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Inlays - how to fill with epoxy / putty / wax / paint?

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Forum topic by sjbrown posted 07-08-2012 07:15 PM 2525 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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sjbrown

8 posts in 1854 days


07-08-2012 07:15 PM

I have a lot of little pieces with recessed areas that I want to fill with a color. The recessed areas are about .5mm deep.

I want the colors to be really bright, not to match the wood colors.

I’ve read a little bit about dyeing epoxy, but honestly it sounds like too much work. Ideally I could just buy some kind of goo, putty knife it into the recesses, wait a bit then quickly sand it level with the wood surface.

Any suggestions? I’m a newbie.


6 replies so far

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2464 days


#1 posted 07-08-2012 07:31 PM

That is just what you would do with epoxy. Just depends on what you are trying to do. The biggest problem is using something that will shrink. You can mix most pigments with epoxy as well. Masonry pigment powders would be a good place to start. They are generally pretty light fast (don’t want the colors to fade.)

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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sjbrown

8 posts in 1854 days


#2 posted 07-08-2012 08:24 PM

Well, weth epoxy you also have to do the epoxy mixing, and also pigment mixing.

Furthermore, you’ve only got a limited time before the epoxy sets. So if you want to go back to the project later, you’ve got to color-match the previous batch.

It may be the solution I eventually choose, but I’d like to hear if there are alternatives.

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2464 days


#3 posted 07-08-2012 09:20 PM

It doesn’t really matter what you use, it all comes out to the be the same thing: A hardening binder and some pigment material. You could go with something like a air hardening clay but then you still have to get it to stick down to the piece and have to deal with shrinkage. You could go with a paint but it would take multiple layers and it is not structural (it isn’t hard enough to stand up to use.)

If you decide to go with epoxy, I really recommend something with a 1:1 mix ratio like System 3 Silvertip laminating epoxy. It is not as yellow and doesn’t smell as bad. If you are not that familiar with epoxies, the slow cure works the easiest and gives you more time. Never mix up very much at a time. (I use little medicine cups and mix up maybe 20-30cc at a time) Keep it spread out so it can dissipate the heat of curing so it doesn’t kick off as fast on you. I use Styrofoam plates. With the epoxy I am talking about, you will have maybe 20-30 minutes after getting it all mixed up to get it in place and it will mostly cure overnight. Fully in about 3 days. (Depending on the temperature)

Once you get used to it, it is super easy to work with and gives you a lot of open time. Personally, I mix part of the fillers into both parts of the mix before combining. Gives you a bit more time. Just make sure you have everything handy and ready to go before you start. Don’t be in a hurry. Also, the number one tip to using epoxy: Go to the bathroom first.

Anything you use will be a problem to match. I suggest powdered solid color pigments rather than pigments that you have to mix.

I used to be leery of epoxy but after building a couple boats, you become really familiar with it. It is great stuff and you can do a lot with it. Lots of different additives that you can use to change it’s properties. (Which reminds me, I need to order some!)

Warren Messier (I think that is how you spell his name) has some really good videos on youtube (Redbarnboats) of some boat building stuff that will show you a lot about working with epoxy.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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Jim Finn

2416 posts in 2388 days


#4 posted 07-09-2012 12:28 AM

.....” Ideally I could just buy some kind of goo, putty knife it into the recesses, wait a bit then quickly sand it level with the wood surface…...” I do this with a mixture of white glue and sanding powder from my orbital sander. I make a thin paste and apply it using a credit card to flatten it smooth and and after it dries in about an hour, depending how deep the holes are. I do a lot of this on my inlays. 1/8” deep and it is ready to sand in about an hour. In this photo I cut the groove with a “V” tool and fill and sand using this procedure.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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sjbrown

8 posts in 1854 days


#5 posted 07-09-2012 05:55 PM

Hmm, interesting, Jim.

I wonder if just a tube of acrylic paint with some sawdust mixed in might work…

I am going to lacquer over the whole piece afterwards, so maybe I can rely on that for durability.

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sjbrown

8 posts in 1854 days


#6 posted 07-12-2012 10:05 PM

I talked to a friend and he suggested that 1-Shot enamel paint might work. He has had experience lacquering over it.

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