For soft punky wood with large cracks should you stabilize before you cast?
I always prefer stabilizing punky wood before casting. The main reason is that with punky wood, if you cast first, the pressure will push some of the colored resin into the wood causing color bleed. I prefer the junction between the wood and casting resin to be nice and crisp and stabilizing helps seal the punky wood so you do not get the color bleed. One suggestion when stabilizing before casting though...don't wrap the blanks in foil. See this Q&A for more info