About six months ago, I purchased some incredibly figured oak burl from a friend in Vermont. The wood was truly exceptional, but like most highly figured material, it had many cracks and air pockets. I was not about to take any chances with such amazing wood, so this joined my collection of stuff to use down the road.
Recently, I was introduced to the younger brother of one of my good friends here in Boulder. Ryan is studying industrial design and has a real knack for building and creating. While visiting my shop, he observed the struggles I was having with some of my woods, and he immediately got to work!
Now, Ryan is set up to do wood stabilizing for me. The process is simple, but it requires specialized equipment and quite a bit of attention. Using a vacuum pump and matching chamber, Ryan removes any air or moisture from pen blanks and fills those vacated areas with cactus juice. This stabilizing agent hardens under heat, transforming my wooden blanks into rock-hard material.
It took a half a year, but it was well worth the wait to have this wood stabilized!
Take a look: