Sealing crushed stone in a carving and creating coaster using wood slices

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    • #100351 Reply
      WR Talbot
      Guest

      I am doing two projects for my nephew’s wedding. For the first project I am using sort of circular natural wood discs (yes, with the tree rings and bark) showing. I am using a CNC laser to burn patterns on both sides of the disc – the patterns are native species of mammals in Colorado. What I want to do is to seal them in resin to make coasters so that either side could be up. I do not want to cover up the grain/rings as that adds to the ‘rustic’ look of the coasters. After I burn the images I know that I should paint a thin layer of resin on each side as well as the bark. I would then like to put each disc into a round mold that is slightly larger than the wood discs. Suggestions on the type of resin to use? Any trouble spots that I need to know about in the various steps?

      For the second project I have carved out a wedding design in a basswood plank. The carving is about 3/8ths to 1/4 inch deep in a nominal 3/4 inch plank. What I want to do is to fill various parts of the carving with different types of crushed stones (roughly 1.0 to 1.5 mms in most dimensions – width, length, and thickness) – using birth stones for the bride and groom, Tiger’s Eye for the tree, Adventurine for the leaves, Sodalite for the lovebirds in the tree, and red jasper for the obligatory heart above the lovebirds. I would then pour resin over the entire plank and the resin would naturally flow into the carving and fill in around the stone chips. What I don’t know is if the stone chips will float in the resin and I dread trying to get all the bubbles out that would come from the stone chips! I was thinking of stirring the stone chips into the resin (and dealing with the bubbles at that point) before I pour the resin into the carving – probably doing a separate pour for each color of stone. Questions: 1) should I seal the wood before doing anything else and if so what should I use (I don’t want to cover up the wood grain of the plank); 2) what type of resin should I use that will flow freely, be self-leveling, and not yellow with age; 3) what types of pitfalls am I likely to encounter at any point in this project? and what would I need to do to address or avoid those pitfalls. I am a total novice at this resin world – and only got back into cutting and polishing stones when I retired a few years back. I really want these projects to turn out looking nearly professional and definitely something that doesn’t resemble a 3rd grade art class project (my apologies to any 3rd graders out there who are really into this stuff). Thanks for any feedback that anyone has to offer.

    • #100376 Reply
      Katherine Swift
      Keymaster

      Hi WR,

      These are going to be amazing!

      For your first project, do you want to use the resin as a coating or are you putting it in a mold?

      As for the second project, it sounds like you will mixing and pouring less than 3 ounces of resin at once, yes? If so, the Resin Obsession super clear resin works great. It cures hard and clear, plus has UV protectants to guard against yellowing. You can buy it in several sizes in our store here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/resin/resin-obsession-super-clear-resin

    • #100411 Reply
      WR Talbot
      Guest

      Katherine – thanks for the quick replies.

      For the first suggestion – using a mold will make for more uniformity for all the coasters – but I am not opposed to just applying several coats of resin. I was planning on using a mold that is slightly bigger than the largest dimension of the wood discs. Understandably, all the discs are of a slightly different mixture of dimensions (H, W, L) – but the largest of the 12 discs that I plan to use is slightly less than 3-7/8 inches (slightly less than a nominal internal 10 cm diameter mold).

      For the second suggestion – I don’t have a good feel as to how much of the carving 3 oz. will cover/fill – but if it takes quite a few 3 oz pours to get the best quality of end results then that is what I will do. So, is mixing the crushed stones into the resin before pouring the resin into the carved areas the best way to go? Should I expect any significant issues with doing that? I expect that once I get each 3 oz pour completely into the carved area that I am working on, I will have to do some pushing and maneuvering of the stone chips to get as consistent a thickness of the stone chips as possible. I have ample amounts of the various colors of stones so I don’t have to worry about spreading the stone layer too thin. Again, thank you for the responses and suggestions.

      WR

    • #100412 Reply
      WR Talbot
      Guest

      Katherine – I was of the impression that I would need to put a thin coat of resin on the wood discs as a sealant before putting them into a mold for adding additional resin to produce a resin coaster with a wooden disc insert embedded in the resin. Correct??
      WR

      • #100499 Reply
        Katherine Swift
        Keymaster

        Yes WR, you can do that. It will seal air in (or out) and keep it from releasing into your resin casting. You can use a foam brush to apply it and let it soak it. (Kinda like when bread soaks up liquid.)

    • #100701 Reply
      WR Talbot
      Guest

      Katherine – thank you for the responses – they are very helpful. Additionally, I have been pouring over your posts about all things resin. So far I have gone through 58 posts – skipping over some that I don’t think would be useful to me (craft ideas for girls’ night, is resin safe to use if you are pregnant – for starters). One topic that I have not run across deals with the temperature to use to remove bubbles. Butane torches can be adjusted for different temperatures and surfing the ‘net for heat guns I see that they can come in all sorts of temperatures – from as low as 120 degrees F to well over 1500 degrees F. (useful for lighting one’s charcoal briquets I suppose) Many are a single fixed temperature, some have two temperature settings, and a few actually have 5 or more temperature settings. So, what would be a suggested temperature range to shoot for?
      I have a ‘scrap’ carving – my first attempt did not come out as well as I wanted so I redid it. I will be using that carving to practice with the resin and stones – practice getting rid of bubbles, I can – heeding your advise to practice with the materials before tackling the real project, I am.
      I do have a question about the wood discs – you mention in several articles about sealing things with Mod Podge (mostly paper) – would that be a better option to seal the wood discs instead of a thin coat of resin? The Mod Podge might soak into the wood pores better than the resin?

    • #100713 Reply
      Katherine Swift
      Keymaster

      Hi WR,

      My heat gun only works on one setting and it works great for me and bubbles. Here’s how I use it, plus the one I use, in this article: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/how-to-use-a-heat-gun-with-resin/

      Mod Podge works great for paper, but I think resin will soak into your discs better because it’s fluid. I would try that first.

      I can’t wait to hear how this turns out for you!

    • #100854 Reply
      WR Talbot
      Guest

      Katherine,

      Again, many thanks for your taking the time to address my emails and providing your expert suggestions. I will definitely follow your advice. I am now up to 60 of your articles that I have read – that is a lot of information to absorb, although some of the information is reinforced in two or more articles.

      The project with the wood discs are going to be coasters – so I will be embedding the disks in a resin disc using a silicone mold – so that calls for casting resin. The process that I have planned is to apply a thin coat of resin to each side of the discs once I have all the patterns burned into the discs. I have ordered several circular molds with an inside diameter of 3-7/8″. My discs range from about 3-1/8″ to 3-5/8″ in their maximum diameters so they should fit nicely into the mold which is .7″ deep (the discs are all about 0.5″ thick +/- 0.0625″ (1/16″). I will put the disc on the bottom of the mold and pour just enough resin in to just cover the disc – and pop any bubbles that show up. Once that has cured enough to remove if from the mold, I will flip it over and put it back in the mold with the resin side down and then cover the other side of the wood disc with resin – and treat any bubbles that come out.

      The second project is a plaque that is about 11-1/2″ x 13-1/2″. My plan is to fill the carved-out areas with casting resin mixed with crushed stones (amethyst, peridot, tiger’s eye, red jasper, sodalite, and malachite). I will only fill the carved areas up to the level of uncarved wood. I will probably do that in stages – working with only one color of stone at a time. I am debating as to whether I should seal the insides of the carved areas before filling them with resin/stones. I am leaning towards sealing the carved areas just to cut down on the number of bubbles that might come out of the wood itself. Any thoughts about sealing the inside of the carved-out areas? Once that has cured, I plan on building a Plexiglas ‘wall’ around the plaque that is not much more than 1/8″ wider and taller than the plaque itself and cover the face and sides with doming resin. I will also brush on a coat of resin on the back once the rest of the plaque has cured. Oh – I will apply a light stain to the front and sides of the plaque (basswood is a rather featureless washed out pale color) – but not the insides of the carved areas – before I start doing anything with the resin.

      This is my first attempt at a large project – but I am quite used to planning projects out in significant detail. Your articles are a great resource in that regard.

      If you have a way of receiving photos as attachments I will be very happy to send you ‘progress’ photos along with the end result. If not, then I can upload the photos to a Google Drive that I can share with you – I would just need your email address.

      Till later, stay safe and keep your fingers crossed for me!

      • #100920 Reply
        Katherine Swift
        Keymaster

        My gosh WR, you have put so much thought into this. It will be amazing!

        Yes, please send progress pictures. You can message them to me at info [at] resinobsession {dot} com.

        Good luck!

    • #101027 Reply
      WR Talbot
      Guest

      Thank you for the compliment. I am a scientist (retired) and I am used to being very detailed and precise in designing projects. I was a hydrogeologist (as in a groundwater specialist) with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for more than 29 years (but less than 30). I designed a lot of water supply systems and groundwater wells where I had to calculate all the quantities of materials so the estimators could come up with a cost. For example – a typical well would include depth of the well, diameter of the borehole, diameters and lengths of the piping that would go into the well, the quantities of materials (sand, concrete, filter material, and seals) that would be placed between the sides of the borehole and the outer diameter of the piping that formed the well, size and capacity of the submersible pumps, all piping that would connect the pump to some storage or distribution system above ground, and a number of other parameters specific to the uses that the pumped water would be for.

      I built a spreadsheet for the coaster project – I will send that to you – maybe you will get a chuckle out of it.
      I will follow up later with progress pictures on both the coaster and plaque projects.

      Till then . . . .

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