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Woodturning Projects #1: Epoxy Resin and a Cracked Blank

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Blog entry by UncleDave posted 07-20-2015 02:15 AM 1810 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I was talking to a friend at work about turning, and he said he had thought about trying it at one time. He put the cart before the horse, so to speak, and bought some blanks but never got a lathe. He had them sitting around for a long time, some nice cherry blanks, and gave them to me. The blanks he had were all cut out of the tree pretty poorly I think, as they contain wood really close to the center of the trunk. The first blank I did wasn’t that bad with the cracking, but this larger one developed some pretty good sized cracks. Here are some pictures showing the cracks.

It’s hard to show it with just the images, but if I grab the sides and pull, the cracks are deep enough that the whole bowl pulls apart. It’s a nice piece, so I didn’t want to give up on it. I did some looking and searching and found that others had used polyester resin or epoxy resin to fill in cracks in pieces. I bought some polyester resin from the craft store and did some mixing to see what I thought. It stinks like crazy, but it did cure well and seemed suitable. But I was a little leery because I had read that it can be difficult to work with and may chunk or chip out easily. I then went to my local Woodcraft and asked about any products they may have and a guy there recommended this T-88 stuff.

He said he has used it a number of times and it works well when turned. So I mixed some of it up and added the pigment and started spreading it into the cracks. I was hoping it would be a little thinner and just seep deep into the cracks, but it was a bit thick. I did manage to spread it into the cracks fairly well though. Here are some pictures after I applied the resin.

I hope it does what I’m hoping. I left the bowl walls pretty thick so hopefully that will give me some material to work with should I need it. Wish me the best!



4 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7482 posts in 1471 days


#1 posted 07-20-2015 07:55 PM

Wow, you really glopped that stuff on. Is it really as thick as it looks? :-)
I generally use superglue and sawdust. So far I’ve been having pretty good results.
Be sure to post some updates so we can see how it works out.

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View ScottinVa's profile

ScottinVa

35 posts in 979 days


#2 posted 08-26-2015 08:18 PM

Any updates?

View UncleDave's profile

UncleDave

36 posts in 651 days


#3 posted 08-28-2015 12:38 AM

All right so I got the work done on this finally. Sorry for the terribly delayed update folks.

Well you are right JoeinGa, that stuff really was thick. I had to actually spread it on, otherwise it wouldn’t get in the cracks but rather sit on top of them. Here is what it looked like after I let the resin cure.

Looked pretty good so I got my jam chuck ready on the lathe. Just a piece of 3/4” plywood I put on my lathe and turned a channel to about the right size for the bowl.

Then I set the bowl in there to clean out the bottom area where my chuck grabs it. Looking pretty good. And the resin works really nice. I was worried that it would be too hard to work with or maybe too brittle but it was great.

So there I had the bottom pretty well cleaned up. I took a close look at some of the larger cracks, and even though I thought I had gotten the resin in there pretty well, there were still spots you could see that were missing the resin. This next picture shows it pretty well.

So I applied the resin again (I could get away with it because I had left the bowl walls pretty thick) and then tried it again. This time I really tried pressing it in there. I am a not smart man, so I forgot to take good pictures of the cracks with the resin after this second go. It turned out all right, but not as well as I had hoped. It was really difficult to get the resin deep into the cracks because it was so thick. But the areas where I was able to get it all the way in there had very good results. I would recommend using this product, but just be mindful that you are going to be dealing with a thick product. I don’t know if there is a way to thin it at all. I may look into it and give it a try.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the finished product. It is walnut finished with pure tung oil. Thanks for taking a look!

View UncleDave's profile

UncleDave

36 posts in 651 days


#4 posted 08-28-2015 12:39 AM

Oh dangit I forgot I had to flip the images so they would appear properly. Still not sure why that happens. I’ll try to edit the post and fix it.

There I got it fixed.

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