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Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy (Read 1,718 times)
 
Mark Putnam
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Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Jun 13th, 2016 at 3:22pm
 
I'm interested in tips for filling large gaps in bowl blanks with clear/dyed resins and epoxies. I've seen a lot of videos on filling small cracks and contained holes--areas that are not in danger of producing what I would call "run-off." But I am not finding a lot on filling larger spaces or spaces that are on uneven/unlevel parts of blanks.

Let me explain... (And I apologize for not having pictures. The blank in question that spawned this topic found itself deep in my shop trash can in a fit of frustration, and it has since been carried off to the Great Kiln in the Sky...)

I had a nice little piece of oak from a neighbor's tree that I honestly didn't think would amount to anything. I put it on the lathe and started roughing it in to a bowl shape. The dimensions of this rough bowl were approximately 8" in diameter and 5" deep--nothing huge. I roughed it in to a traditional bowl shape; nothing fancy.

Low and behold, the wood produced a blank that had a large gash in the side, running 180 degrees outside the circumference of the bowl, right at the middle of the side. In the middle, this gash was maybe 1/2" wide, and as it ran around the side in both directions it narrowed down in to nothing. It had holes--from worms, presumably--going deeper in to the blank.

I first thought to throw it away. It was not rotten. It was good and hard oak. Maybe a little green. But a good, solid piece of wood. So I thought to perhaps fill it in with some kind of resin.

I wrapped the blank up in 4 layers of saran wrap. Then I poked a small hole in the saran over where the gash was the deepest. I took a repurposed marinade injector, and I injected about 2 ounces of blue-dyed resin (Castin' Craft, which I had used for pen blanks) in to the gash. It all immediately ran out, leaked from the saran, and got all over my workbench.

So my question to you all is this... If you were to approach filling this gash on this blank with some kind of dyed resin, how would you do it?

Thanks,
Mark
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Dave Gill
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #1 - Jun 13th, 2016 at 4:01pm
 
Mark - I would probably use 5 minute epoxy dyed to the color I wanted with acrylic paint or some kind of colored powder or glitter to fill the void. Might have to do several layers and or portions depending on the extent of the void.

Remember when using a dye or powder with epoxy, mix it in the part A before mixing in the part B - gives you longer working time before it starts to setup.

You might want to wrap the outside with stretch wrap and packaging tape and turn the inside of the bowl before filling the void. This way you are not wasting epoxy that would be turned out when doing the inside of the bowl. Once you have the inside of the bowl to the thickness you want, cover the void from the inside with tape and proceed to fill the void from the outside. Once the epoxy is cured, depending on how much overfill you get, you can turn and/or sand the inside and outside of the bowl and finish as desired.

If the void is large enough, you can even in bed pieces of turquoise or other objects in the epoxy.

HTH - Dave G.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #2 - Jun 13th, 2016 at 6:58pm
 
Not sure I would try filling in green wood.  The moisture might affect adhesion, and you don't want a chunk of filler launched next time the blank is on the lathe.  Also, as the wood dries there will be shrinkage and perhaps warpage, pulling away from the filler.
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Jeff Vanden Boogart
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #3 - Jun 13th, 2016 at 8:53pm
 
Mark, something like duct tape instead of saran wrap might stop the leakage.  It's work for me on smaller gaps.
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #4 - Jun 14th, 2016 at 8:54am
 
Don Stephan wrote on Jun 13th, 2016 at 6:58pm:
Not sure I would try filling in green wood.  The moisture might affect adhesion, and you don't want a chunk of filler launched next time the blank is on the lathe.  Also, as the wood dries there will be shrinkage and perhaps warpage, pulling away from the filler.


I'm with Don on this
You need to let the piece dry as much as possible before you start any type of fill/repair.
Also, don't think the patch will give any strength to the bowl. It's still a bowl with holes in it.
(with no photo we don't know how large of a repair this is)
You still need to use caution when turning, as if the patch wasn't filled.
If your filler is to thick or viscous, it may not migrate into all the nooks and cracks, this can also be dangerous. Stop and check often as you remove material to inspect that the filler (what ever you choose to use) has filled all the voids and re-apply as necessary.
Having a loose chunk of fill fly off is no different than wood, it can still injure you.
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #5 - Jun 14th, 2016 at 9:34am
 
Sorry folks - missed the part about the blank being wet wood and completely agree that the piece should be dry before filling the void.

Depending on the size of the void, it is still not a bad idea to wrap the outside of the blank, once the outside has been turned, with stretch wrap to help hold the blank together. You can get rolls of 6" wide stretch wrap and your local big box store.

Have fun and stay safe - Dave G.
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Mark Putnam
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #6 - Jun 14th, 2016 at 1:31pm
 
Ok. Understood about the green wood issue and will note it for the future. The piece of wood in question is long gone, and I won't be messing with it again.

In my rambling, I probably didn't convey my question as clearly as I should have. So here goes:

How would you secure or wrap such a piece to ensure that the filler remains in the gap and doesn't run out?

From Dan's earlier response it sounds like I might have been on the right track with plastic wrap, but probably should have secured it further with duct tape?

This picture is a very close approximation of what I was dealing with, only the gap was on the side of the bowl and not the bottom. It was not quite this big, either, but close.

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Don Stephan
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #7 - Jun 14th, 2016 at 6:40pm
 
Don't even want to know how you turned that lump of wood.  If the top is the tenon that was gripped in the chuck, the tenon is only connected perhaps 25% of its diameter to the rest of the bowl.  When there is a void or in this case included bark along part of the side of the bowl, wrapping the exterior well with plastic wrap and then duct tape can help hold together while the inside is turned, but the piece in the picture looks like a Darwin award.
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #8 - Jun 15th, 2016 at 10:01am
 
WOW - that looks like an "interesting" chunk of wood - like Don said, if the top of that piece was what the chuck was holding you are very lucky it did not come off when you were turning the outside.

I think what you are looking for is being able to infuse or impregnate the void with resin. Dave Bell, a member of this site, has a You Tube videos on this process. It does require using a vacuum chamber and curing the resin in an oven but you can get some interesting castings. Your piece maybe too large for this process.

Go to You Tube and type in his name to see his video.
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #9 - Jun 15th, 2016 at 10:40am
 
Dave Gill wrote on Jun 15th, 2016 at 10:01am:
I think what you are looking for is being able to infuse or impregnate the void with resin. Dave Bell, a member of this site, has a You Tube videos on this process. It does require using a vacuum chamber

I think the safest thing to do is put it in the firewood pile.
The next would be using some sort of vacuum process as Dave suggested. I don't know of any other way you can fill all of those voids thoroughly while eliminating all the air gaps.
Even if you manage to get this piece infused in some way, great care should be taken while turning to keep the pieces together.
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Mark Putnam
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #10 - Jun 15th, 2016 at 11:10am
 
Ok... Sorry to sound defensive or rude... But the piece in the picture is NOT my piece. I'm not turning that piece of wood. I got the picture off of the Internet. It is only an illustration. And it is an illustration referring to a piece that is also now gone.

And I completely understand about safety. I really do.

My question is about technique, in general, of filling a void that presents a risk of the filler running out.

Thank you for the suggestion of the vacuum method. I will look in to it.
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #11 - Jun 15th, 2016 at 1:27pm
 
Mark, look at the TPT for Dave Bell's articles. They and HE helped me for similar deal. Pressure pot from Harbor Freight, be sure everything is dry including the air and atmosphere. I found that using masking tape held the best seal. Wrap after the tape  is suggested to hold resin from going all over the place. Place item in container that resin will not stick to.

Glenn J.
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #12 - Jun 15th, 2016 at 2:00pm
 
Mark Putnam wrote on Jun 15th, 2016 at 11:10am:
My question is about technique, in general, of filling a void that presents a risk of the filler running out.


Mark, you can always fill a cheap plastic container or bag with the resin/filler of choice and submerge the bowl blank into it. You my have to shake or vibrate it to release all the trapped air. I don't think filling the voids and then taping over them once filled will be as effective.
Don't take this the wrong way but in the future, I would suggest trying to submit a photo of your piece.
One, it gets confusing and Two, no to pieces are ever alike.
Using a generic photo is only going to give you generic answers.
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #13 - Jun 19th, 2016 at 8:01pm
 
Mark

I think the situation you described wither the flaw was on the surface actually presented TWO potential problems. 

1.  How to fill the void while minimizing the tendency of the filler to spill out of the flaw
2.  How to fill the void so that the resulting patch remains securely a part of the finished turning

As to the first issue, the short answer is 'patience'.  The long answer is that the void needs to be filled in stages, and this could take hours if not days with the filler curing between applications.

You can't do anything about gravity, which means that if the void extends around the side of the bowl, the filler will tend to run 'downhill' around that side.  One possible solution is to construct dams that holds the filler in place until it cures.  Something like what you were trying to do with saran wrap, but possibly on a smaller scale.  Fill a portion of the void, let it cure, remove the dam and if necessary construct another so that you work your way around the side of the bowl in stages.  And yes, this is messy so work in an area where spillage won't hurt anything important.  If you have to overfill the flaw, and get some runs, that's ok - just let the filler cure and return the bowl to smooth the surface.

Others have raised the issue that repairing a surface flaw is difficult because the patch is on the surface, and if it doesn't adhere tightly to the piece, it can fly off as you are  turning and sanding.  One solution is to use a rotary tool and burr to deepen the flaw in a way that provides a stronger bond to the underlying wood.  Think about how the dentist grinds out a cavity before doing a filling.

If the flaw is very large, it could be helpful to add some reinforcing.  For example, you could drill holes in the bottom of the flaw, turn some dowels out of the same wood and glue those into holes in the turning to fill some of the void, and then add the filler around the dowels.

Another idea is to do a 'dutchman'.  A dutchman is a patch used in the flatwork world that is glued into a recess carved into the piece, and then sanded flush with the surface.   Most often they are oval and both the recess and filler are made using a router with a spiral cutting bit and collar. You can use the same timber, but some people prefer to use a contrasting material to show off the craftsmanship.   I was in custom fine furniture shop just yesterday that had a table that had been patched using brass dutchmen .

In the world of turning you can do effectively the same thing by drilling out the flaw, enlarging the hole, gluing in a dowel of the correct diameter, and then finish turning the surface.  Theoretically, you could use a router to cut some other shape, but drilling is much easier when the piece is turned on a lathe.  And if you drill at an angle, the patch will end up being oval.

If you do a search in YouTube, you will find some videos by Frank Howarth, an architect and turner in the Portland area who has a shop that is absolutely amazing.  He has several videos in which he has turned bowls from imperfect wood, then used a bandsaw to cut out the flawed sections of the finished bowl, glued in a contrasting timber, and then returned the bowl. 

Finally, it isn't always necessary to  repair flaws, especially if they are natural artifacts in the timber. 
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« Last Edit: Jun 19th, 2016 at 8:02pm by Louie Powell »  

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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #14 - Jul 26th, 2016 at 10:06am
 
i've had good luck with packing tape, though you do have to sand the area around the fill point, down fairly fine grit and make sure all the dust is off the area first...   i've got one project where the wife wanted a "glittery rim" on it; going to try building up a dam with clay and tape to build up an Inlace rim.....still thinking about that one and i think i may be going at it from the wrong direction...  (occured to me i might be better to to it "upside down" with a circular mold of some kind, likely built up from clay or something similar....
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« Last Edit: Jul 26th, 2016 at 10:08am by Tim Hyatt »  
 
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #15 - Aug 21st, 2016 at 9:34pm
 
I have been looking for a way to both fill voids and also a way to use epoxy for embellishment. I just came across something called Milliput, an epoxy putty. It's a putty that comes in two parts. It will not flow into small,crevices unless forced but it might be a solution for large cracks.
I plan to use it for embellishment. Probably by cutting a grove and then filling it with Milliput.
I have used five minute epoxy to fill in a large void in a piece of oak burl. I used duct tape to build a wall and the poured it between them. It turned fine afterward.
Has anybody else here used Milliput?
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #16 - Aug 22nd, 2016 at 9:23am
 
Go to YouTube and search for Milliput and you should find a grunch (combo of a group and a bunch) of videos of folks using Milliput for various projects including embellishments for turned projects.
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Re: Filling large gaps with resin/epoxy
Reply #17 - Aug 22nd, 2016 at 10:10am
 
If I had that piece or one similar... This is what I would do, first put down a thin layer of CA glue as a base coat, in the gap to be filled. Let that dry.  While it is drying mix your filler.  The filler I use is a filler that a friend of mine uses to fill in cracks or gaps on fiberglass airplanes.  It is baking powder (NOT Soda) with a several drops of food coloring to add color.  (Sample recipe: Turquoise filler: 1/4 cup baking powder, 15 drops blue, 5 drops green in a plastic bag. Squeeze the bag and contents until well mixed.)  Apply a thin layer of filler over the dried CA glue and drop thin CA glue over the top. (Remember the CA glue has warning to not breath in the odor from the glue, so use caution)  Continue to layer until the gaps are filled. (don't get in a hurry let each layer dry and don't use too much filler at one time or you may wind up with dry spots in your filler.  Rotate the piece as you fill in the gaps so the filler doesn't fall out as you work.  Let the glue soak through and harden with each layer. Slightly over fill the gaps, (so that the filler can be turned or sanded smooth to the level of the wood).  Once it is completely filled let it set overnight.  It should be ready to turn by the next morning.  I will usually power sand the area filled so as not to chip the filler out as I turn it.  I've made some really stunning pieces using this method as well as saved some beautiful wood. 

Should you prefer a different color, here are recipes:
1/4 cup baking powder with one of the following for color ( I use McCormick food coloring)
Orange 6 drops red, 14 drops yellow
Chartreuse 24 drops yellow, 2 drops green
Peach 3 drops red, 9 drops yellow
Purple 10 drops red, 4 drops blue
Turquoise 15 drops blue, 5 drops green
Rose 15 drops red, 5 drops blue

Once I have mixed my filler, I usually put it in a bottle with a small opening so I can direct the flow of the filler.  As long as the filler is kept in a dry place it will last and can be used for other projects as well.

Note: The color as mixed in the powder may be lighter than expected. Once the glue is applied the color will darken.  Colors are limitless using this method, so mix your own, varying the drops of color.   To test the color, take a small amount out, put it in a small bowl or other container and drop a few drops of water on it.  This will show you the true color before you use it as a filler.

Hope this helps... Smiley
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