Before we had a professional
stabilizing system built for us, these were a couple of the ways
I experimented with. They both worked well for my own projects.
If you want to do it yourself without spending a lot of money,
here are a couple options.
Minwax has a product called of
all things "Wood Hardener". It is usually in
the same section of the store as stains and varnish. Wood Hardener
is solvent based so be sure to use it outside or where there
is plenty of fresh air. The fumes are the biggest drawback to
using this product. It also tends to darken the wood and gives
light colored woods an amber color.
Protective Coatings has a product
they call "Wood Petrifier". I found it at Home
Depot after checking the Protective Coatings website. Wood Petrifier
is waterbased and environmentally friendly. You could use this
stuff in the kitchen without getting into trouble. Very slight
amber with light woods but for the most part keeps the true color
of the wood.
Both of these products were created
to fix areas of rotten wood in architectural restorations. I
have used both on a large variety of woods with results I was
very pleased with. I like minwax for the darker and oilier woods
and protective coatings for light color, soft and spalted woods.
(just my opinion, both work great)
If you will be hardening just
a few sets of scales or blocks a mason jar works great. For larger
batches I used a flat bottom rubbermaid container. Trim the wood
to about the size you need then place in the container. Then
pour the solution into the container to cover the wood. The wood
will try to float so you need to use something to hold the wood
submerged. Try to use something that won't soak up the solution
and will hold the wood under when you put the lid on. With scales
it soaks all the way through in about 2 days. Blocks should soak
a couple days longer. I usually swish the container around a
couple times a day. After the wood has soaked long enough take
it out to dry. I lay it out flat on a piece of cardboard with
another on top with scales. Then I place a board with some weight
on top to keep the scales from curling while they dry. After
2 or 3 days the scales are usually dry enough to sand and use.
If you ever have scales curl, just flip them over and apply
a little weight and they will normally correct themselves within