A member recently inquired on our forums, “What is a stabilized blank?” and today we have the answer. Thank you,
A cut off is just the portion of the wood that wasn’t needed and cut off. In my case, I had 23″ long pieces of quilted maple, ( figured maple ), I only needed 13″ or so and the longer pieces would not fit into my resin tank. I didn’t have a use for the left over, but didn’t want to throw it away. So I threw them in with the rest of the good handle blanks. “waste not, want not”. 🙂
Resin infusion/ or stabilized blank is a piece of wood submerged in a polymer resin, then put under a vacuum to pull most of the air out of the wood. Once pretty much all the air is out, no more bubbles, the vacuum is released, keeping the wood submerged, allowing the resin to replace the air. May take a few days, depending on the size of the blank. If you take the blanks out too soon, you will wind up with a ruined blank or one that is only partially infused. Guess how I know that. 🙁 Sometimes pressure is applied forcing more of the resin into the wood. ( Requires a pressure rated pot and Beware, adding pressure can cause internal cracks in the wood.) Then baked at about 200* to harden the resin. Makes a very strong and dense piece of wood and you can add a certain amount of color also. Thin strips of wood would tend to be more brittle as well. My carving mallets and joinery mallet heads are resin infused, making them heavier and very durable. Unfortunately it is an expensive process. Hence the mallets are a bit pricey. The resin is about $80 to $90.00 a gallon. I have been making the mallets since 2016 and not one has broken. ( Yet ) Essentially, they are superior to the wood mallets you often see in the stores. The nice thing about them is you can make the striking head smaller and still have the weight due to the increased density. Folks like them for their mortise and carving chisel work. Others prefer the, smaller yet, brass mallet heads. It’s a matter of preference.
As far as quilted maple, it is just the type of figure. Some maple is called tiger maple because of the stripes, etc. I source mine from out west. Curly maple is often used to refer to figured hard maple. A lot of curly hard maple comes from the eastern states. It is all considered “figured maple” and they charge you more for it. 🙁
If you go to CurlyMaple.com you will see many examples of figured maple. He has some really nice figured maple in various thicknesses. Some day, when I manage to build a spice box, I will no doubt use figured maple. Someday 🙂
Anyway hope that helps. There are also U Tube videos on the process. Some better than others.Ron Bontz
[SLWG] Stabilized blank explanation
April 10, 2020