Hello, I work for Custom Floors Unlimted out of Houston, Texas. Found your article and it seems like you could offer up some advice. We are currently on a project where we are trying to hang 2” thick spalted maples slabs along a wall. We are struggling with how soft the material is. Minwax was not doing the trick nor did PC-Petrifier. Is this something you could help with?? A product or a process perhaps? We have 100 years of experience combined and are still struggling! I look forward to your reply
Well, you’ve certainly got me scratching my head. Just to clarify, I’m not sure whether you wish to provide sufficient protection for the maple against damage, or is the softness preventing the ability to secure the slabs in the vertical? I’ll assume the latter for my answer, but please correct me if I’ve misread the situation you describe in your question.
Like you, I would head straight to a wood hardener. I don’t have any personal experience with PC-Petrifier, but I have some passing experience with Smith & Co. Professional Version™ Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer™ (CPES™). It’s a professional product used to improve the physical properties of wood and to effect the restoration of architectural structures. I’m listing some laboratory testing links here, which, while interesting reading, don’t fully give you an answer. However, they show increased resistance to stress failure when comparing treated cedar shingles to untreated ones. The increase in applied force the timber could resist was somewhere between 30 to 66%.
Part 1 – http://www.woodrestoration.com/introduction.pdf
Part 2 – http://www.woodrestoration.com/woodrestoration02.pdf
Part 3 – http://www.woodrestoration.com/woodrestoration03.pdf
Part 4 – http://www.woodrestoration.com/woodrestoration04.pdf
Steve Smith’s webpage is here: http://www.smithandcompany.org/CPES/
If you can clarify exactly the problem you are having with the softness (if I’ve got it wrong), I’m happy to put my thinking cap back on and try to nut out a solution.