Vacuum stabilization question

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Jeff Brody, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Jeff Brody

    Jeff Brody

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    I'm wondering if anyone on the forum has experience using the Stick Fast vacuum stabilization products. They sell a vacuum bag that you can use to stabilize first-turned bowls, and also a brand of resin (available from Craft Supply). There's also the Cactus Juice brand. I'm trying to figure out if the two brands of stabilizing resin are basically the same product, or would it be unworkable to use Cactus Juice in the Stick Fast vacuum bag?

    Does anyone have experience with these two brands and any suggestions on the differences, pros and cons, of each brand?
     
  2. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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  3. Jeff Brody

    Jeff Brody

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    That is a good overview of the different types of casting resins, but doesn't directly answer my question about whether anyone has experience with Stick Fast stabilizing resin and the Stick Fast vacuum bags and whether Cactus Juice would work in the Stick Fast bags. I was seeking someone who may have used both products and can talk about their pros and cons relative to each other.
     
  4. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    A bag is a bag, and vacuum is vacuum, and both resins are thermally cured.
    No reason either of these resins could not be used in any system used for stabilizing wood.
     
  5. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Actually, the bags are not available from Craft Supplies, even though they have the complete video on their site. I spoke with Roger at CS about this yesterday, and he said that the bags were basically "prone to leak and less than reliable". That said, I see that Packard sells the bags and I intend to call them for some info soon.
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It seems to me that a vacuum bag would be a big mess. During te evacuation process there is a considerable amount of foaming of the Cactus Juice (and I presume the other product as well) due to the huge volume of air coming out of the wood. Unless you have some way to maintain a large empty volume above the liquid level, you will wind up with resin being sucked into the vacuum pump.
     
  7. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Right again Bill. You have to use a separate "recovery tank" in line between the bag and the vacuum pump. It still looks like a process that would be fraught with messes.
     
  8. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    The way around that is a trap jar between the bag and pump. The inlet tube goes to the bottom and the outlet to the pump is short to the top. Any juice getting in the line is dropped into the jar. Another important function is being a reserve for resin for the absorbtion time. A large trap jar with extra resin in the bottom from the start guarantees enough resin to complete the process, as the inlet tube can pull from the reserve if the wood sucks up all the resin in the bag.
     
  9. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    I have a couple of Packards bags. They come with the hose fittings, you have to supply your own recovery tank. They also have a mesh mat inside them to help with moving the air out and I would recommend even more of it around sharp edges to reduce the chance of punctures.
     
  10. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Another aspect I thought of is when vacuuming a rough bowl blank it would pull the bag into the interior of the bowl creating a lot of stress on the bag. If a sturdy lid with smoothed corners was used you could then fill the inside with juice, pop the lid on in the bag and pump it down as usual. The juice inside the bowl would help relieve the pressure on the lid from the atmosphere, you would still need to supply extra resin in the recovery tank for the wood to absorb. If resin is in short supply an old darkroom trick used to keep air out of a developer jar is to fill the inside with marbles or other impermeable filler before the resin goes in.
     
  11. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    So Gary, have you successfully used a bag on a bowl yet?
     
  12. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Not yet, my toaster oven is not big enough to cure the bigger bowls. I tried out the fit on the bags to see how well they work prompting my thoughts on the bowl fit. I would love to get my hands on a full size kitchen oven I can run on 110v, I’d make a small shed outside for curing ( you know that would be a mess outgassing from the curing). Pen blanks in the toaster oven make enough stink.
    The one bowl I did manage to stablize in a cookie jar tank and get into the toaster oven turned like a dream.
     
  13. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    I've not tried it, but watched a video where the guy pulled a vacuum on just the wood as the first step. Then with the vacuum still held, he opened a valve and the resin came into the pressure vessel. Basically no foaming since the air had been removed from the wood. A little extra plumbing is required of course. Couldn't find the video on youtube with a quick search, but I'd say the method would work very well with bags.
     
  14. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    I think the video you are looking for might me here:
    https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/...rm=cactus+juice+juiceproof+stabilizing+vacuum
    Scroll down the page to see it.
     
  15. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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  16. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    AD19922A-C98E-4D52-8BFC-FF11D31B3C45.jpeg 2DA23306-12E4-4AE8-B046-A7A2E6E7A76A.jpeg AED0E2E5-1506-4F3C-B6BA-934644D6577A.jpeg B5952FEA-4658-450E-BC8F-50D6AE5DB28A.jpeg I just finished adapting my Cactus Juice tank to serve as a recovery/reserve tank. I put some barbs on either end of a ball valve, drilled a hole to fit the longest barb in the lid, put some sealant on the barb and pushed it through the lid. Then I cut some tubing the depth of the tank and pushed it onto the barb.
     
  17. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    The setup I just made can do that as well as pull vacuum on a wet bag and trap the overflow.
     
  18. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    I have not tried this technique. But since resin cures around 200 degrees, some folks have been curing in a boiling water bath.
    http://kurthertzog.com/articles/wt_272_35_39_how_to_do_thattfJRmb.pdf
    Interesting process, I've seen some heavy duty zip lock style bags that might work for the boiling/curing process. Too many irons in the fire at the moment, but, might experiment after the holidays...
     
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  19. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    Jeff, to get back to your original question, on the FAQ page of Turntex Curt states, "The resin you mention (stick fast) is a copycat of Cactus Juice and is the same basic chemistry. Mixing the two will not be an issue assuming your other resin has not been contaminated by using it with oily wood."
    I have used both and didn't notice a difference. Not that experienced though, I bought a half gallon of stick fast from woodcraft, then later, a half gallon from turntex.
    So, I'm not vary stable :), but I can be if the wood warrants...
    cc
     
  20. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Well I just tried that technique on the bag and it seems you need a fixed volume tank to be able to draw much juice back in. The bag just draws a little juice then stops when the pressure equalizes rather quickly. One thing I would consider with this technique with a hard tank is you will not have a perfect vacuum, so there will be a certain amou;t of air present in it at full vacuum. This will be drawn back into the wood when the vacuum is removed until the juice gets drawn in enough to cover it. If the wood is immersed the intake of resin is pretty much immediate and more efficient.
     

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