Interesting Woodworking Link

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Episode #118 - Bench Top Vacuum Infuser

This bench top vacuum infuser is the perfect accessory for a woodshop vacuum pump. A vacuum infuser allows you to evenly dye veneer and small pieces of wood. You can also infuse wood stabilizing products such as acrylic resin, sanding sealer or Miniwax Wood Hardener.

The applications for a vacuum infusing are broad, ranging from colored veneer for marquetry to colored and stabilized pen turning blanks to colored and stabilized custom knife scales. I for one am looking forward to dyeing my own veneer for future marquetry projects.

For starters, try 15 minutes of vacuum infusing for coloring veneers. Just remember, experiment and have fun!

Stay tuned for the completion of the inlay series.

Happy Woodworking!


The Folding Rule Blog

Infusion Dyed Cherry Veneer (left to right)


Bench Top Vacuum Infuser

Close up of top cap with heavy duty stem valve

Close up top cap with vacuum tape seal

Close up vacuum gauge showing -28mmHg


  • PVC 4” Pipe Caps - 2 each
  • PVC 4” Pipe - 24 inches
  • Heavy Duty Stem Valve - 1 each
  • Vacuum Hose Connector - 1 each
  • Vacuum Tape - 12 inches
  • Base - 8 x 8 hardwood or plywood
  • Truss Head ¾” Screws - 4 each
  • Clear Silicone - 1 small tube
  • Gasket Material 4’ Diameter - 12” square sheet from an auto store



neil said...

David.......that's a nice addition to finding a color need.

Does the piece being dyed get twisted in any way or is it protected by the liquid....I guess I'm getting at the Physics of how this works.

The first thing I thought of was that although a particular wood may be the color you need in a particular motiff, some wood veneers are real chippy to scroll saw. Seeing the options in tighter grain like the cherry you show could possibly make marquetry easier if it can be easy.

That's good info........Neil

David Pruett said...

Neil -

Great question. The dye solvent is alcohol so the is no grain raising or twisting. It is anther color option in our arsenal of techniques.

Handi said...


This would work very well, at least on Small pieces for Intarsia, as long as it wasn't a BIG Project.

I'm wanting to get a Lathe so I can work on making my Own Custome Pins, What's the cost of it?


Anonymous said...

That's not a good idea, it's bloody brilliant! I can't wait to make one of these and start playing with it. I just finished a picture of a Scarlett Tannenger and was complained to that the colour I used was not the colour of the real bird! The fact that it was made of naturally occuring wood colours and the fact that she recognized the bird despite the limitations of natural wood cut no sway with this woman. I'll try some dyed wood and see how that flies!

David Pruett said...

Handi -

Thanks as always for your comments!

Cost of the bench top vacuum infuser is less than $25 or free depending on what you have in your shop. There are good plans for a vacuum pump on . . . some guys even use an old refrigerator or auto air conditioning pump as the core unit.

Cost of a lathe for pens? Not sure, but I wouuld look on Craigslist for a small bench top model. I'll bet you could pick one up for less than $100 if you look around.

David Pruett said...

Chuck (?) -

Seems like we can never please even when we understand the subtleties are satisfied with our work!

By the way, you may want to check out Episode #117 on my blog as I used your suggested method of a hand stapler for packet construction.



Anonymous said...

David –

Thanks for giving me another reason to get a vacuum pump. Your blog is very informative. I like the containers that you store your dye in. Could you tell me where you got the containers?


David Pruett said...

Jim -


Regarding the containers, I work at a hospital and the containers are empty saline irrigation bottles. One of the technicians saves them for me. I will post a follow up on alternatives on my next update to this series.


Handi said...


I thought those Bottles Looked Familure to me, I kept thinking, them Looks like the Sodium Cloride Bottles at Hospitals lol

That's actually a Great idea because they have the Tight Lock + Rubber Seal and keep everything in Tightly and securly!


David Pruett said...

Handi -

I'm fortunate that a tech keeps an eye out for empty bottles and save them for me. I've had a number of questions about the bottles. I have some alternatives which I will discuss in the next video.

Skip said...

David........Still not sure of the procedure. Is the wood dyed and then vacuumed or is there a supply of dye near the wood which transforms to the wood? Does the dye fumes affect the vacuum pump? As a woodturner I'm interested in dying small pieces evenly (small turnings 3" diameter by about 5" tall). I'm willing to try it if I think it will work. Thanks in advanced.

Bob said...

David---A couple of questions...I have made an infuser similar to yours based on the instructions on Joe Mine has the 3 " interior pipe. When I load the infuser, does the liquid just get poured into the annular space between the 3" pipe and the 4" pipe? Doesn't this cause staining of the PVC and isn't there contamination between all the various colors that you might use..over time? Also, do you know whether the 3" interior pipe has a lid glued onto it? I assume it must. In your video, you seem to just remove a bottle from your infuser, how do you load a sheet of veneer into your tube? I appreciate any help. Thanks

Wood Staining said...

Very nice DIY video tutrial. Should give it a try!