Originally Posted by Hardyreels
How to Impregnate your own rod
Use a length of PVC pipe long enough to fit the sections, 1.5 or 2" diameter will be good.
Cap one end so it will hold fluid.
Wrap the rod sections with wire or strings so you can suspend them in the tube vertically.
Fill the tube with Linseed Oil and hang the sections in the oil for at least 8 hours.
Remove from the oil bath and wipe the sections with a non shedding cloth and hang them vertically in a warm dry room for 2 weeks to cure.
This process is commonly called "stabilizing". It's really old school. I have held 1,000 year old oak in my gloved hand that which had been stabilized in basically flax oil (refined linseed oil). Stuff still felt like wood, even after many hundreds of years in the arid soil of SW France.
Adding gentle heat to what Ard described really speeds up the process and gets much deeper penetration into the hollow voids of the cellulose structure.
I have Used PVC pipe as described above to do staves and spear hafts when I was forging. Painted the PVC black and left in ti the sun upright once the ash round and oil were in it. Its a good idea to put a spacer in on the top and don't over fill because the oil will expand when heated. I used to cap the pvc and used sort of a bleeder system to pull a vacuum in the PVC tube.
With oak knife handles, I pretty much "boiled them in oil" with a water bath heating the oil. When the oil reaches temp, all the air floods out the ends, passing through the phloem and xylem which are still in the cellular structure.
It's kind of neat actually.... the ends foam like you would not believe and then the wood sinks.
What stabilized does is replace the air in the cellulose voids with oil. In a sense it never really dries and can take weeks to become dry to the touch.
Tung oil, butcher block oil, and the like can be used as well. One thing I learned with knife handles is that many adhesives don't like linseed oil, especially epoxies.