Great minds and all that

-- Last Updated: Nov-16-08 12:31 PM EST --

Some time ago I was ruminating over the posibility of using PVC pipe as a chamber for impregnating ash gunwale sections with oil, using vacuum to draw the oil into the wood.

As I might have imagined, this drew quite a few comments.

Then this morning I was reading the outdoors column in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, written by John McCoy, who dabbles in bamboo rod making. He passed along this story he gleaned from an online rod-making forum, and it seems that other minds are thinking alike. It is for you, dear reader, to decide whether the adjective "great" should preceed "minds".

".....One fellow told how he had attempted to build a device to impregnate rod sections with varnish under high pressure. He built it of PVC pipe. With the unit constructed, sealed and filled with expensive varnish, he cranked up the pressure - and blew the screw-on PVC cap out like a cannonball. Two gallons of varnish shot upward, splashed off the ceiling, and covered the poor guy from head to toe...."

Forgot to include this paragraph: "I gotta say, you can never done anything to yourself more miserable than stand naked in the middle of a garage on a piece of plastic drop cloth pouring mineral spirits through your hair trying to get the varnish out," he wrote.


You’re advising us not to try at home…

PVC and Air Pressure = Trouble!
The general rule in industry is that you DO NOT use PVC for compressed air, it has a bad habit of fracturing and sending shrapnel flying. People have been badly hurt this way, and that’s with small pipe. Using large pipe, plus adding a few gallons of possibly flammable oil or varnish into the mix, and it seems like a recipe for disaster. PVC might work for Vaccuuum but for anything more that a few pounds of positive pressure I would not even try it.

I would suggest large copper tubing, with soldered and caps and a soldered threaded fitting adapter on one end or even threaded steel pipe ( probably cheaper, though very heavy) if you intend to make any sort of pressure vessel out of pipe.

Be careful out there…we don’t want to hear about this on

Mikey in NJ

Alas Mikey,
laziness has shelved this project. I am more inclined to simply brush on the oil.

But you gotta wonder about all of those folks making potatoe guns out of PVC.


Those tater throwers…
scare the bejesus out of me! I guess the potato is not a sealed plug though. Might look at the process of pressure treating lumber for some ideas.