Which Vacuum Pump To Use For Stabilizing Wood

In this episode, I discuss what you need to look for in a vacuum pump for stabilizing wood. With all the specifications, it gets a little confusing! Luckily, there is only one specification that you need to worry about.

When I first started stabilizing wood, I had an oilless pump and decided to use that one since I couldn’t really afford to buy a new one. I never really looked into what specifications were important, and I never knew if the pump I had was right for the job. I was getting reasonable results; however, I noticed some inconsistencies in the final stabilized products. I knew it was time to learn more about vac pumps.

Well, after consulting with Curtis Seebeck from TurnTex.com, I found out that my air cooled pump was “underpowered” and I could get better results if I upgraded to the correct pump. Curtis explained to me what’s important in a pump, and he recommended the Robinair 15310.

Armed with the new knowledge, I quickly purchased a new pump. I found the Robinair 15310 on Amazon.com, and I ended up paying $98.18 for it plus free 2-day shipping. It’s regularly $159.95, but since I have the Amazon Prime membership, I got a smokin’ deal on it!

If you purchase from Amazon.com frequently, I’d highly recommend looking into the Prime Membership. On this vacuum pump purchase alone, I saved $61 plus I get free 2-Day shipping on every item that’s marked “Prime”. Click on the photo to the right to learn more about Prime Memberships and get a free 30-Day trial.

I want to thank Curtis Seebeck for his continued help when it comes to stabilizing. I believe his vacuum chambers and Cactus Juice stabilizing resin are the best on the market, but his customer service is what sets him apart from any other brand. His dedication to ensuring that his customers are getting the best results is just plain awesome. I should have consulted with him about the pump I was using a year ago!



8 thoughts on “Which Vacuum Pump To Use For Stabilizing Wood”

  1. Zac this is going to turn out to be a stupid question, but looking through the specks on vacuum pumps I do not see Inch of mercury, inHg or suction. How is Inch of mercury expressed on these pumps

    1. Hey Steve, it’s not a dumb question at all. It is tough to sort through all the info on pumps. To be honest, I don’t even know exact specs anymore. I just know what two pumps I would use and recommend. I’ve been using the Robinar pumps for years, and they work fabulous, the other option is to go with an American made JB Eliminator pump that costs a bit more but can be repaired if needed (you can’t order parts for the Robinair, so it’s pretty much disposable). I have links to both on my “tools I use” page on my website. They both work perfect for stabilizing. If you’d like to dive into the details on pumps, this article by Curtis at TurnTex explains everything about vacuum pumps for stabilizing in great detail: https://www.turntex.com/help-center/cactus-juice-stabilizing-resources/98-selecting-a-vacuum-pump

  2. Jesse Tutterrow

    Thanks for the videos. How many hours of running do you get on a Robinair pump before it is time to replace it?

  3. Hi there.
    I am just starting to stabilize wood for knife handles. I have a single phaze pump and I need to know if A double stage is required. and also is a cold chamber required. (between pump and vacum chamber)

    1. Hey Ray, great to hear you’re diving in! You don’t need a two stage pump, you just need a pump that will provide enough vacuum, like the Robinair mentioned in this post. I’ve been using them for years, they work great and don’t cost an arm and a leg. I also have a JB Eliminator (which is a two stage), bought it to see how it compared to the Robinair since many people suggest them. There is absolutely no difference in actual use, they both do exactly the same thing. The only difference is the JB is made in America, and you can get parts for them if you need to repair it. Just depends on your budget, if you prefer buying American made, and if you would rather be able to repair a pump if a problem occurs. If a Robinar breaks, you basically would have to toss it in the trash and buy another one… but you can buy two or three for the price of a JB.

      As for a cold trap, it’s not a bad idea but not entirely necessary with Cactus Juice (I’d imagine most other stabilizing resin brands are the same, but I only use CJ and know for sure it doesn’t produce any vapors that can get into the pump). I don’t use them in my setup, but it will save your bacon if you accidentally suck up some stabilizing resin into the vacuum line. The other things that wear on your vacuum pump are moisture and other contaminants that are in the wood being sucked in. I’m not sure if a cold trap would capture moisture or other contaminants, that would be a question for Curtis Seebeck at TurnTex. My understanding is a cold trap will condense vapors running through the line, which then drop in the trap. I would tend to think that would include moisture, but other contaminants maybe not. In general though, if you just make sure you fully dry your materials out, you shouldn’t have to worry about it. I have a video that covers how to properly dry out wood if you want to check it out: https://nvwoodwerks.com/drying-wood-for-stabilizing-or-casting-in-resin/

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