Layered epoxy inlay #6: I've got a face and some troubles.

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Blog entry by JoeyG posted 01-10-2012 07:07 PM 2888 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: A yellow eye and more carving Part 6 of Layered epoxy inlay series Part 7: Correcting My Mistake »

I left you last episode with this

After that picture was taken I had a little art time with my son. We sat at the kitchen table, he had out his crayons and paper, I had my face and chip carving knife. As he drew, I cleaned up the edges and corners. I then mixed green glitter and black paint into my epoxy. This is where I created a little problem for myself. I knew I over did it on the paint but I went ahead and used it anyway. Pressing my luck I guess. I ended up with a couple of spots where the epoxy is gummy. I am going to give it another day, now that it is sanded down, and see if it hardens any. If not, I will have to go back in and cut out the bad epoxy and do it over.

I had wanted to take pictures as I cleaned up the corners and such, but never thought of it as I talked with my son as we worked on our projects together.

Here you can see with the black epoxy in place

The next a a couple of pictures as it sands down. As I was working it seems to me if you have a drum sander that would be the way to go. I am always worried of sanding to much in one spot as I work my way down into the epoxy. Since I don’t have one, I get to be really careful. I will also note that I turn the speed down on my ROS. It seems to keep the sanding disc cooler and doesn’t gum up the paper as badly. It does take a little longer, but I get better results.

The next pic shows it once it is sander flush with the wood. As you can see I got a lot of air bubbles this go round. It was really hard trying to get the epoxy into all of the little lines. If you look in the middle of the horn, you will also see where the epoxy is soft and tried to peel on me.

In the next two pics I have cleaned it up with water. I use tooth pics to pic the sander dust out of the bubble voids, and clean water and rag to wipe it down. The wet rag helps get rid of the dust and helps me see what it will look like after finish.And my original drawing.

That’s it for this installment. I am going to just let it sit for a couple of days and see if the epoxy will cure any more. With a little luck it will. I will have to fill all the bubble voids in the black before I move onto the white, so even if I have to carve out some bad epoxy, it will all work out. I guess the next time I see you here I will be fixing the black and maybe carving in the white. Then I will have to decide if this will become a box lid or wall art. Any ideas????

Thanks for joining me on this episode.
See ya next time

-- JoeyG ~~~

12 comments so far

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 3170 days

#1 posted 01-10-2012 07:57 PM

What a bummer!

Could it be that the paint use is not totally “compatible” with the epoxy? I don’t have any knowledge with epoxy beside mixing it and slap it on.

Thanks for working all the bugs out for us. The next time I work with epoxy inlays I will know what to watch for.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View 3Gwoodguy's profile


164 posts in 2929 days

#2 posted 01-10-2012 08:04 PM

Joey, this is where liquid acrylic paint and I parted ways. I had this experience as well and “gummy” is the way to describe it. It can also result in a shrink back effect when the acrylic does finally dry where epoxy does not do that on its own. I found if you use acrylics you need to use the color extremely sparingly and when possible IMO use dry coloring adds. Im considering trying tempura paint in the future. Valuable lesson but it still sucks.

-- "The beatings will continue until moral improves" -- Bart Ridings, Illinois

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2862 days

#3 posted 01-10-2012 11:10 PM

@ Ian, I don’t think the acrylic paint is compatible at all. The goal is to get just enough in to add the color.

@ Bart, I knew I had squeezed to much paint into the mix but decided to give it a go. After your warnings I kind of wanted to see how far I could push it. School of hard knocks and all that. LOL. I think I might try a sample tonight using charcoal for the black. I want to see if the colors will match. I haven’t seen any of the shrinkage you have spoken of, but I will keep a close eye on it. What do you think of using oil pastels as dry color? I have even heard of people using colored chalk. The biggest grumble I have with dry colors is that they change color when they get wet. I guess we will all learn together.

I’ll keep you posted on how things go and try to take pictures of it. I hate the thought of trying to get all that black out, but we live and learn. If and when I use the paint for now on I will be much more careful how much I put in.

Let us know what kind of colors you use and how they work out. I would like to make a place that we (those who like this kind of inlay) can go to get a lot of info from different places. As far as I know there is nowhere like that at this moment. Maybe we should start a forum about epoxy inlays. Any ideas?????

-- JoeyG ~~~

View Karson's profile


35152 posts in 4637 days

#4 posted 01-10-2012 11:18 PM


Nice blog on the pitfalls and tribulations of expanding the art.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2862 days

#5 posted 01-11-2012 01:06 AM

Thanks Karson, it wouldn’t be any fun if everything always worked.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2926 days

#6 posted 01-11-2012 05:45 AM

Joey, I need a big dose of your attitude! When things go awry it ruins my whole day (and puts me in a really foul mood). I know how dumb that is cause we’re supposedly doing this for fun. I certainly envy your outlook and I’m following this with great anticipation. I vote for a box lid. Edit: I’m about to decide this isn’t a good hobby for OCD perfectionists like me!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2862 days

#7 posted 01-11-2012 02:59 PM

Good Morning gfadvm, what does that stand for anyway? I have my moments where I get OCD, and I always feel like my work could be better, but it is the process that I enjoy. When I first started sanding the piece and realized what was going on it really bummed me out. I knew better. I had been warned by Bart but I didn’t listen. I walked away. I left it laying on the bench for a couple of hours and came in the house and played games with my daughter. By the time I went back to it, I could approach it from a healthy point of view. It took me a long time to learn this. I also have to remind myself that I choose to work in wood. By it’s very nature, it is imperfection incarnate. I love wood for this very reason. So I remind myself that no matter how perfect my joints or cuts are, They WILL move. No matter how perfect my finish is, it will become scratched. This doesn’t mean that I do not do my very best at every project I do, it simply means I accept my limitations as a human and the nature of wood.

I guess the main difference in my woodworking now as opposed to times in the past is that I do it because I want to. I built houses for years, and then built cabinets about 15 years. There were days when I loved it and days I wanted to burn every single piece of wood I could find. There where days when I thought I would never pick up another chisel or hammer. But I had to, the bills had to be paid. Now the things I do in my shop I do because I want to do them. If I am not feeling it, I don’t go to the shop. I don’t try to force the creativity, I let it come when it wants to. I make sure I fill my orders on time, but I try to allow myself the time to be able to breath. I will not allow woodworking to become a job to me again, it is a passion, and as such it must be protected from myself.

I am not sure if this philosophical babble makes any since, but I will put it out there anyway. LOL It’s hard to find balance between yourself and wood. It’s a journey, lets see where it takes us

-- JoeyG ~~~

View Alan S's profile

Alan S

181 posts in 3554 days

#8 posted 01-11-2012 04:47 PM

I’ve made acrylic turning blanks using plastic resin and powdered dye from an art supply company. Maybe you could use powdered dyes to mix with your epoxy instead of paint?

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2862 days

#9 posted 01-12-2012 12:32 AM

@ Alan, I’m starting to think that I need to look into resins. There are things about epoxy that are just going to cause issues with epoxy, mainly the air bubbles. What I am using just isn’t designed for this kind of use. I can make it work, but there has to be a better way. Would you mind sharing what brand of resin and powders you used and give us a quick run down on how you used them (mixing etc.) and how they worked out for you. I would think if you doing turnings the last thing you would want would be an air bubble.


-- JoeyG ~~~

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2926 days

#10 posted 01-12-2012 03:33 AM

Joey, It stands for: G F Anderson Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. You comments make a lot of sense to me but I still think you have a great attitude! I’m still bummed out over my recent finish failure. I need to burn it and MOVE ON.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2862 days

#11 posted 01-12-2012 04:10 AM

Thank you. It’s not always easy, but I work at it. The best cure for a bad finish is sandpaper. Many a finish job has gone south on me and some times the only way to fix it is to sand it back down to bare wood. Good luck with it. I hope you can do more than make it firewood. Maybe a pretty box to put sandpaper in. I have a few of those around my shop. LOL

-- JoeyG ~~~

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3813 days

#12 posted 01-12-2012 04:40 AM

Looks like a fun project. Well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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