure. Some require heat to cure and some do not. From what I understand of this process some woods are more adaptable to this process than others and will take up differing amounts of the acrylic resin.

    To simulate the process the pro's use you would need to put the material under vacuum and heat, then introduce the resin while the material is under vacuum, followed by an application of pressure and heat. I'm assuming the pressure holds the material in place after it is drawn into the pores of the wood and the heat cures the material while it is in place. In some experiments that I have performed with different materials I've found that the material will leach back out of the piece once it is removed from the vessel.

    This product was developed for sealing metal castings and then developed in other forms to adapt it to more applications.

    Several tool makers are experimenting with this material right now and I believe we're going to see more and more if it in applications where impact resistance is a key property. At the Lie-Nielsen Hand tool event in Chicago this past weekend, I saw a chisel made by Czeck Edge Tools with stabilized wood handle pounded completely thru a walnut board with a mallet made from stabilized wood. There were no marks on the chisel handle or the mallet head after this violent experiment.

    It is very interesting stuff,

    Ron

  12. #12
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    I just looked at WoodSure website and it says increased hardness, abrasion resistance, durability, dimention stability, and water resistance among other things. If this is as good as advertised, sounds like a perfect stuff for wooden planes. But I guess it's still an expensive process I assume? I certainly don't mind having a Stanley #29 with all that quality.

  13. #13
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    Well, I'm going to add 2 or 3 cents to the discussion.

    Let me begin with a bit of background: I own a manufacturing plant that makes metal parts (such as gears, etc.) out of powder metal. My market is primarily for automotive. Powder metal parts have inherent porosity and in order to zinc plate the parts (think corrosion protection), the porosity needs sealed off. This is where resin impregnation steps in. At my plant, we do not do any resin impregnation, although we do oil impregnation for permanently lubricated bushings/bearings.

    For resin impregnation, I have relationships with several nearby plating companies that have the equipment. Because of the same porosity in wood as in my metal parts, my thoughts were the same process would work for both (and it does). The resin used on the wood I sent to Derek was the Locktite product Resinol, although I believe it was the product that did not require heat for curing. Samples of the same wood was sent to Czech Edge, although I don't know if those samples were used for the chisel handles.

    The degree of resin going into the wood is dependent upon the vacuum drawn. 25 inches is probably not enough. In the vessels at my plant, we typically draw to 27 to 28 (but this is not home shop equipment). I doubt if the process is patented, as it has been around for ever.

    In closing, I haven't had time to do any further experimentation with the resin impregnated pieces I retained for myself! I did them for fun and not to explore another business line, although being in business and making parts for the auto industry makes me think that maybe I should explore some other lines!

    If anyone has any questions, please post them and I'll try to get some valid information (not me--I'm a ham and 'egger).

    T.Z.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Brown View Post
    Blue Spruce is offering tools with handles that are " infused with an acrylic". Lee Valley also offer sliding bevels with something similar.

    Does anyone know how this can be done at home without spending a fortune?

    My guess is that the wood is immersed into a container of acrylic and then a vacuum pulled on it. Then pulled out and "cured".
    Eric, I may have been the first tool company to introduce chisel handles and mallets using the acrylic infusing process. I introduced my bench chisels and mallets at the Woodworking in America show at Berea last year but have been using the material for several years. I do not do the process myself but rather have it done professionally. the company has been working on the specific process for many years and the results speak for themselves. You may be able to get satisfactory results using a vacuum chamber or better yet, an autoclave setup. One key is to use a very low viscosity resin. high temperatures generally decrease a resin's viscosity. If you are the type that loves experimentation then it could be a fun journey.
    Good luck.
    Dave Jeske
    Blue Spruce Toolworks

  15. #15
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    When I was a teenager,I recall a resin impregnated wood called "Atomic Wood." It was in an article by Popular Mechanics magazine IIRC,and the resin was cured by exposure to radiation. They sold 2 pieces of wood as a kit to make a gavel out of. It wasn't very cheap,either. This must have been around 1957. I assume(?) there was no radiation in the wood?

    P.S. i just googled Atomic wood resin impregnated,and got some results regarding the process.
    Last edited by george wilson; 05-04-2009 at 10:47 PM.

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