Box Elder Burl with Black and Orange
This hybrid pen blank contains a piece of Box Elder burl that has been stabilized and cast with a black and orange resin.
Dimensions: 3/4 x 3/4 x 5-1/2 – Inches
Not all woods are stable and burls can prove to be quite the opposite. Stabilizing a piece of wood can turn some punky wood that can easily be broken apart with your hand into something very strong that won’t dent after being hit with a hammer. The process involves submerging the wood in a stabilizing resin inside a vacuum chamber. A strong vacuum pump is used to remove all of the air from the chamber including the wood at which point the seal is released and the resin is allowed to soak into the wood for several hours. The wood is then cured in an oven at high temperatures to ensure the stabilizing resin is fully hardened.
Casting Under Pressure
Casting the wood in a resin is what can turn an otherwise worthless piece of scrap into something amazing. The casting process I use utilizes a pressure chamber to help shrink all air bubbles to a microscopic size rendering them virtually invisible. It also helps minimize voids which can sometimes be troublesome with the abnormal and sought after shape of burls. The resin I use for all of my castings is Alumilite and their branded dyes and powders.
Turning & Finishing
Due to crevices and the abnormal shape of the burls and other woods used in casting, small voids and air pockets can occur. These should be filled with CA glue prior to finishing.
The brass tube can be visible with partially transparent blanks after turning. Some prefer to spray paint the inside of the blank after drilling.
Since these blanks contain both wood and resin, I recommend applying a finish instead of going straight to buffing like you can with acrylic. I prefer to go down the CA Glue finish route sanding up to 600 grit and then moving to micro mesh. I would stay away from wet sanding until you get at least a few coats of CA built up because even though the wood is stabilized, it can still swell with the water. I like to apply 6-10 coats of CA finish.
For additional information on how to turn hybrid pen blanks, Sean Rubino made a great instructional video on his process HERE.
|Dimensions||5.5 × .75 × .75 in|
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