WHAT IS SOS?
SOS-726, SOS 3.0 or SOS for short (pronounced like “sauce”) is a semi rigid heat cure Acrylate resin for stabilization of wood and other porous materials. SOS is specially formulated to penetrate deep in most woods, filling space inside and coating the exterior of cell walls with a polymer to reduce or prevent movement in the wood due to changes in moisture content. Additional benefits include bulking and hardening of soft wood.
DOES SOS NEED A VACUUM OR PRESSURE POT?
This form of stabilization works best with a vacuum. While it may be possible to soak wood until fully saturated, the results will not be as effective as those agained by use of a vacuum. Using a vacuum chamber removes trapped air and any remaining contained moisture in the wood and aids the penetration of cell walls by the resin. Pressure may be used, but this only aids to speed up the time after a vacuum when the wood is left to absorb the resin. At this time, there is not enough evidence to suggest any additional benefits to the use of pressure.
WHAT TEMPERATURE DOES SOS CURE?
SOS will begin setting up between 180-190 F. The target temperature is 190F for 10 minutes. This means enough time must be given for the very center of the wood to reach 190F. Wood is an insulator, so this takes a while. Large pieces need a very long time to cure fully. I usually cure at 220*F until the steam stops, then let it continue for another hour per inch thickness. If you discover the resin has not fully cured, you can put it through another heat cycle. It’s not a one shot deal.
HOW DO I DISPOSE OF OLD OR CONTAMINATED RESIN?
Unused and uncured resin should be cured and disposed of with normal plastic trash. Although it is not known to be a serious risk to health or environment, it is best disposed of in volume as a solid. It is safe to clean your chamber and other items which have come in contact with SOS in a sink. Soap and water is all that is needed to clean up SOS.
CAN SOS BE REUSED?
Absolutely! It is important to use enough SOS to keep your wood fully submerged until you are confident you have full penetration. The remaining resin may be reused many times. This will introduce contaminants into the resin with every use. Oily woods in particular will release free-radicals into the resin. Enough contamination could cause the resin to excite and begin building polymer chains prematurely. Other sources of contamination could come from dirty, greasy or oily metal pieces or other foreign objects used to weigh down wood in the vacuum chamber. If you feel your SOS has become too contaminated to re-use, either dilute it with fresh resin or cure and dispose of with plastic rubbish.
CAN I USE MY KITCHEN OVEN TO CURE?
You should never put anything other than food in anything you intend to use for food again. If it is curing resin or any other activity, it's best to have a dedicated oven and equipment to handle this. While curing resin may not make your oven unsafe for your health, at the very least it may leave a smell and residue which will affect the flavor of your food for a while after. I can not say it would cause any serious risks that I know of (if done with a drip tray and safely) I can not and will not ever recommend this. Besides, your wife, mother, husband or whomever else will probably be pretty upset with you for curing in the kitchen.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CURE MY BLANKS?
You're going to hear this a lot... it depends. There's no slide rule or specific answer to any of this. All wood is different and will give different results. The resin itself only needs about 10 minutes or so, but the wood, dye added etc. will cause this to be very different for everybody. Generally, you would bake until the steam stops, then I usually let it continue for another hour or so per inch thickness... just to be sure. in total, I'd estimate that most pieces will cure somewhere between 1-4 hours per inch of thickness, but this also depends on the efficiency of your oven.
SHOULD I WRAP MY BLANKS IN FOIL?
NO! DO NOT WRAP YOUR BLANKS IN FOIL WHEN USING SOS RESIN!
The resin needs to out gas. Trapping the steam against the blank will likely affect your cure. Wrapping blanks in foil is a way to contain the massive amount of bleedout in the competition's products. SOS resin is specially formulated to stay put in your blanks while curing. While we can't completely eliminate bleedout, it's generally not an issue with SOS.
Place blanks on foil, over a drip pan or in a disposable aluminum baking pan and you'll be fine. To make sure you have as little dripping as possible, let your blanks rest, like a good steak, after you remove them from soaking. You could also wipe them off with a towel or squeegee them. There will be a bit of resin stuck to your blanks with surface tension that will drip off. This is usually what most see as "bleedout" with SOS resin. If you eliminate this before cure, you will see almost no bleedoout in cure.
WHAT SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS ARE THERE?
SOS should be treated with the respect and care of any chemical in your house. Do not eat or drink while using. Use only in a well ventilated area. Wash hands after use and avoid contact with skin, eyes and do not ingest. In some cases SOS can be an irritant. Sensitization is possible. If you get it in your eyes, flush with water immediately for 15 minutes including under the eyelids and remove contacts with plenty of water immediately. And as always if there is a question of your health or safety, seek medical advice. If you ingest SOS, rinse mouth with water and drink plenty of water afterwards then seek medical assistance without delay. With proper use, SOS is a safe and enjoyable addition to your woodworking and other creative projects.
Additionally, we recommend using suitable chemical resistant rubber gloves. Nitrile gloves are not well suited and may be affected by the resin.
CAN SOS BE USED TO DYE WOOD?
Yes. We recommend SOS Stabilization Dyes and Alumilite dyes in the following colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Ocean Blue, Violet (purple) and Brown. Some mixed results and success has been had with Alumilite Black as well. Any other dye is untested and we can not take any responsibility for wasted wood due to experimentation.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE (TDS/MSDS/SDS)?
We now include a copy of this with every shipment in the external packing slip envelope. You may also download it as a PDF below. (Links to come soon)
MY PIECES STILL FEEL A LITTLE SOFT OR RUBBERY WHEN I PULL THEM OUT OF CURE...
SOS does not fully harden until it cools off. If you do get a little bit of bleedout in an undesirable location, this is a very good opportunity to carefully scrape or pick the resin off the blank surface. Once it cools, it will need to be sanded or ground off. The material will still be hot, so be safe and take precautions to avoid injury. Leather gloves are recommended.
MY BLANKS DON'T SEEM TO BE FULLY CURED EVEN AFTER LETTING THEM COOL..
Wood is a good insulator. You might need to give them more time to get the heat into the center of the blanks.
If your resin is getting a little older, it may be losing activation levels. Contact us to get an activation booster. This can happen over time due to the half life of the activator or due to contamination in the resin. See the reply about resin contamination for more..
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY RESIN IS CONTAMINATED? WHAT IS CONTAMINATION?
Contamination is technically any foreign substance in the resin, so your resin is contaminated after first use. The type and level of contamination is what makes a difference. The typical dust and dirt that will get in the resin typically doesn't contain anything that will affect the resin. Here's a list of some common contamination sources and problems that can affect the resin:
- Water - The most common source is from blanks that were not completely or properly dried before placement in resin. This can greatly extend time under vacuum, reduce final quality and amount of resin you're able to get in the blank. At lower levels, water will retard the cure process. If too much moisture remains in the blank, this could prevent the resin from fully curing or alter the physical properties of the resin when it does cure. Moisture can also be introduced from open air storage in high humidity climates or use of unfiltered air compressors when adding pressure as a part of the soak phase. Take any steps to mediate and eliminate as much moisture as possible for best results.
- Wood Oils and tannin - All woods contain some level of oils and tannin. SOS was made with an effort to resist reaction with most of these chemical compounds that would cause competitor resins to over activate or prematurely polymerize in the vacuum chamber. Although we have greatly reduced the risk of having to clean cured resin out of your chamber and damage to your equipment and materials, some of these can prevent a full cure when contamination levels get too high. To reduce the risk, avoid naturally oily woods. If you wish to stabilize oily woods, keep in mind that the contamination levels will be cumulative. Re-use of the resin may not be recommended and potentially wasted. Contact us if you need to get an activation boost for some of this resin or wish to discuss some other options to avoid costly waste in resin.
- Oil, cleansers and other misc. - The use of metal objects is common for weights. Metals free of oxidation will not affect the resin. DO NOT use oxidized (rusted or corroded) metal to weigh down blocks in resin. Often times, metal parts and pieces are treated with oils or other coatings to prevent oxidation before they are purchased for use. Be sure to clean any metal you intend to use before placing it in the resin. Rinse and dry thoroughly to ensure no soaps, solvents or other contamination is introduced.
- Dye - yes, dye is a contamination. Alumilite dye does have an upper limit. We don't recommend using more than 1 oz/ gal. We do not know what the upper limit is and does appear to be different for each color, but have seen cases where massive amounts of dye were added in green or blue and caused the resin to polymerize in the chamber. Red Alumilite dye sometimes does not bond well with the cross linking resin and can "bleed" out after cure. Although we've not seen serious issues with aniline dye powders, they can potentially extend the cure times. In rare cases, some use of aniline dye powders have left some powdery substances on the surface of cured blanks. This cleans off easily and poses no issues to the blank.
If you are having issues with your resin cure and think it may be due to contamination, contact us for assistance with your specific issues and process.