Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

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lerdahl
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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by lerdahl »

It's looking good !

I have had success using acrylic paint, it will also help out if your colored epoxy is too translucent. I've also had good results with wiping on a thin coat of epoxy with a gloved hand before making any cuts then paint the inside of the inlay before pouring the colored epoxy, this way I've protected myself from any spills that might happen. I don't worry about getting the epoxy filled to the top because I follow up with a final flood coat.

I guess the bottom line is there is no one right answer when it comes to working with wood. I have made some very beautiful expensive "FIRE WOOD" :lol:

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Aussie
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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by Aussie »

I have been getting better at epoxy inlays with what I call some success....
For me I have never sealed the timber and don’t believe I have had bleeding, maybe it is the epoxy I am using ?
As I always overfill my vectors if bleeding was going to happen it would be very visible.

Doing clear epoxy fills at the moment and I have found this very challenging not just air bubbles but where the epoxy meets a vertical wall as it leaves an imperfection. I am doing my second tea tray over the weekend after my first failure which is proudly on my display wall as a reminder to keep trying.
The second tea tray I have sealed the 3D model and will apply a very thin coat of epoxy and deal with any imperfections prior to my 12mm deep pour in a weeks time.
I have a third tray built and ready if number 2 fails.....it takes a lot for me to give trying something new.
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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by Tailmaker »

Aussie wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:49 am
.... where the epoxy meets a vertical wall as it leaves an imperfection...............prior to my 12mm deep pour in a weeks time......
Keep in mind epoxy shrinks a few percent while curing. So some lift-off is expected, especially from vertical surfaces.
You can mitigate that by pouring relatively thin layers which can stretch while curing. Maybe 3-4mm thick every 5 hours until you have the desired thickness. But if you are trying to pour a 12mm thick block at a time that may be trouble. You also need to keep such a thick pour at reasonable temperature, maybe with a fan, to avoid a runaway exothermic reaction. That can create bubbles and a wavy surface or even start smoking in extreme situations. On the other hand, a fan may blow dust on your resin.
Puzzle, Finger Joint, Maze and Guilloche freeware at https://fabrikisto.com/tailmaker-software/

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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by McNan Wood »

Aussie wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:49 am
I have been getting better at epoxy inlays with what I call some success....
For me I have never sealed the timber and don’t believe I have had bleeding, maybe it is the epoxy I am using ?
As I always overfill my vectors if bleeding was going to happen it would be very visible.
So, ah, what kind of epoxy ARE you using? I've tried two, and both bleed, especially if I use a pigment.

And your "some success" is most certainly a misnomer; I've seen some of your inlays and I'm flabbergasted by the stunning detail. Beautiful work!

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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by McNan Wood »

lerdahl wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:21 pm
I guess the bottom line is there is no one right answer when it comes to working with wood. I have made some very beautiful expensive "FIRE WOOD" :lol:
:D I've got a small "camp" out back in the woods, just a little A-Frame with a fire pit. I have NOT run out of kindling and burn wood in a long, long time... so I definitely get your drift!

Thanks for the kind words...

lerdahl
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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by lerdahl »

I am certainly not an expert in working with epoxy and like you I've done my fare share of experimentation in which I've learned a few important lessons along the way; First the formation of bubbles. I've been able to reduce the number of bubbles in a couple of ways, first I have a couple of small glasses, one I measure and add my resin the other I measure and add my harder. Then I place the two glasses into a warm water (between 85-90 degrees) bath for about 5-10 minutes, you have to make sure you don't get any water in to either glass, so much as a drop in either will ruin the batch. When I take the glasses out I make sure that I dry them before transferring the contents to my mixing cup where I slowly stir my resin and harder together. I use a product called ArtResin which is a flexible food safe non-shrinking epoxy which has about a 45 minute open time (working time) if you preheat your epoxy it my reduce the working time a little, but I haven't noticed it much.

When I first started working with epoxy I was getting really frustrated with bubbles, I started doing the above process and I would get clear as glass results, but the next morning I would find some large bubbles and it appeared that my non-shrink epoxy shrunk. After talking to ArtResin's tech support I had one of those aha moments. The resin wasn't shrinking it was seeping into the wood grain and the bubbles that occurred over night were created by air that was in the wood fiber and was displaced by the resin.

So now, I always us the warm bath and seal my wood. What I use as a sealer will change depending on the wood's grain and the size of the cavity I am filling. But, I usually start out sealing everything with a light coat of epoxy which I spread on with a gloved hand. Then I cave the design, once that is done I use acrylic paint and a small brush, so that I can get into all of the corners and cover the walls from top to bottom.

Speaking of walls and corners, you may have noticed that it's hard to move the resin into a corner or right up to the edge of the wall, this is caused by surface tension and small bubbles forming. I use a toothpick to gently pop the bubbles and force the resin into comers. Slowly and gently running the toothpick along the edge is usually enough to allow the epoxy to move to the edge.

McNan the red spot on your picture might be due to your camera having a redeye reduction function. Some camera will action use a red light. If you camera has one turn it off before taking picture of you epoxy work and use back light. If the light is in front of you or your project you may get a lot of glare.

Aussie, If you only are doing clear pour then you probably wouldn't notice bleeding, bleeding comes from the added coloring, its viscosity is less then that of epoxy making it easier to be wicked into the wood grain.

I have no filiation with ArtResin, but I do like their product. This is not a deep pour or a molding epoxy it is used mostly by artists to put a protective, flexible, non-shrinking, non-toxic (it's food save) finish over their artwork and like some resins it is non-Here is the link if you're interested https://www.artresin.com/pages/faq. Even if you're not interest in their product take a minute and browser their FAQs for some good tips and tricks that will work with most resins. It self levels at 1/8", but can be layered

Keep on pouring !

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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by Aussie »

lerdahl wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:50 pm
I am certainly not an expert in working with epoxy and like you I've done my fare share of experimentation in which I've learned a few important lessons along the way; First the formation of bubbles. I've been able to reduce the number of bubbles in a couple of ways, first I have a couple of small glasses, one I measure and add my resin the other I measure and add my harder. Then I place the two glasses into a warm water (between 85-90 degrees) bath for about 5-10 minutes, you have to make sure you don't get any water in to either glass, so much as a drop in either will ruin the batch. When I take the glasses out I make sure that I dry them before transferring the contents to my mixing cup where I slowly stir my resin and harder together. I use a product called ArtResin which is a flexible food safe non-shrinking epoxy which has about a 45 minute open time (working time) if you preheat your epoxy it my reduce the working time a little, but I haven't noticed it much.

When I first started working with epoxy I was getting really frustrated with bubbles, I started doing the above process and I would get clear as glass results, but the next morning I would find some large bubbles and it appeared that my non-shrink epoxy shrunk. After talking to ArtResin's tech support I had one of those aha moments. The resin wasn't shrinking it was seeping into the wood grain and the bubbles that occurred over night were created by air that was in the wood fiber and was displaced by the resin.

So now, I always us the warm bath and seal my wood. What I use as a sealer will change depending on the wood's grain and the size of the cavity I am filling. But, I usually start out sealing everything with a light coat of epoxy which I spread on with a gloved hand. Then I cave the design, once that is done I use acrylic paint and a small brush, so that I can get into all of the corners and cover the walls from top to bottom.

Speaking of walls and corners, you may have noticed that it's hard to move the resin into a corner or right up to the edge of the wall, this is caused by surface tension and small bubbles forming. I use a toothpick to gently pop the bubbles and force the resin into comers. Slowly and gently running the toothpick along the edge is usually enough to allow the epoxy to move to the edge.

Thank you for your information... may I ask a couple of questions?
I have read about using a warm bath to reduce the bubbles.... am I correct that most bubbles come from the mixing of the two parts? if so why wouldn't you pour the 2 parts and place the one container in the water bath and mix while being heated.
Do you sand (320 grit) between pours... to help the surfaces adhere better? or to remove small surface blemishes.

Appreciate your advice.



McNan the red spot on your picture might be due to your camera having a redeye reduction function. Some camera will action use a red light. If you camera has one turn it off before taking picture of you epoxy work and use back light. If the light is in front of you or your project you may get a lot of glare.

Aussie, If you only are doing clear pour then you probably wouldn't notice bleeding, bleeding comes from the added coloring, its viscosity is less then that of epoxy making it easier to be wicked into the wood grain.

I have no filiation with ArtResin, but I do like their product. This is not a deep pour or a molding epoxy it is used mostly by artists to put a protective, flexible, non-shrinking, non-toxic (it's food save) finish over their artwork and like some resins it is non-Here is the link if you're interested https://www.artresin.com/pages/faq. Even if you're not interest in their product take a minute and browser their FAQs for some good tips and tricks that will work with most resins. It self levels at 1/8", but can be layered

Keep on pouring !
Ron
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lerdahl
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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by lerdahl »

Aussie,
"I have read about using a warm bath to reduce the bubbles.... am I correct that most bubbles come from the mixing of the two parts? if so why wouldn't you pour the 2 parts and place the one container in the water bath and mix while being heated."

You are correct,

All the bath is for is to reduce the viscosity (making them thinner) of the two liquids allowing the trapped gases to easily escape. My epoxy is stored in may shop and I try to maintain 66 degrees most of the time (I probably haven't mentioned that I live in Minnesota where it's now 8F degrees and feels like -10F with the wind chill) I have to turn up the heat to about 80 degrees to get the shop climatized for doing epoxy work. If I were to go to my shop now the resin and harder would be thick as molasses and would be a milky white when mixed together. The milkiness is formed by thousands and thousands of micro bubbles, which will disappear as the epoxy begins to warms and thins out. When I have the two liquids up to temperature they will be thinner and will not cloud up when mixed together.

It's a matter of preference, either will work and I've tried both. But, remember once you start to mix the resin with the harder a chemical reaction called exothermic starts and their is no way to stop it. So, if you premix, place it in a warm bath say 10 minutes you have just lost 10 minutes of working time, then you may have to account for the time you lose by heating the resin. Warm resin while start to cure faster. I haven't experienced a lot of lost time, because most of my projects are relatively small.

Here is what ArtResin says about using a bath, which I've heard from other manufactures as well.

"The working time of ArtResin epoxy resin ( also called the pot life or open time ) is about 45 minutes. This is how long you have to work with the resin before curing sets in and it becomes too stiff to manipulate. You're best to apply the resin as soon as it has been thoroughly mixed for 3 minutes.
TIP: the working time can be affected by heat: if you've put the resin in a warm water bath or if you're working in a warm environment, the working time will be decreased by about 10-15 minutes. The cure time may also be decreased."

I prefer two warm the resin and hardener separately, exothermic will not start until I start combining the two, if I get interrupted for some reason I can simply cover the glasses and rewarm them another day and of course I'll save 10 minutes of open time. I would never recommend mixing while my mixing cup was in the warm water bath, for me their is just too much of a risk of contamination, remember one drop of water could ruin the batch. I remember one summer on a hot day one bead of sweat dipped of my nose into the middle of my project and immediately I had one big fish eye to deal with. I was lucky that this happened at the beginning of the pour, so I was able to scape it off without much problem and had mixed enough epoxy to fix the area. This leads me to another tip: always mix more resin then what you think you'll need, and keep a few epoxy molds around to use up any left over epoxy.


I also prefer using glass glasses/bottles, this is because exothermic reaction creates heat, which can melt the wax off the inside of paper cups and I 've read somewhere that once heated plastic cups become somewhat porous leading to moisture contamination. I have not experienced the latter and have used plastic cups with out issue, but way take a chance when the Dollar Store sales glassware so cheap.

"Do you sand (320 grit) between pours... to help the surfaces adhere better? or to remove small surface blemishes". Yes and No.

If the epoxy is tacky to the touch then I don't sand, but if the resin is cured then you will need to sand it. I don't worry about the grit as much as having a light touch, so I don't sand through the epoxy and scratching the underlying finish. Epoxy is a wonderful thing, you could sand it with a wood rasp (not suggested) and then apply a flood coat and you wouldn't know the difference.

There are so many different types and uses for resins that the best advance I think I could offer is to always follow the manufacture's instructions/recommendations .

Sorry for the long winded answers :)
Hope I answered your questions.

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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by KeithW »

The other issue I'm seeing is the same thing that I'm trying to address now, that is the wood is never completely flat...
This is why you should ALWAYS surface your workpiece before starting the carve. Only way to ensure your board is flat to your machine. Doesn't take a lot of time, and well worth the effort.

'Store bought' wood is seldom flat...

lerdahl
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Re: Anyone doing epoxy inlays successfully?

Post by lerdahl »

Keith, I couldn't agree with you more, the problem I've been having is keeping it flat after I've planed it flat and recess carved it. I've finished two plaques and was ready to finish them, but when I went to finish them the next morning I found both severally cupped. So, now I am trying an experiment, I've planned the work piece flat on both sides and glued a piece of 1/8" birch plywood to the back. I'm hoping the plywood will be enough to hold back the tension of the grain. I would appreciate any advice from anyone.

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