What is Wood Stabilizer and Is It Necessary?

Wood Stabilizer

Chances are that if you’re creating with wood, are new to woodworking or woodturning, or are just starting a project that requires wood, you’ve heard the term “wood stabilizer” and weren’t sure if you needed to do it.

The basic answer is that stabilizing your wood will be necessary “sometimes”. Ever notice a piece of wood that had split, cracked, or twisted over time? This is caused by sporadic drying and expanding and contracting in response to variations in humidity. That may be avoided with the stabilization procedure, which will maintain the stability and lovely appearance of your wood for many years to come.

We’ll provide a description of what a wood stabilizer is in the following article. We’ll discuss the ideal time to stabilize your wood, the types of wood that can be stabilized, and a few alternative techniques.

A wood stabilizer: what is it?

Wood stabilizer is a substance that increases the durability of wood and makes it less prone to warping or checking  than untreated wood. Wood stabilization strengthens the project piece’s weak areas.


The process of stabilization causes the movement to become “stable” by halting its expansion and contraction.

Additionally, it gives softer woods a little bit additional strength, making them somewhat more resilient than they otherwise would have been.

Although it won’t change balsa wood into oak, you can do more with it than you could have otherwise.


Which kind of wood are suitable for stability?

Wood Stabilizer and Is It Necessary?

Almost any species of hardwood or soft wood may be stabilized, however certain woods stable easier than others. This will also rely on a few other factors:

  • The wood’s moisture content prior to stabilization
  • What method and substance do you employ to stabilize the wood?
  • Before you stabilized it, if there were any gaps, holes, or fractures in your wood

For what purposes may stabilized wood be used?

You may use your stabilized wood for a number of different projects. Utilize stabilized wood cookies from your personal Christmas tree to create rustic wedding décor or decorations. Create blank pens. Transform lovely wooden vases and bowls. Construct a knife handle. Use a chainsaw to carve a black bear out of a tree stump! The options are essentially limitless.

When to apply a green wood stabilizer?

When your wood has just been cut, it is ideal to apply a green wood stabilizer. “Green wood” is wood that has just been cut. Stabilizing your wood while it’s still green is recommended since it avoids the checking and cracking that can occur as the wood dries out. That isn’t always feasible, though. There are occasions when you’ll locate a beautiful dried-out log and it will also need to be stabilized!

It’s critical to understand that the type of wood stabilizer you use will vary based on whether your wood is dry (containing less than 25% moisture) or green (containing 25% or more moisture).

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Various types of wood stabilizers

Wood Stabilizer and Is It Necessary?

While there are many products available for wood stabilization, as well as several unproven do-it-yourself approaches, the following techniques will be the emphasis of this article:

  • Pentacryl
  • Resin
  • Wood Juice

Green Wood Stabilizer with Pentacryl

As the best green wood stabilizer available, Pentacryl is used to stabilize newly cut green wood. It functions by swapping out the wood’s water molecules. Pentacryl’s modified polymers, in turn, leave a thin coating on the walls of the wood cells that stops the cells from shrinking. Consequently, there will be a considerable decrease in the usual drying-out cracking, checking, and warping that occurs with green wood.

Applying Pentacryl is as simple as soaking or brushing the product over the wood surface until it fully absorbs. Next, carefully and slowly dry the wood. Pentacryl won’t cause your wood to rust, discolor, or alter in any other way. Similar to untreated wood, the wood may be polished, sanded, stained, glued, and wood burnt once it has completely dried and stabilized.

For treating semi-dry to dry wood, use the next two stabilizers in this guide:

Wood Juice Stabilizer, Semi-Dry Wood

Wood Juice is designed to treat wood that is dry or semi-dry and has a moisture level of 15–25%. It functions in a manner akin to Pentacryl and stops further cracking.

Applying Wood Juice is simple; just soak or brush the substance onto the wood. It is sufficient to apply just one brush-on application if the moisture level is less than 15%. Applying excessive amounts of Wood Juice to dried wood will cause it to become ineffective. Similar to Pentacryl, the secret to effectively utilizing Wood Juice is controlled drying.

Wood Stabilizer Made of Resin

The drier the wood, the better, for resin stabilization. The maximum moisture content for your wood should be 10%, and even less is ideal. In order for these stabilizers to function, all of the air in the wood must be removed and replaced with resin. One thing to keep in mind is that following the stabilization procedure, your stabilized object will be heavier because resin is heavier than air. On the other hand, treated and dried wood gains relatively little weight from Pentacryl and Wood Juice.

How to use: Stabilizing with resin involves considerably more than just soaking or brushing the substance on, as with Pentacryl or Wood Juice. To activate the resin, use a vacuum pump to assist the wood to absorb it, followed by heat. You may buy a vacuum chamber kit or make one yourself using a variety of DIY kits available online.

Key Facts

Stabilizers cannot close gaps or create voids. Not the holes, but the wood is filled in. Epoxy resin or CA (Cyanoacrylate) glue, tinted to your preference, works pretty well for filling holes in wood.

You must stain your wood piece in advance if you choose to do so. The wood absorbs the stabilizer, which contributes to its effectiveness. Traditional wood stains do not perform as well on stabilized wood due to this procedure, which also often deepens or changes the original color of the wood.

However, if you combine a stain or dye with the substance, it will alter its color while the stabilizer works, or if you use an alcohol- or oil-based dye after the fact, it usually works rather well.

Please take caution since oil- and alcohol-based colors may be quite messy and leave lasting marks on everything they come into touch with.

Wood stabilizers are a fantastic technique to maintain the original beauty of a very lovely product. They may significantly raise the value of your project and are often quite simple to utilize.

Final Thought :

In the realm of woodworking, preserving the integrity and aesthetics of your creations is paramount. Whether you’re a seasoned craftsman or just embarking on your woodworking journey, the importance of wood stabilization cannot be overstated. By incorporating stabilizing techniques into your projects, you’re not only ensuring longevity but also enhancing the inherent beauty of the wood.

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Wood Stabilizer and Is It Necessary?

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