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Old 10-19-2020, 06:59 AM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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Default Epoxy Inlay?

I'm making a few things that have v carved lettering... I would like to fill the carve with colored epoxy/resin to get the look I'm after. My first go round, I tried epoxy from Woodcraft called Alumilite... unfortunately after 3 tries, I am still getting so many air bubbles I need to move on or find a solution or another epoxy.

I've read various post on ChromaCraft... does anyone with experience with epoxy/resin have any suggestions. I'm not using a pressure pot.. just not sure if I can get a satisfactory result without spending more money on equipment I would not be using regularly.

Thanks for any suggestions.
Bruce
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:10 AM
Logan Y Logan Y is offline
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I use epoxy quite a bit. I just did some charcuterie boards with filled vcarve inlays. I used this stuff without a pressure pot with good success.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I've also used alumilite clear in the past with very good results, but I do have a pressure pot that I use it with.

After you pour use a heat source (torch, lighter, heat gun, etc) to pop the bubbles as they come to the surface. Just don't linger and heat up the epoxy too much, it can cause the reaction to speed through and cause the epoxy to color funny or become brittle.
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Last edited by Logan Y; 10-19-2020 at 08:11 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-19-2020, 09:50 AM
guitarwes guitarwes is offline
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The owner/maker of ChromaCraft is a friend of mine here in my hometown. It's good stuff. What I do is after the pour, vibrate your workpiece somehow (I do it from the bottom with a random orbital sander) to try to get air bubbles to come to the top, then wave a torch or hairdryer across the surface. You may have to wave the heatsource a couple times to alleviate all the surface bubbles.
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:04 AM
Charlie_L Charlie_L is offline
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If the wood is porous I also do the pour in two steps. First, a shallow pour to close most of the pores. Then the final after drying.
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Old 10-19-2020, 05:08 PM
guitarwes guitarwes is offline
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I give the carved area 2 good coats of shellac before pouring. Just slop it on and don't be stingy. It'll sand off when you sand all of it smooth. I use a carbide scraper blade to get most of the overflow off before sanding with 120, 220, 320, and then 0000 steel wool.
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Old 10-19-2020, 05:46 PM
drummerjg drummerjg is offline
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I have had very good results with the ChromaCraft epoxy and color tints.
After my pour as the bubbles start showing up I hit them with a spray of denatured alcohol. Works great. I only have to spritz it two, maybe three times and lightly at that. FWIW.
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Old 10-19-2020, 07:01 PM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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Thanks for all the suggestions.. It'll be next week before I can get another go at it and I'll let yall know how it works out...
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:31 PM
Jim Becker Jim Becker is offline
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The sealing step that's been mentioned is "really important" and not just for adhesion and keeping from too much resin soaking into the wood. The sealing also keeps dye and pigments from migrating into the end-grain of the wood which can get really unsightly really fast.
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:58 PM
Studio417 Studio417 is offline
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Sealing the wood before casting, not only reduces bleed, but more importantly it eliminates air escaping the wood and being introduced into the resin.
IMO, it's best to use a thin layer of the same resin being cast to seal. Don't let the resin cure, only allow it to gel before adding the pour. In doing this, it causes a chemical bond vs. a mechanical bond.

Using a urethane resin, requires pressure to prevent bubbles. Urethanes are measured by weight, so a good scale is useful. Urethanes do not cooperate with moisture, even high humidity causes problems. It will foam and expand greatly. A good comparison is the use of Gorilla glue. It's a urethane resin.

Epoxy is the best for either small casts, or filling voids without the pressure requirement. There is little to no shrinkage, and usually is measured by volume.
There are deep pour, and layering epoxies. The formulas differ in the exotherm created. With deep pour, the exotherm is slower, to prevent scorching, cracking, and even fires.

Polyester is great for casting, using the casting specific formulas. Like with the epoxies, there are also layering polyesters, and like epoxies, the formulas differ in the exotherm created. Polyester isn't so good for filling voids, as it shrinks notably, and pulls from the walls in void casting.
Something to be aware of with polyesters, is they use MEKP as the catalyst, and this can cause blindness if it contacts the eyes.

All resins can be warmed, to aid in evacuating the bubbles, but it can also cause the chemical reaction to start sooner than ambient temps. Warming the resin, also aids in the pour, by letting it flow into small spaces.

One last thing to keep in mind; there are only a few resins that are FDA approved for food contact. Using any resin that doesn't meet the specific code, on cutting boards, serving boards, etc., could lead to liability issues.

I apologize for the lengthy post. Resins are a great medium, and some great effects can be created using them.
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