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Old 09-02-2014, 08:19 PM   #1
SamHarper
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Default Knife scale dryer/easy bake oven

Curtis Seebeck recommends drying your knife scales at 200F for 24 hours before stabilizing them so all the moisture is completely out of them. I was having a hard time getting my oven or toaster to come on at that temperature, so I made this hot box that works just like an easy bake oven. It's got a 100W bulb in it, and without any insulation or thermostat, it comes to exactly 200F when it's in my garage. It's as if it were meant to be! I may put some insulation for when it gets colder in there, and maybe add a thermostat at some point. Does anybody know where I can get a thermostat I can set to around 200F?

I was thinking about cutting a hole in the door and putting some plexiglass over the hole so I can see inside and check the temperature without having to open it up, but I don't have a jig saw.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:21 PM   #2
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I wonder if it might also help to put a little computer fan in there so circulate the air.
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:21 PM   #3
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You could use a Johnson Temperature controller to keep it right at 200. About 50 bucks.
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:24 PM   #4
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That's awesome. Growing up, we called those redneck microwave ovens. Great for heating up breakfast tacos/etc.
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:58 PM   #5
R Herline Jr
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We used to use them on high rises when I was an Ironworker to keep our lunch hot in the winter. We called them hot boxes
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:20 PM   #6
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You can use a meat thermometer to monitor temp from the outside. Just drill a small hole and insert the spike. That's what I have on my bow oven.
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:37 PM   #7
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I'm in the development stages of a super duper skull soaker, and I'm using this temperature controller.

http://www.dorkfood.com/

I don't see why it wouldn't work in your hot box.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
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Sam and when you're not drying wood you can get some easy bake recipes and make you some cup cakes.

All kidding aside; when I get my wood dried out like I want I use a moisture meter and then store them in sandwich bags. Some days I stabilize all day long and cure them over night, then store them the same way in sandwich bags, so when I'm ready for them I just have to pick one out.

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Old 09-03-2014, 05:45 PM   #9
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Thank you all for the suggestions. Bingham's sells a thermal switch that cycles between 150-180F, and it's only $11.75.

http://www.binghamprojects.com/proddetail.php?prod=2TC

I'm looking for something like that except that I want it to cycle between 190-210F or 200-220F or something close to that. I've been googling around for thermal cycling switches, and I've found several different temperature ranges, mostly costing around $12 to $20; just not exactly the temperature range I'm looking for.

Bob, when you say you "cure them over night," do you mean you leave them in the oven over night? I've been using Cactus Juice, and it seems to only take an hour at 200F to fully cure it. Except for some cocobola I tried recently that didn't cure at all. Do you use cactus juice or something else?

Last edited by SamHarper; 09-03-2014 at 05:56 PM..
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Old 09-03-2014, 05:58 PM   #10
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I've got four sets of scales in the vacuum chamber right now. No matter how many times I do this, it never stops being cool, watching the bubbles come out and stuff. :-)
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:56 PM   #11
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Yes Sam I cure them over night; you also have to understand I may have 25 scales in the oven over night.... You're not going to over cure them, it's only 200 degrees... I've never cured them in an hour before, four to six hours minimum.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:07 PM   #12
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Hmm. I wonder if that piece of cocobola would've cured if I had left it in longer. I guess we'll never know.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHarper View Post
Hmm. I wonder if that piece of cocobola would've cured if I had left it in longer. I guess we'll never know.

They have to look like ice crystals completely white when they are cured... I know that when Curtis is curing his pen blanks he put the in his oven and goes to bed and takes them out in the morning.

Let me put it this way; you're not going to over cure them, and if you don't cure them right the first time they can't be re-stabilized and put back in the oven. It's a one shot thing.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:31 PM   #14
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Well, I had pretty good success today. I cured my scales in the hotbox. I put a towel over it to make sure it would get up to temperature, and it got up to 250F. It's crazy how just putting a towel over it raised the temperature by 50 degrees. But everything cured, so I'm happy. I left it in there about six hours.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:40 PM   #15
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Just buy a cheap food dehydrator and leave them in it a couple of days to dry them and like Bob said seal them in a bag. I prefer to dry and stabilize blocks instead of scales due to some woods warping in the oven.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:49 PM   #16
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Terry, I wonder if penetration is a problem when you stabilize bigger blocks like that.

Yeah, it occurred to me while I was making this that it's basically like a food dehydrator. I just need a fan. Then I can make jerky in it when I'm not drying wood. :-)
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHarper View Post
Terry, I wonder if penetration is a problem when you stabilize bigger blocks like that.

Yeah, it occurred to me while I was making this that it's basically like a food dehydrator. I just need a fan. Then I can make jerky in it when I'm not drying wood. :-)
No problem bigger blocks just takes longer.. My scales are almost 1/2 thick to allow for warping, and yes I know I lose material. I buy in bulk so I don't mind losing some.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHarper View Post
Terry, I wonder if penetration is a problem when you stabilize bigger blocks like that.

Yeah, it occurred to me while I was making this that it's basically like a food dehydrator. I just need a fan. Then I can make jerky in it when I'm not drying wood. :-)

I can depending on the species however I have about 300 blocks here that I have done and sold just as many with no complaints. I do tend to let them soak way longer than I vacuum them down and that makes a world of difference.

Just a note..
Cocobolo will discolor your resin horribly. Cactus Juice doesn't work well on Redwood burl, Mesquite or Walnut.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjankowski View Post
No problem bigger blocks just takes longer.. My scales are almost 1/2 thick to allow for warping, and yes I know I lose material. I buy in bulk so I don't mind losing some.
I sell in bulk. Stabilized or not. Bring a pickup if need be.
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