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Thread: "Infused with an acrylic"

  1. #16
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    George,

    Interesting that you brought up "Atomic Wood". Up here, in the hinterlands of PA, there was a company that made hardwood flooring using this process. Off the top of my head, can't remember the name, but it was located about 35 miles north of where I live, in the Quehenna Wild Area and less than ten miles from our hunting camp.

    Name of the company was "PermaGrain Products", and was located in a very remote area that was used by the AEC for atomic testing (WWII era). Later users of the reactor were Curtis Wright and then Piper Aircraft. PermaGrain came into the picture around 1977 or so and was licensed by the government to use a radiation process in their production procedures. In the era, they would infuse hardwood with an acrylic resin and then use radiation to cure the product. The process was subsequently changed and the reactor was deactivated, but I'm unsure if it was ever removed.

    PermaGrain is still in business, although at different locations and, as I said, with a different method of infusing acrylic into wood. Interesting web searches would be "Quehenna Wild Area", with additions of nuclear reactor, PermaGrain, etc. Interesting period, too, in our country's history, when research was conducted without the strings of today (although, the upside is we are probably safer in not having fairly easily accessable reactors all over the country). In closing, I vaguely remember Penn State University also having something to do with the management of the site for a short period of time.

    Again, as I previously said, the resin impregnation process has been around for quite a few years and in many different forms.

    T.Z.

  2. #17
    Another variation was used for years by the Norwegians on cross country skiis when they were still made out of wood. They used "Lignostone" which was a European beech impregnated with a phenolic resin and then compressed in a heated platten press. It was used as edge strips on the soles of the better grades of skiis to slow down or prevent rounding of the edges. Bonna, and Norse Skiiproduktor both used it.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Takeuchi View Post
    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.
    You could, of course, buy a Stanley No. 6 (or 606, if you wanted to get fancy), and get most of those qualities...

  4. #19
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    I have used WoodSure in the past, and it does everything they say it will. the wood is VERY stable, it penenetartes all the way thur the wood ( wood being 2" thick or thiner.) It ia expensive tho, but great results.
    Im also interested in doing it at home, as its very costly. I'd like to have as much imput as i can get, all help would be greatly appreciated


    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Takeuchi View Post
    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.

  5. #20
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    Steven,

    This original thread is several years old. Go to the IAP (Penturners) website and search there. You can find tutorials and some that sell the components to do this under a vacuum.
    Andy Kertesz

    " Impaled on nails of ice, raked by emerald fire"...... King Crimson '71

  6. #21
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    Note to others: This thread is over 4 years old... please keep that in mind when replying to old posts.

    Steven,

    It's a pretty simple process these days with all of the equipment available today. A "vacuum chamber" (often a restaurant serving container with a thick acrylic lid routed to shape) can be had from eBay for <$100, Craigslist and eBay for a cheap vacuum pump, and there are several sources for appropriate resins... Cactus Juice from Curtis Seebeck (cheaper in smaller quantities), Resinol 90C from Loctite/Henkel (where I purchase mine from), etc.

    Pour resin into a container (not directly in the chamber itself, but a separate bowl inside the chamber) with the wood, apply vacuum and let it sit for an hour or two to let the resin get sucked in, then place on aluminum foil in the oven and bake at low heat for 20 minutes or so. Nothing complicated, but the equipment and supplies can get pricey for the initial layout. I purchased a high-end Gast pump because I use it for my lathe, vacuum-infusing, and other things... $650, give or take, but it pulls a near-perfect vacuum at a high CFM (useful on the lathe for bowls that are highly porous). You could get away with a much lower CFM if all you're doing is infusing. A small 16 oz container will be around $20, or you can order it in 4-gallon jugs at a time (like me) for around $300.
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  7. Drawing a vacuum really just pulls the air out of the wood, right? It doesn't pull resin into the wood. As the pressure drops, the air in the wood expands and some of it is forced out and is visible as bubbles. But as long as the pressure is kept low, the resin still can't get into the wood because there is still some remaining low pressure air filling the wood pores. The key step seems like it would be to release the vacuum slowly while the wood is still submerged. Then the air remaining in the wood will shrink and pull the resin in with it, since every pore contains a little bit of vacuum that pulls the resin in. The normal, ambient air pressure will be higher than the low pressure within the wood (because we sucked most of the air out), but since it's submerged, those pores can only re-fill themselves with resin.

    So it seems that the best way to do this would be to submerge the wood, draw a vacuum, wait for the air bubbles to be pulled out of the pores, and then release the vacuum while the object is still submerged, which would draw the resin into the pores. Then you can remove the object and let it cure.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Collins View Post
    So it seems that the best way to do this would be to submerge the wood, draw a vacuum, wait for the air bubbles to be pulled out of the pores, and then release the vacuum while the object is still submerged, which would draw the resin into the pores.
    Yep, that's it in a nutshell. No need to release the vacuum slowly, however, as long as the blank remains submerged the entire time, just give it a few minutes to pull in as much resin as possible. You could even do multiple vacuum stages to make sure the resin makes it to the core, though I would only consider that for thick blanks.
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  9. #24
    How deep do you guys think the resin goes? I turned a piece of resin impregnated wood once and ended up turning off all of the infused part.

  10. #25
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    In my manufacturing business (fabricating parts from powdered metal) it is customary to zinc plate parts. Because of the inherent porosity of parts of this nature, said porosity needs sealed off and to do so, the parts are impregnated (infused) with a variety of materials, with equipment virtually identical, to the process used to "infuse" wood (I didn't search this thread, but I would bet I have some early posts in it).

    Several years ago, I experimented with impregnating wood, with the same material we use for metal, with initial results looking promising. I sent out samples of the wood to a number of other galoots, but we all seemed to stroll away from further experimentation. As far as Dan's comments go, from experience, once the material cures, you will not be able to impregnate/infuse more material, as the exterior pores have been sealed off. As far as David's comments, the results I obtained were virtually identical, with the infusion remaining/occurring towards the outer surface.

    I'm always up for further experimentation and if anyone wishes to pursue the same, let's continue this discussion on the open forum as a means of brainstorming.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  11. #26
    Tony, our results were probably similar because the piece of wood that I turned was a piece of infused bubinga that you sent me

    It did make a nice handle for a big mortise chisel, but unfortunately, it's the same as any other bubinga handle would've been. Maybe part of the issue was the wood was too dense.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Weaver View Post
    How deep do you guys think the resin goes? I turned a piece of resin impregnated wood once and ended up turning off all of the infused part.
    If the wood is sufficiently porous to have air in the core, it will be sufficiently porous enough to have resin in there as a replacement when you're finished. In years past people have tried wood hardeners like Minwax, and those are only a surface treatment. Don't compare wood treated in such a manner as a vacuum-infused piece.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Zaffuto View Post
    As far as Dan's comments go, from experience, once the material cures, you will not be able to impregnate/infuse more material, as the exterior pores have been sealed off.
    Since the resin's we're discussing here are heat-activated, you can run them through the vacuum process multiple times until you are satisfied. Some swear by pressure pots in addition to the vacuum chambers, but I see no added benefit.
    Hi-Tec Designs, LLC -- Owner (and self-proclaimed LED guru )

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  13. #28
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    I couldn't remember who all I sent samples to, but it may be worth exploring again, this time paying more attention to more porous woods. What do you guys think? Anyone up for it? If so, we need to name the wood selection guru. I'll take care of getting the wood infused the way I did before (I believe the resins are also heat activated - but the [problem with multiple infusions may be drawing the acrylic out of earlier cycles).

    Anyhow, we may have a project!
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  14. #29
    Soft maple is probably a good target. Its evident that it's already in use with infused woods. It doesn't have a nasty looking open pore surface, but close examination of it makes it pretty clear that there is somewhere for the "stuff" to filter through.

  15. #30
    You are good people, Mr. Jeske. Thank you.
    ~allen

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