Making wood stronger?

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Forum topic by leafherder posted 05-24-2015 08:55 PM 5220 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View leafherder's profile


1424 posts in 1980 days

05-24-2015 08:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood glue filling cracks

Hello Lumberjocks,

Does anyone know of a product that I can use to make a piece of wood stronger? I have a nice piece of buddleia (butterfly bush) that would make a great shaft for a cane but while drying it developed some long narrow cracks. What can I use to fill the cracks and increase the strength of the wood? Or should I just give up on this one? Usually I use sawdust and wood glue to fill small cracks, but I am afraid this requires something different. I thought about inlaying crushed stone, but I have never tried it and didn’t know if it would add the required strength. I remember reading about something that can be absorbed into soft woods to make them harder but can’t find the reference to know if it would work for my situation.

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated

Thanks in advance and Happy Memorial Day!

-- Leafherder

14 replies so far

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2911 days

#1 posted 05-24-2015 09:12 PM

You could soak the wood in thinned epoxy (can thin with acetone up to 1/3) which will help a bit and then fill the cracks with full strength epoxy.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2163 days

#2 posted 05-24-2015 09:33 PM

You could try Clear Polyester Clear Casting Resin have to ask but don’t think need a hardener with this project. Michaels & Hobby Lobby also sells a brand of clear poly resin but think need hardener for that product.

Having a mold would speed up the process.

Definitely need to wear gloves and painters mask dealing with this stuff or work in well ventilated area.

Less expensive method is 5 minute epoxy glue, but needs a full 24 hours to fully cure.

-- Bill

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1204 days

#3 posted 05-24-2015 09:45 PM

What about using the same technique that pen blank sellers use to stabilize wood? The vacuum process would draw the stabilizing agent into the cracks.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2540 days

#4 posted 05-24-2015 10:19 PM

What about drilling through the cracked areas then adding dowels also giving it an accent, sorta like butterflies in a table?

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View leafherder's profile


1424 posts in 1980 days

#5 posted 05-24-2015 10:59 PM

Thanks guys, all good suggestions that I will have to investigate.

Not sure how the vacuum process would work with a piece that is almost 4 feet long, but the stabilizing agent was what I was thinking about.
Soaking in Epoxy also might be difficult with a piece this long but I’m sure I could rig up something to hold the liquid, or make a mold for the casting resin.
My “shop” is my backyard where I do all the sawing and sanding so ventilation is not a problem.
The dowel option is intriguing – I have some walnut, dogwood, and rose that might be suitable, and it would give me an excuse to play with my new Dremel Sawmax some more.
Now that I know where to start I will look into all of these options (and anything else that anyone might suggest). The natural shape of this branch deserves my best effort so I do not want to rush into anything.

Thanks again, I knew I could count on the experts.

-- Leafherder

View pjones46's profile


1001 posts in 2671 days

#6 posted 05-24-2015 11:39 PM

Have you tried ’’Wood Juice’’ Wood Stabilizer? Claim is that it prevents checking, cracking and warping in dry, semi-dry and green wood. Have read a little about pressure treating in the shop, you may be able to do that relatively cheaply.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2324 days

#7 posted 05-25-2015 12:47 AM

Wood from a butterfly bush is more herbaceous than woodlike if that makes any sense. I think you will always have some flex in it. Maybe you should use that stick for something where rigidity isn’t necessary.

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2285 days

#8 posted 05-25-2015 01:15 AM

Take a look at Smith's Clear Penetrating Epocy Sealer. HTH

-- Art

View TheFridge's profile


9608 posts in 1514 days

#9 posted 05-25-2015 01:21 AM

To make my wood stronger, I infuse it with steel and testosterone!

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View mahdee's profile


3892 posts in 1795 days

#10 posted 05-25-2015 01:41 AM

Those butterfly bushes grow fast and absorb a lot of water in the process. Not sure how pretty they are inside, but for a small project I would use CA glue. let it soak all it wants to and give it a good 24 hours in between re coating. Stones always look good on any wood. I would also make a protective base for it to prevent water absorption. Love to see a picture of it.


View leafherder's profile


1424 posts in 1980 days

#11 posted 05-25-2015 02:05 PM

I understand testosterone supplements cause aggressiveness and premature balding – don’t need a cane with anger issues. :)

I have seen canes built around a steel core but that is beyond my skill level.

We had a series of mild winters and the bush was in a protected area so this branch was able to grow for several years and became quite thick. It is fairly rigid but I know the cracks might cause some weak areas. I will investigate the epoxy, wood stabilizer, and CA infusions. I will also take pictures along the way (as soon as I get the camera’s battery recharger back from my sister who borrowed mine because she lost hers).

Thanks for the helpful advice.

-- Leafherder

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1760 days

#12 posted 05-25-2015 02:37 PM

If you decide to try soaking the piece in some product, you could use a tray made to soak prepasted adhesive-backed wallpaper, or make a tray out of a short length of rain gutter with end caps on each end. Just a thought if you go that route.


-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2163 days

#13 posted 05-25-2015 03:41 PM

When talking about stabilizing wood need to use vacuum or cast material. To stabilize long pieces of wood need a long container that will hold vacuum. Some pool stick wood has been stabilized, not sure of lengths & cost. Casting materials like polyester resins need a hardener, some don’t. But if careful may not need a mold. Mold is a relative term because materials used to make a mold range from simple to complex.

Epoxy glue like polyester resins very good at filling voids and adding strength once fully cured.

Most polyester resins & epoxy glues dry clear unless tinted with dye or stain procedure/results have big learning curve.

Time, money, and learning curve pretty steep unless have desire or skills toss that stick!

Might be reason why some people laminate walking sticks!

If were me would toss that stick or use it as is!

-- Bill

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1204 days

#14 posted 05-25-2015 06:53 PM

Not sure how the vacuum process would work with a piece that is almost 4 feet long, but the stabilizing agent was what I was thinking about.
- leafherder

Use a long tube (clear) the vacuum sucks the air out of the wood thereby drawing the stabilizing liquid into the wood. Search YouTube there are plenty of videos.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

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