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How Do I Stabilize A Spalted Maple Top?


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I am considering using a piece of flamed/spalted maple that I have for the top on my first bass, which I am in the beginning phases of building (just the body, bought an excellent neck for it, will try that next time...) and I would like to stabilize the wood to prevent any problems with routing or finishing. What is the best technique for accomplishing this? I've read about some methods that turners use here :

http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/sh...ead.php?t=33280

However, the methods they use seem impractical for use with pieces as large as a top. (though it did get me thinking about making an acrylic vacuum chamber, but the thought of buying the gallons of finish I would have to use is daunting)

I've heard a little bit about soaking it in thin CA glue (superglue) but don't know any of the details as far as the type of glue (brand) or the best process to follow. I also read on the forum linked above that there may be problems with CA glue losing its stability after a period of time (according to the folks on the site, 8 years) and I'd like to rest assured that whatever I do use won't have any problems in the future.

Will a CA glue soaked top take an oil finish?

I searched the forum, but couldn't find the results I needed. I may not have tried the correct wording combo, so don't get too upset if this has come up before... :D:D

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CA or thinned Epoxy are the two methods I have used to stabalize punky wood. How soft the wood has become makes a difference in how you have to treat it. I suspect that turners requirements may be tuffer than a guitars top. The woods a turner uses would most likely be thicker, thus more challenging to get penetration with the stabalizer used. I am sure following a proven method used by turners would exceed the demands of this application, but certainly can't hurt to use a method that exceeds the need.

After reading the comments in your link, I am really curious about the failure they have encountered with CA. CA has and is commonly used for many instrument building applications, as well as repairs (mainly for its ability to wick into small spaces, as well as strength and speed of curing). Do you have any links to more specifics on the failures (8 years sounds like a firm time frame, and with such a short duration and extensive use of this adhesive, you would think there should be a lot of documented issues- *should be very common knowledge also in the woodworking circles).

Peace,Rich

P.S. Lets see if count DRAK ula chimes in. He seems to be a very trustworthy source on this subject.

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Thanks Rich!

A few minutes of searching hasn't yielded any results on more info about the CA glue failures. If I find anything about that, I'll post it here.

I have a piece of spalted maple that is not that punky for the most part, but there are some parts that you can press a dent in with a pick (that was the "punkiness test" that I was recommended to check for suitability for use on a guitar) but aren't just waiting to fall apart or anything. I just don't want any nasty surprises when it comeeps to cutting or finishing it.

Does that give you any more insight as to which method you would use?

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Minwax makes a product called "Wood hardener" which is used for hardening rotten wood prior to rebuilding with bondo/epoxy in building restoration. Might be worth trying out on a piece of scrap. It's certainly cheaper than CA, but probably just as toxic.

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CA flows very easy, and seems to penetrate very well on really soft wood, Epoxy doesn't flow quite as freely(but slow setting thin Epoxy will flow reasonably well). If the wood is not too soft, I would be inclined to use Epoxy.

Personally, If I had a question about dealing with spalted wood though, I would ask Drak for his opinion. Because he seems to have that work down pat.

Peace,Rich

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