What is Stabilised Wood?
Stabilised wood has many advantages over untreated wood. It is moisture-resistant, durable and much less prone to warping, chips or cracking. This makes it the ideal material for knife handles as it’s hard-wearing yet tactile and visually unique.
The process of stabilizing wood involves drying the wood to get rid of any moisture that it holds. The wood and a stabilizing agent are then placed in a chamber under a vacuum. This removes any air from the pores of the wood and fills any voids. It is then treated to a period of high pressure which forces the stabilizing agent to completely penetrate the wood. The wood and stabilizing agent are then heat treated which turns the liquid stabilizer into a solid. This adds weight and hardens the wood.
The stabilizing chemical used is resin-based and this is where the variety of colours come from as different dyes can be added. The process gives each piece of wood a different finish and this, combined with the wood grain, means that no two stab wood mods will ever be exactly the same. This is one of the many attractions of stab wood, even if the mod is produced in large numbers each and every one will be distinctive and different.
Any variety of wood can be stabilized but the most commonly used are poplar maple, oak, elm and burl (the latter is not a variety of tree but where a tree forms a growth and the grain develops in a deformed manner).
Its not just wood…
It isnt only wood that can be stabilised, all the fossilied materials we use including the woolly mammoth ivory undergoes a similar process, for all the same reasons.