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Using reain

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Question for the more experienced with resin in the group. I have this piece of spalted maple that is punky in the foot and has a bunch of deep cracks. I’m going to use resin but I’m fairly new to resin in my bowl work. My question is, would you stabilize in cactus juice then cast or just cast it in a deep pour resin?IMG_0884.jpegIMG_0883.jpegIMG_0882.jpeg
 
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Just my opinion. f you are set on doing it epoxy resin will hold it together, however not sure how the punky wood would turn as I wouldn’t expect the epoxy to penetrate. So I would do the cactus juice to harden up the punky would first. Again, just my opinion as I have never tried to save a piece like that.
 
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Just my opinion. f you are set on doing it epoxy resin will hold it together, however not sure how the punky wood would turn as I wouldn’t expect the epoxy to penetrate. So I would do the cactus juice to harden up the punky would first. Again, just my opinion as I have never tried to save a piece like that.
Yeah that was my thought too. Just wasn’t sure if someone had experience with it
 
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I have used cactus juice on larger oak pieces that were so punky you could dig big chunks out of it with your finger . The result was a very nice bowl that I’m proud of. HOWEVER, The bowl is much heavier and you’ll need a larger oven to “cook” the piece. I used an old microwave that has convention cooking option. Toaster oven is too small. The other thing I did was to rough out the bowl before stabilizing it. I did not use resin, but it took a lot of cactus juice.
 

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I know I’ll eat my words when I see you’ve turned a gorgeous bowl from that, but I agree with Michael and William. I’d toss it and find something a bit more recently deceased.
PS- and I realized that does not address your original question. And I usually hate it when folks go off on a tangent that doesn’t address the poster’s question. Apologies!
 
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Resin is not going to penetrate into the punky wood enough to prevent the tear out, But we’ve all turned punky wood. Resin should flow into the cracks, but I just don’t see the advantage to trying to save the damaged wood. I don’t do a ton of resin work, but one thing I have learned is that there can be no moisture in your wood. Moisture causes bubbles in the resin and can be disappointing. Sealing the wood first “may” help??? Don’t know. I’ve only stabilized in a low temp oven.
 
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I do a lot of work with resin and have done some with wood, just not much. My intent with the resin was solely for the cracks but just wasn’t sure if I should use cactus juice first or not. I’ve never done resin after cactus juice
 
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Hi Craig - that’s the kind of wood I’ve been turning for 15 years… “everyone else’s firewood”

You have a number of options there to salvage the punk…. But there’s an order of operations and it really depends on what you want the final piece to be. For my example, I’m going to assume a regular bowl with a resin line filling that big crack…

1. Do the resin work first, don’t worry too much about the punk at this stage. Submerge the piece in resin (however you want to do that, doesn’t matter…. I have my methods, you tube has a thousand others)

2. Once you have a cured resin blank start turning it carefully and get the very rough (and thick walled) shape you are going for.

3. Use wood hardener of your choice and saturate it…. CA thin works well too but is more expensive….

4. Once the hardener cures. Keep turning and then fill the punk that shows up with CA.

5. Punk - CA - punk - CA - punk - CA on repeat until the piece is shaped the way you want.

6. Be careful sanding -try to avoid creating the inevitable low spots (i.e. dents)

7. Finish however you want

There’s an old ship makers’ way of getting resin to penetrate. Thin your resin almost 50/50 with acetone or DNA. Put the piece in a vinyl garbage bag (so the acetone won’t eat thru it) with the resin, tie the bag up tight, and do what we used to do with “Shake-n-Bake” - squeeze the resin into the blank with your hands, shake up the bag and let it sit for an hour…. Comeback shake the bag again…. Repeat repeat repeat.

After a day the piece will be flooded with resin and you’ll be surprised at the depth of penetration. It’s just a time suck that many people don’t want to bother with.

All these were hunks of firewood (and 1000’s more) have been saved/salvaged/reborn and then sold for a healthy profit.

But it is a load of work!
 

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I forgot to mention…. Cactus juice is great but I’ve found it not worth the cost/effort for bowls…. They just take too much juice, and the piece has to be under vacuum for a long time and I don’t have a vacuum vessel large enough to hold decent sized bowl blanks. If you happen to be able to vacuum your piece with cactus juice, it will only help it.
 
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My two cents, that looks like great firewood. I know there’s better wood than that in Pennsylvania 😉
I forgot to mention…. Cactus juice is great but I’ve found it not worth the cost/effort for bowls…. They just take too much juice, and the piece has to be under vacuum for a long time and I don’t have a vacuum vessel large enough to hold decent sized bowl blanks. If you happen to be able to vacuum your piece with cactus juice, it will only help it.
My two cents, that looks like great firewood. I know there’s better wood than that in Pennsylvania 😉
Unless this is a speical piece of wood u might want to check the cost of buying a nice chunk of burl of spalted wood. The cost of C-juice & or deep pour epoxy u could buy a few nice pieces of wood, even exodic stuff. As u no doubt know neither of those are cheep & together yowza.
 
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I just posted about my punky chunk of maple in the lathe thread. I turned mine almost down to finish size and coated it with epoxy thinned out with denatured alcohol. You can still see some of the punk but it is hard and usable.
IMG_8686.jpg
 
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Unless this is a speical piece of wood u might want to check the cost of buying a nice chunk of burl of spalted wood. The cost of C-juice & or deep pour epoxy u could buy a few nice pieces of wood, even exodic stuff. As u no doubt know neither of those are cheep & together yowza.
I have plenty of cactus juice and resin here as I do alot of work with both
 
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The only thing Cactus Juice will do is displace the oxygen in the cells. Cactus Juice and resin won't tolerated any moisture, and baking it could easily split it open.
Cactus juice is a type of resin….

Some resins are more tolerant of moisture than others…

The piece shown appears dry as a bone… correct me if I’m wrong.

With a piece this punky, and already nearly split in half, who cares if it splits more? ( I bet dollars to donuts it won’t) In my opinion and experience, it’ll only make it more interesting when the resin goes in it!

It’s absolutely salvageable and usable if OP wants to make it so. It’s just a lot of work and commitment that almost no woodturners find interesting/gratifying/worthwhile when there’s so much “good” wood out there. I understand that…
 
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Cactus juice is a type of resin….

Some resins are more tolerant of moisture than others…

The piece shown appears dry as a bone… correct me if I’m wrong.

With a piece this punky, and already nearly split in half, who cares if it splits more? ( I bet dollars to donuts it won’t) In my opinion and experience, it’ll only make it more interesting when the resin goes in it!

It’s absolutely salvageable and usable if OP wants to make it so. It’s just a lot of work and commitment that almost no woodturners find interesting/gratifying/worthwhile when there’s so much “good” wood out there. I understand that…
You don't like me giving him things to be cautious about?

Which resins are tolerant of moisture and what moisture content can the wood be? I've seen Alumilite turn into foam with moisture in the wood.

If Cactus juice is tolerant of water, why do they want you to bake the wood to near zero moisture content?
Preparation

The first thing is to make sure your material has less than 5% moisture content (preferably 0%) and clean.
https://turntex.com/help-center/cactus-juice-stabilizing-resources/60-using-cactus-juice

Looking at a picture you can judge moisture content?

Casting resin is a very poor adhesive. If the crack goes all the way through, you are comfortable taking a chance to catch each half with your face?

Assuming it's salvageable, does it still make economic sense to spend $75-$150 in resin on it? Not my decision of course, but since it looks like a sponge, it might take a half gallon of Cactus Juice, and then the resin.
 
Last edited:
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Cactus juice is a type of resin….

Some resins are more tolerant of moisture than others…

The piece shown appears dry as a bone… correct me if I’m wrong.

With a piece this punky, and already nearly split in half, who cares if it splits more? ( I bet dollars to donuts it won’t) In my opinion and experience, it’ll only make it more interesting when the resin goes in it!

It’s absolutely salvageable and usable if OP wants to make it so. It’s just a lot of work and commitment that almost no woodturners find interesting/gratifying/worthwhile when there’s so much “good” wood out there. I understand that…
Yeah, I love turning pieces that everyone else would just discard. I have used cactus juice before and saved some amazing pieces. I've just never done a combo of cactus juice and resin before and was curious of the steps from people who have, should I cactus juice then resin or the other way around. I have to admit, I'm kind of amazed by some of the responses I've gotten to this question, so many people would just give up an amazing piece because of having to put a little extra work into it.


You don't like me giving him things to be cautious about?

Which resins are tolerant of moisture and what moisture content can the wood be? I've seen Alumilite turn into foam with moisture in the wood.

If Cactus juice is tolerant of water, why do they want you to bake the wood to near zero moisture content?
Preparation

The first thing is to make sure your material has less than 5% moisture content (preferably 0%) and clean.
https://turntex.com/help-center/cactus-juice-stabilizing-resources/60-using-cactus-juice

Looking at a picture you can judge moisture content?

Casting resin is a very poor adhesive. If the crack goes all the way through, you are comfortable taking a chance to catch each half with your face?

Assuming it's salvageable, does it still make economic sense to spend $75-$150 in resin on it? Not my decision of course, but since it looks like a sponge, it might take a half gallon of Cactus Juice, and then the resin.
Urethane resin such as Alumilite clear slow is not at all tolerant of moisture, even a very low moisture content will cause a horrible amount of foaming, I made that mistake when first getting into resin work. Epoxy resins however, can tolerate moisture. I do alot of work with resin and whenever I am using something that even has a pretty high moisture content, I have had no issues with them, no foaming.

I forget offhand what it was, but the piece in the pictures was below 10% and will do fine with epoxy and a deep pour resin will do and look great with this piece, I'm not at all worried about it coming apart when turning, that's a nonissue, these cracks don't run completely through and the resin is just a filler, not a glue. The amount of resin I had to use for this piece was nowhere near $75-100, I have maybe $20 of resin into this piece, if that.
 
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You don't like me giving him things to be cautious about?

Which resins are tolerant of moisture and what moisture content can the wood be? I've seen Alumilite turn into foam with moisture in the wood.

If Cactus juice is tolerant of water, why do they want you to bake the wood to near zero moisture content?
Preparation

The first thing is to make sure your material has less than 5% moisture content (preferably 0%) and clean.
https://turntex.com/help-center/cactus-juice-stabilizing-resources/60-using-cactus-juice

Looking at a picture you can judge moisture content?

Casting resin is a very poor adhesive. If the crack goes all the way through, you are comfortable taking a chance to catch each half with your face?

Assuming it's salvageable, does it still make economic sense to spend $75-$150 in resin on it? Not my decision of course, but since it looks like a sponge, it might take a half gallon of Cactus Juice, and then the resin.
I don’t mind, at all… but in this particular case I think your warnings are overblown

Epoxy resins tolerate a lot more moisture than you’d think…. I’ve added it to 25% MC wood and had perfectly fine results. Alumilite is absolutely the most hydrophobic resin there is. It will foam up on Rice Krispie dust on Ghandi’s flip flops

Cactus juice is not an epoxy resin. I don’t know what it is chemically, but it also hates water, hence the warnings from Curtis.

Based on my experience, and looking at THAT picture I can pretty accurately judge moisture content… maybe I can join the circus as a moisture content guesser!

Epoxy resin is an outstanding and often astounding adhesive… if mixed and used appropriately

I’m not assuming it’s salvageable. It IS salvageable. If he spends $100 in resin and juice (a horrible knock off of Snoop and Dr Dre’s big hit) but sells it for $400, sounds pretty good to me. Or if he gifts it for $0 and makes the recipient smile, that’s a cheap $100 for something handmade and meaningful that will last for generations.

If turning crap wood wasn’t doable or “worth it” I’d have to sell all my stuff! (Some might say I should, anyway, because my stuff stinks, but that’s a different thread)
 

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I had a piece of spalted ash that was in similar shape as yours. I cut the blank "round" on a bandsaw and then submerged it in Liquid Diamonds Epoxy and put it under 55PSI of pressure. I used this as it has a consistency of water but not the long curing time of a deep pour epoxy. If you do this process you will want the blank submerged in the epoxy a fair amount. I had the epoxy about 1/2" above the blank and when I demolded it, the top of the blank was about 1" above the Epoxy level line. The epoxy soaked in enough that I did not have any issues with the punky areas and there were only a few small voids in some cracks depper in the blank. This were easily addressed as I turned the bowl.
 
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