Technical FAQ

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What is the maximum size of material you can stabilise?

I have chambers that will take long, thin pieces up to 1.6 metres long and 12cm in diameter, such as pool cues and walking sticks. Others are shorter but wider, so up to 90cm by 45cm. Generally much better results are obtained with smaller pieces, because the resin penetrates better. Ideally you should make them as close to the size they are going to end up as possible. Please see Preparing Your Materials.

Why do some pieces take in so much more resin than others?

The cellular structure of the wood, its grain structure, how dense, and how oily it is, are the main factors that determine how much resin a piece will absorb. Broadly speaking, pieces from each species take in more or less the same, but there is considerable variation across species. See Suitable Materials.

My stuff is already dry. Why do you have to dry it again?

Even if it’s bone dry when it leaves you, it won’t be by the time it gets to me. Wood absorbs moisture very quickly, and it will have done so in transit. The best results can only be had if the material is completely dry. There is no shortcut to this. It takes around 24 hours in an oven at 105 celsius.

Will stabilising the wood fill little holes or cavities in it, such as insect bore holes?

Generally not. These will need filling after stabilisation in the usual way, during your build process, with a wood dust & cyanoacrylate mix, or however you normally prefer to do this. It’s not something I undertake.

Do you stabilise with coloured/dyed resins?

You can try and persuade me to do it but it’s way more expensive because it’s more time consuming, and not many people want it, plus the chances anyone else will want your exact colour is even lower, so I get left with a bunch of resin I can’t use. It’s roughly double the cost, but I do it on a case by case basis — please get in contact and we can try and work something out.

Is stabilised wood indestructible?

No. It is stronger than the unstabilised wood was, and is usually very strong, but it can crack or break if placed under too much stress, like any material.

Does stabilised wood never warp, shrink or move, even slightly?

Not generally, and if it does then only very slightly, and much less than the non-stabilised version of the same wood. One of the main points of stabilising is that it effectively eliminates these problems, and in the vast majority of cases it does. If you are worried about this, leave the stabilised piece exposed at room temperature for a few weeks after you get it back, and any movement is likely to happen then. If you are still worried, shape the piece to close to its final size and shape, and leave it again for a few weeks before final sizing, shaping and fitting.

Will the wood look the same when I get it back?

It will generally be a bit darker. Also, if I were to sand and polish every piece it would cost me time and therefore you money, so it will usually be rough in finish, and can be knobbly with bits of resin. Obviously there is no point in me making it gorgeous before I send it back to you, as you’re only going to reshape it anyway.

Could my wood crack when you’re drying it?

It’s possible, though rare with woods that are at Equilibrium Moisture Content; the best way to achieve this is leave them drying in a normal house environment at room temperature for a few years. Sometimes a piece of wood will develop cracks, and there is nothing I can do about this. I will inform you if this happens so that we can decide a course of action between us. Often it’s worth proceeding with the stabilisation process anyway, depending on how bad the crack is. Anyway don’t worry too much; it doesn’t happen very often.

Order Process FAQ

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Can you do my stuff really quickly?

Not really. If you have a particularly urgent need then it would be worth having a chat with me to see what I can do to speed up the bits that can be sped up, but the stabilising processes themselves can’t be rushed. Thay all take as long as they take.

Why do you only know the full cost after you finish the work?

I charge for the amount of resin used, which I obviously can’t know until the process is complete. I also don’t know the weight of your return package until I know the weight of the finished materials. See the Pricing page.

Can I bring my stuff to you instead of post it?

Only if we’ve discussed it beforehand and made an appointment. See the Contact page.

Will you give me a discount if I place a huge order?

Yes. Please get in touch.

How long does it all take?

The turnaround time depends on how many pieces you send as well as my current workload (remembering that this is not my day job), but it is usually between one and three weeks.

Resin FAQ

(Or jump to Technical FAQ or Order Process FAQ)

What is “Packrat’s Wood Stabilising Resin”?

Packrat’s Wood Stabilising Resin is the brand name for the chemical (a methacrylate ester) I use to stabilise wood and other materials.

Is Packrat’s Wood Stabilising Resin safe?

It is not classified as a hazardous chemical although some basic safety precautions must be taken during its use. It does not require any special precautions when cured (in its finished, hard state).

How much Packrat’s Wood Stabilising Resin Juice do I need?

It depends on the size of your vacuum vessel, and the size of the pieces you will put in it, and how much resin they absorb. You should as a rule of thumb allow approximately half the distance of resin above the top of your pieces, as below.

How do I use Packrat’s Wood Stabilising Resin?

This is impossible to answer in a FAQ but contact me and I will send you a PDF with instructions. Or you can see a brief outline of my process here.

How does Packrat’s Wood Stabilising Resin work?

It cures rock hard when heated. You first impregnate the wood or other material with it when it is liquid, then heat the material, which causes the liquid to solidify, rock solid.

What are the minimum and maximum quantities you can supply?

I supply 1 litre upwards.