• Turning of the Week -- July 12, 2021

    Congratulations to Kalia Kliban for "Corazon" being selected as this weeks TOTW! CLICK HERE for full details.

  • We just finished installing numerous forum, add-on and server patches. It looks like everything is functioning correctly but if you find a problem please report it in the Forum Technical Support Forum or email us at forum_moderator AT aawforum.org. Thanks!
  • Welcome new registering member. Your username must be your real First and Last name (for example: John Doe). "Screen names" and "handles" are not allowed and your registration will be deleted if you don't use your real name. Also, do not use all caps nor all lower case.

Wood hardeners, petrifiers

Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
26
Likes
7
Location
Depoe Bay, OR
Friends,

Lost my old thread from when I came here asking for advice, knowledge on wood hardeners to solidify rotten deck boards and punky wood. Turner in the past but a long journey away. Have to get the art together again, including replacing all the tools I had to surrender in the course of life struggles. Survival stuff.


Have been a fan of Minwax hardener which is about one quarter plastic, the rest acetone with about 5 percent methanol (for whatever that does). So expensive. Have not tried yet the shellac and acetone mix advised here. I did try to dilute polyurethane with acetone but the penetration of anything but the solvent was a failure.

I might have found something... Acrylic paint and rubbing alcohol...

For the Yanks over here in the US, used Walmart's generic 91 percent isopropyl alcohol (Equate brand) mixed with Minwax water based Polycrylic. The combination has potential. Tried to mix this stuff with Acetone and got a clot within seconds.

So far, has near the soak up penetration of the Minwax hardener and initial tests (though still drying completely) are positive.

Have to explore ratios because my experiments are social security cost driven. Minwax hardener is now 16 dollars a bottle at ACE hardware. Might be able to create a replacement cheaper.

Will report back on testing ratios and cost, effectiveness.

Other feedback, or request is to keep Odi's "Spiritual Turning" topic alive and on fire. Touches on the reason we are all here for in the first place.

Love you all,

John
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
743
Likes
561
Location
Windermere, British Columbia
This thread?

if you push on your name and then postings it will show every post you have every posted on the forum.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
3,433
Likes
1,113
Location
Eugene, OR
Hmm, don't remember that post about salvaging decking by using some of the wood hardeners, but when it starts to get rotten, you have to replace it. The wood hardeners won't make rotten decking stronger. Best bet, if you can afford it is Ipe, which is $13/bd. ft. It will take Oregon Coast weather for half a life time at least...

robo hippy
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
26
Likes
7
Location
Depoe Bay, OR
Friends,

Thanks for your replies, and correct about just replacing boards even with the insane cost of wood currently. Thanks Glenn as well.

Retired pharmacist, so the chemistry of it all is a challenge. Like Bob said, epoxies are great fillers. Was trying to invent DIY hardeners that would beat the price of commercial products. Just for the glory of it. Something you could mix up in the bathtub for cheap.

Plexiglass shavings melted in acetone overnight seems a great idea (if I can just find some plexiglass in a remote coastal town). Close to the Minwax hardener. They mix about a quarter plastic with the rest acetone and 5 percent methanol.

Digressing away from the intent of the forum, but testing the acrylic water based paint with one part paint to two parts isopropyl alcohol. Use Walmart stuff at 91 percent alcohol versus the traditional 70 percent. Using this mix on flaking drywall around windows. Absorbs deep and quickly, opposed to the pure acrylic paint which more sits on the surface and does not penetrate. Absorbed deep into wood particle board that was falling apart. Not rock hard, but increase in structural integrity. Getting close I think.

Everyone stay safe in these crazy times.

John
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
26
Likes
7
Location
Depoe Bay, OR
As Richard says, volume proportions can be less than accurate compared with weight based disclosures. Form of the actual plastic polymer in Minwax isn't listed which in itself can present a big range of guessing how much core plastic is in the ratio if we were trying to duplicate the recipe. Has to be a lot of give and take in the proportions that will still perform as good though.

John
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2006
Messages
273
Likes
126
Location
Freelton, ON
There is an excellent product that is a lot more environmentally friendly, called PC Petrifier. Made by Protective Coating Company in Allentown, PA. Www.pcepoxy.com . It is a water based polyurethane and does a great job. I believe it is sold in gallon quantities. I bought 16 0z. Bottle a few years ago and when I have used have not been disappointed.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
103
Likes
62
Location
San Antonio, TX
There is an excellent product that is a lot more environmentally friendly, called PC Petrifier. Made by Protective Coating Company in Allentown, PA. Www.pcepoxy.com . It is a water based polyurethane and does a great job. I believe it is sold in gallon quantities. I bought 16 0z. Bottle a few years ago and when I have used have not been disappointed.
Hello Mike, The PC Petrifier is available in the 16 oz bottle on Amazon. It states that it is "milky white". Does that affect the finish on punky woods? Does it dry clear and take a finish evenly to all parts of the project or do you apply it to the entire surface, punky and not punky wood? Thanks for your reply in advance.
Al
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
26
Likes
7
Location
Depoe Bay, OR
Thanks Spike,

Mixed some of what looked like styrofoam packing but the acetone not dissolving it. Probably some other form of recycled plastic. I guess it's off to the garbage dump to dive for some of the good stuff. Bummer, I just threw out a bunch of packing peanuts.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
26
Likes
7
Location
Depoe Bay, OR
Reporting back from the trenches.

A miracle... Was trying to figure out where to get some styrofoam. The neighbors didn't have any, and miles away from a McDonalds where I figured I could get a few cups. I walked out the front door in the depths of despair and the wind had blown a big 10 x 4 block of styrofoam into the yard. Makes me think that there might really be an Allah up there looking down on us...

That was the good news. Bad news is that it doesn't seem to work. Amazing how fast is compresses into goo, but I don't think we are achieving a true dissolution. Hoped I had hit a saturation point only, but liberal applications of the acetone excess to loose and punky wood had no effect after drying. Supposedly you can use the goo for a great wood glue. Not great results with that either, but could be user error in applying since a couple pieces of cardboard did seem to adhere.

To this point in my search for a cheap DIY wood hardener, gloss clear acrylic paint, one part with 2-3 parts isopropyl alcohol 91% does have okay absorption and hardening properties. Not as good as the Minwax product, so next experiment is to find some plexiglass and dissolve chips in acetone. Someone here had also recommended shellac and acetone.

Another product I ran into while searching but never used is Durham's Water Putty. Not a hardener but a filler that is claimed to be great on wood. A cement and gypsum mix. The stuff is quite cheap, 4 pound can for less than 10 dollars. Evidently hard to sand if you let it dry completely and won't accept a surface stain. Good fast way to dull tools. Was wondering as an aside if anyone has experience with the Durham product. Got a one pound can but haven't tested it yet.

John
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2006
Messages
273
Likes
126
Location
Freelton, ON
Hello Mike, The PC Petrifier is available in the 16 oz bottle on Amazon. It states that it is "milky white". Does that affect the finish on punky woods? Does it dry clear and take a finish evenly to all parts of the project or do you apply it to the entire surface, punky and not punky wood? Thanks for your reply in advance.
Al
Sorry, forgot to check back. I used it on some spalted maple for a wig stand and did not notice any difference. You could certainly apply to the whole piece But it will not penetrate on good wood. It dries flat as I recall. I sand as normal and it is hard to tell you have done anything to the wood. Certainly oils would not penetrate but surface finishes should be no problem. It looks remarkably like Polycrylic Water Base Urethane finish but does penetrate better I think. Hardens up overnight.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2017
Messages
176
Likes
78
Location
South Plainfield, NJ
John-
I've used a fair amount of Durham's over the years. One trick I learned from another carpenter is to mix in some wood glue to help it bind together and stick better. If I'm using it outdoors, I'll use TB III. Durham's by itself is decent. With wood glue added, its a quite durable filler.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
26
Likes
7
Location
Depoe Bay, OR
Thanks Bob for the tip on wood glue and TB 3 for outdoors..

I just filled several sections of deck and the stuff is great, though aware of the recommendation that if you can't keep it dry, it can reabsorb moisture and fail. The stuff is sandable if you get it before it is rock hard. Big plus is that you can make your own texture by the amount of water added and doesn't seem to shrink.

Another thing I learned is that you can extend the work life to 15-20 minutes by adding 1/2 teaspoon vinegar to a cup of water used to reconstitute the powder. Happy camper so far. May have a different take on this next year after the storm season. Here's a reference with some informative links for those that might be interested:

 
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
6
Likes
3
Location
Punta Gorda, FL
I’ve used PC-Petrifier and found it works well for hardening in certain applications. At $40/Gal on Amazon (or $9/16 oz.), it’s cheaper than Minwax’s Wood Hardener. If you want to harden deep into the wood, this won’t do it - it’s not Cactus Juice. But if you just need to harden “near” the surface, it’s fine. It gets absorbed quickly by rotten/punky wood … good wood doesn’t seem to absorb much. Directions say best results with two applications. I tend to keep applying it as long as it’s being absorbed. It dries overnight, and it does add some heft and gives the wood a more solid feeling.

In liquid form it is milky white, and while it does dry pretty clear, I have seen it darken some wood I’ve put it on, so it’s best to test it out first. It also tends to dry with a bit of a sheen, but you can knock that down easily enough with sandpaper.

I started with the 16 oz bottle to see if it was any good, and went back for the gallon later. At the price, it’s worth a look.
 
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
Messages
264
Likes
164
Location
Penrose, NC
5 gal. bucket with gasket, screw-off lid.
1-1/2 gal. of pre-catalyzed lacquer
1-1/2 gal. of lacquer thinner
Mix the 2 liquids in the bucket - taking care to not splash the threaded area on the top of the bucket. ( You do not want to fight to remove the lid later....)

Immerse rough turned piece of punky wood. leave it for at least 1 week for complete saturation. Remove piece, allow to cure/ dry ( outdoors) until the smell of the lacquer is gone. This could take a few weeks.

Mount and turn. The pics. are a Sycamore piece I experimented with last year IIRC...so it is not thin nor is it an elegant design. But the wood was so punky I could carve it with my thumbnail. I placed a clean rock on it to weight it down in the thinned lacquer . It was that far gone...
 

Attachments

  • Syc bowl 1.jpg
    Syc bowl 1.jpg
    85.7 KB · Views: 20
  • Syc bowl 2.jpg
    Syc bowl 2.jpg
    109 KB · Views: 20
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
Messages
264
Likes
164
Location
Penrose, NC
It just occurred to me that I forgot to add a ..."trade secret" from my days of repairing dams, bridges and high-rise concrete structures: We discovered that you can make fluids (epoxies in that case ) behave like your have reduced their viscosity by approx. 50% with the addition of a tiny amount of EDTA. The easiest way to obtain EDTA is....Formula 409 cleaner. Using about 4-6 drops per gal. of epoxy would allow us to pump into cracks that were 1/2 the width that the manufacturer said were the minimum for the viscosity of the epoxy formula. When cores were taken and tested - no deleterious effects were found by the use of this small amount of EDTA.
The bottom line is...I forgot to mention that I introduced 10 drops of Formula 409 into my already thinned lacquer. It is worth trying if you have a piece of wood you feel is worth trying to save.
 
Joined
May 10, 2018
Messages
8
Likes
2
Location
Bellingham, WA
John - I too discovered PC - Petrifier at my local independent hardware store a couple of weeks ago and have used it several times on a piece of punky Maple, which is slowly becoming a lamp shade. Don't know what's in it, but happy with the result so far. The soft wood becomes much easier to work with and produces a much smoother finish. It seems to bond and strengthen the existing wood fibers, rather than simply fill voids in the wood. However, it only seems to penetrate about 1/4 of an inch, then requires another coat to be applied and allowed to soak in for 24+ hours. Not yet sure how or if it will affect applied finishes.
-Clark
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2017
Messages
176
Likes
78
Location
South Plainfield, NJ
John-
I learned the same vinegar trick when using plaster of Paris. I'm a (retired) carpenter who did a fair amount of restoration work that sometimes involved plaster repairs. POP by itself has way too short a work time. Vinegar makes it manageable.
 
Top