How to Stabilize Wood for Turning

How to Stabilize Wood for Turning: Tips and Tricks for the Best Results


Stabilizing wood is an essential step in the woodturning process, especially when working with softer or more porous wood. The stabilization process strengthens the wood, making it easier to turn and resulting in a more durable finished product. This article will guide you through the various methods and tips for stabilizing wood for turning.

Why Stabilize Wood?

Stabilizing wood enhances its properties, making it more resilient and easier to work with. It prevents the wood from cracking, warping, or absorbing moisture, which is particularly important for intricate or delicate projects.

Methods of Stabilization

Vacuum Stabilization

  1. Prepare the Wood: Cut the wood to the desired size and remove any bark or loose material.
  2. Dry the Wood: Ensure the wood is completely dry, preferably with a moisture content below 10%.
  3. Prepare the Resin: Mix the stabilizing resin according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Vacuum Chamber: Place the wood in a vacuum chamber and pour in the resin.
  5. Apply Vacuum: Turn on the vacuum pump and let it run until bubbles stop forming.
  6. Cure the Wood: Remove the wood and let it cure until hard.

Chemical Stabilization

  1. Choose the Chemical: Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is commonly used.
  2. Soak the Wood: Submerge the wood in the chemical solution for several days.
  3. Dry and Cure: Remove the wood and allow it to dry and cure.

Heat Treatment

  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to a low temperature, around 200-220°F.
  2. Bake the Wood: Place the wood in the oven for several hours.
  3. Cool Down: Allow the wood to cool naturally before working on it.

Tips and Tricks

  • Wood Selection: Choose wood with a uniform grain for best results.
  • Safety First: Always wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves and a mask.
  • Test Small Pieces: Before stabilizing a large piece, test a small sample to ensure the method works as expected.
  • Monitor Moisture Levels: Use a moisture meter to confirm the wood is adequately dry before starting the stabilization process.


Stabilizing wood for turning is an invaluable skill that can significantly improve the quality of your projects. Whether you opt for vacuum stabilization, chemical treatment, or heat treatment, understanding the basics of each method will help you choose the best approach for your specific needs.