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Help me pour this acrylic top!!!

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Forum topic by DTOLAR posted 01-20-2016 04:33 AM 870 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DTOLAR

28 posts in 485 days


01-20-2016 04:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar finishing

I have made a large cedar table for a customer. Its about 9 feet long, and just under 4 ft wide, bookmatched, live edge slabs jointed on trestle legs. 3” thick

Ive already used acyrlic to fill in any voids and cracks, now its time to put on the top.

I had been planning on doing spar urethane, my norm, but the customer saw the acrylic being used on the inclusions, asked if that was the “glasstop stuff” and now that’s what they want.

Per the math, I need 1.3 gallons, So I bought 1.5, That’s already really eating into my profit, and will give me 1/16th of an inch coverage. (Envirotex lite)

It will be a bit chilly on pour day, about 65, but it was colder on the other days so I know it will take longer to set, and I kind of want to use that to my advantage, being that I can use the thicker consistency to “paint” it over the edges to get them covered as well.

My main concern is if I have to go back and sand any areas how can I polish it back out to a high gloss?

What kind of pouring/spreading techniques would yall suggest on an area this big? my wife will be there to help.

Ive heard of using a propane torch to push the liquid acrylic around and remove bubbles, is that OK or will I blow myself up?

Thanks in advance


19 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 948 days


#1 posted 01-20-2016 04:43 AM

good luck. It might be possible but it didn’t work out too well for me. The best I got was a crappy matte. Tried up to 3000 even polishing compound on leather. There might be a way. I didn’t find it. Oh and make sure you have everything triple checked and sealed up good. I thought I did. It leaked through the blue tape I put all over the sides and bottom. Then the tape stuck to it on top of that. It was a miserable experience but mine probably isn’t like most.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1061 posts in 1993 days


#2 posted 01-20-2016 06:41 AM

I did a 27” x 84” countertop for a client using Envirotex last year. Shop temp was around 70°, which gave about 40 minutes of “working” time. 65° will give you some more time, which could come in useful on that siize of top.

- Your top needs to dead flat AND deal level when you pour. The larger the surface, the harder to do, and you have a very large surface. If there is any point that is 1/16” high, anywhere on the surface, it will show. If you have any surface irregularity, aim for thicker.

- It helps to warm up the Envirotex prior to mixing. The higher intitial temperature helps to lower the viscosity for mixing and the initial flow out. I put mine in front of a space heater for an hour.

- A propane torch works very well for getting out bubbles. You just want to wave it over any bubbly areas, parallel to the top and about 3” above. You do not want to direct the flame onto to surface, as it will either burn or crust. So, no, you don’t use a flame to push the resin around.

- Business cards work awesome for spreading resin.

- The resin will cure to a high gloss. Should be no need to polish. You will want to take steps to prevent dust nibs from forming – freshly laundered clothes (shirt, at least), clean and dust-free environment.

- Because you are letting it flow over the edge, it will get messy. Put a lot of paper down, at least 2 layers.

- To get a good flow down the edges, you’ll need to spread the resin on the edge or you’ll get an “icicle” effect. Business card or (disposable) paint brush. You might be tempted to use a foam brush – don’t!

- And when doing the edges, you’ll want to wrap the resin around the bottom edge. Otherwise you will have an uneven bottom edge. Lay a line of masking tape on the bottom, about 3/4” in from the outside. Then when you pour, use a brush/business card to “paint” that bottom perimeter with the resin as it flows over and drips off the bottom. You will still have drips, but they will be confined to the bottom and not show at the edge. Once the resin cures, you can use a chisel to knock down the drips. You can also use a chisel or knife to cut the resin at the tape line and remove the tape. Don’t wait too long, the resin becomes too hard to easily cut after about 3 days.

That’s all the tips I have at the moment.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Mark Kornell

1061 posts in 1993 days


#3 posted 01-20-2016 06:44 AM

Oh, yeah – I tried polishing the areas where I cut the drip marks. No dice, couldn’t get it past a matte sheen regardless what I tried. So make sure you don’t have to sand anything that shows.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1977 days


#4 posted 01-20-2016 12:49 PM

I’m somewhere between The Fridge and Mark.
Three times I’ve used this stuff, and all three were so-so. I hate it.
I just cannot imagine doing an 108” by 48” surface!

The 65’ will help, I think more than you believe. Your major problem will be the level of the tabletop across the board. I’d be taking not only a really, really true level, (maybe even digital), but I’d run a true straight edge across the top to make sure I don’t have a slight mound somewhere you cannot see with the naked eye, but would show up as an open spot since you are only doing a 1/16th inch thick layer.
If you have a slight high spot, you have a really good chance of it dripping off the edge and revealing the very slight mound which ruins the project.

I’d be tempted to tell you to go back and tell the customer to put on a piece of glass cut to size, rather than try to cover that big a surface with 1/16th of an inch Envirotex. You might say that the glass would not sit on the top evenly, since there has to be some imperfection somewhere in the top. Well, your Envirotex will also find that imperfection and show up as a non-covered area, at 1/16th.

And no, you cannot shine it back up – too soft. It is, however, a total nasty to get back off should this not go right. Burned up a new 4X24 belt sander trying to remove it. Been there on a bowling alley table I did.

I’d think about three coats of a McKloskey’s style gym finish would be better. (Although I know McKloskey’s ain’t around anymore)

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1759 days


#5 posted 01-20-2016 01:27 PM

“That’s already really eating into my profit”

They asked for something out of the ordinary in materials and time. CHARGE MORE. I also would think that cedar is way too soft for that type of finish.

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1635 days


#6 posted 01-20-2016 01:38 PM

Envirotex has no UV protection. It will yellow out if exposed to any kind of direct sunlight and it doesn’t take much exposure. I will never use it again for a table top.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

625 posts in 1415 days


#7 posted 01-20-2016 09:37 PM

I haven’t used Envirotex for a table top, but I have used it on several occasions for another hobby of mine. I am interested in “music electronics”, specifically effects pedals for instruments such as guitars. These are commonly called stomp boxes since there is an on – off switch that is activated with your foot. The artwork and any paint job takes a beating. The boxes are typically cast aluminum. I have done chemical etching, paint, powder coating, and Envirotex. The latter is fantastic for the horizontal surface of the box. It really sucks for the sides. The advice of removing bubbles by waving a [propane torch over the surface is spot on. You will get a nice gloss finish. The material drips down the sides, making a big mess. I have never succeeded in eliminating sags in the thickness and always have a band of thicker material around the bottom of the box. I suggest you make a mock up piece and do a trial run to see how you like the effect. Don’t jump in on your project. This stuff cannot be removed.

Here are two pictures showing the sag problem. The finish is hard and glossy, but the sags drive me up the wall.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1759 days


#8 posted 01-20-2016 11:26 PM

Can you still get Carver Tripps Liquid Plastic? That stuff really puts a thick gloss on wood.

View DTOLAR's profile

DTOLAR

28 posts in 485 days


#9 posted 01-21-2016 07:40 AM

I’m going to reply to everyone at once.

First off, thanks for the tips. Learned alot.

I was most definitely planning to use foam brushes, I will not. I have been mulling over how to tape the bottom, but I think this idea sounds good, I was planning to just keep walking “painting” them back up until it got solid enough. I’ve already poured 3 layers, filling in holes and inclusions, it didn’t run too much further than where I poured it, holding at about 1/4 thick…if I poured a 3 inch puddle, it stayed a 3 inch puddle….

The UV thing has been my biggest worry, it’s the reason we chose Acrylic, I’ve always been under the impression the acrylic just didn’t yellow, by its nature. This table will be outdoors and exposed to sun all day, every day, it’s why I’ve worked so hard to make sure it is sealed up.

I contemplated a true glass top, but I still have to apply some sort of finish to the wood underneath. So far the acrylic I have poured looks fantastic on the grain.

If you guys where making a large table that will see rain and sun, what would you go with?

I’m not too worried about high spots showing through, I’ve spent a lot of time getting the top flat, but I plan to shim it to get it as level as possible.before pouring.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22005 posts in 1801 days


#10 posted 01-21-2016 07:59 AM

No polishing after the fact. Your pour has to be perfect or it’s a do-over.

Mine are generally 1/8 thick.

Have a heat gun or torch ready to burst bubbles.

Perfectly level as said earlier.

You automatically add $150 (at least) to any project requesting epoxy.

Never trust factory estimates on what their product covers.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22005 posts in 1801 days


#11 posted 01-21-2016 08:01 AM

Epoxy will not hold up in direct sunlight. Spar urethane is what I use for outdoor furniture.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DTOLAR's profile

DTOLAR

28 posts in 485 days


#12 posted 01-21-2016 08:36 AM

I was going to use spar urethane, but they wanted the “glass top” look. That’s what I did use on the bottom.

I had already quoted them a price, and theyre my best customers so I upped it $50, the acrylic cost me $120.

I have a good paying full time job, the woodworking I do for fun, I just try to make enough to make it worth my while, pay for new tools, etc.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1759 days


#13 posted 01-21-2016 01:21 PM

“If you guys where making a large table that will see rain and sun, what would you go with?”

There is nothing – wood, steel or plastic – that will last outdoors without needing maintenance along the way. If you just go with something like Thompsons on a regular basis the wood will turn gray. Go with a heavy coating like varnish or paint it will needs to be scraped, sanded and recoated every year or two. Plastic degrades, steel rusts, plastic breaks down. There is ‘forever’ answer.

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

1047 posts in 2593 days


#14 posted 01-21-2016 02:01 PM



If you guys where making a large table that will see rain and sun, what would you go with?

3 coats of West System epoxy, followed by 5-7 coats of a high quality marine varnish.

Then be prepared to sand and re-varnish every few years.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

View DTOLAR's profile

DTOLAR

28 posts in 485 days


#15 posted 01-21-2016 09:05 PM

Awesome, I will chat with them and see if we can get a game plan.

I also spoke with a lady at company called “artresin”. they compared theres to EX 74 and envirotex, she told me she was very confident in their product, and they are local to me, so their outdoor test are as realistic for me as it gets.

Regardless, nothing is forever.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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