I've been getting into pen turning (making 100 pens for our clients at work), and a local sawyer gave me a huge slab of spalted sycamore. The problem is that it's pretty soft, so any pen blanks cut from it need to be stabilized. The best method I've seen for stabilizing is using a product called Cactus Juice. The problem is that you need a vacuum chamber to do it. So what do people like us do? We build our own vacuum chambers. It was surprisingly easy to do. Here's a list of parts and sources: Pressure cooker - $6 - Salvation Army 12" x 12" x 1/2" cast acrylic plexi - $11.29 - EstreetPlastics Vacuum pump - $58 - Amazon 1/4" Ball valve - $4.80 - Zoro 1/4" Brass hose barb - $.79 - Zoro Brass T - $3.04 - Zoro Vacuum gauge - $9.82 - Zoro Flare to hose barb fitting - This was the most difficult piece to figure out, but I was able to find it at McMaster-Carr. It's part #5670K21 - $1.50 1/4" ID braided PVC hose Another thing I wanted to try with this setup was to dye woods all the way through. Back when I was first prototyping my straps, I was going to try to dye the Originals, so I purchased some fiber reactive dye from Dharma Trading Company. Well, the cotton my straps are made from was apparently treated with something, so it wouldn't hold the dye, so I've had several jars of this dye just sitting around. This type of dye is for any natural fiber and can be used on wood, so I thought I'd give it a try. I mixed up a batch of Pagoda Red according to the directions and dropped in a couple of pieces of apricot wood. I ran the vacuum to the max for 20 minutes and then released the vacuum and poured in the fixing agent. I then let everything set under vacuum for another 2 hrs, and it came out like this. This was right out of the water, so it was still pretty dark. I'll let it dry for a week or so and then try turning them to see how well the dye penetrated the wood. My chamber kept losing vacuum pretty quickly, and I'm not sure why since it held so well in the first test. I've removed all the plumbing, and I'm going to redo it all and try to get a better seal on everything.