Sunday, 10 August 2014

Resin-inlaid Wood

A non-jewellery post, for a change. We were running a bit short on shelving in the kitchen and wanted somewhere we could store all the preserves we're going to make from the garden this year, so we went to the timber yard to see what they had. They had this, 155cm long piece of chestnut.


It was pretty heavily cracked and pitted, with knotholes and so on. But, I had a plan. Resin inlay. A technique traditionally used with a colour-matched epoxy to the wood, to give an "invisible" repair. I'm taking a slightly different approach.

First job, seal off the holes from the bottom, using aluminium plumber's tape. It's super sticky so it seals well, and it won't be damaged by the resin either. You might need these seals to hold for a few days, depending on the weather.


Make sure the wood is level, otherwise you'll end up with wonky resin bits.


Now it's time to mix the resin. Give it a good mixing and then add your pigment. If you warm it up a bit, on a heater or with a hairdryer or something, the bubbles will pop out of it much more easily. Bubbles can ruin resin casts, so carefully mix and warm the resin, then let it sit for a while, before pouring. It's going to take hours, even days, to cure, so half an hour to de-bubble isn't a problem.


You know when I said this isn't going to be a traditional inlay? Here's the pigmented resin in darkness. Awww yeah. This is going to be great.

So, pour it in, and wait. Come back in an hour or so to make sure none of your seals are leaking. If they are, slap some more tape on and refill with resin.


However long you think it's going to take, leave it longer. This was poured in spring so took three days before it felt hard to the touch, then I left it another three days just to be sure. Now, peel off your tape and it's time to sand/plane/etc.

The overpour around the edges where the resin has soaked into the wood is going to be a pain to remove. But I can already tell this is going to look amazing.

More sanding. I'm really skipping over a LOT of work here. I spent hours, and hours, carding, planing and sanding this. Chestnut is hard! But eventually, it was done. I cut the big piece into the three shelves it was going to be, and on to my favourite part. Boiled linseed oil cut with white spirit. I love that first wipe of oil when the grain of the wood just leaps out at you. Makes all those hours of preparation worth it. Gave it about eight or nine thin coats, looks incredible.

 View from the end. Visible inlay and spalting. Still a bit of woodworm damage visible.


Now it's time to get these up. The brackets are grey to match the colour the wall is going to be once it's been repainted. I had some bits of walnut around to make the other brackets.


And, they're up. In daylight they look like this:

 Now, in darker conditions, you can really start to see the glow resin in action.


I think this one is my favourite. It's on the bottom of the top shelf, so it's visible in normal use.

Wall robot approves.



So there you go. Blue glow inlay into chestnut.

Unrelated link to my Etsy store.

77 comments:

  1. Will you share where you got your glow powder? United Nuclear, maybe?

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  2. Loads of people on Reddit were asking that too. I wish I had an answer, but it's been so long since I bought it, I honestly can't remember. I think it was from here: http://www.kilabitzzz.co.uk/

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  3. I found some here : http://fndeco.com/en/135-glow-in-the-dark-pigments

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  4. This is pure genius! Thanks for sharing the tip :-)

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  5. It looks like UV reactive day glow powder rather than glow in the dark powder, which is white under daylight conditions.
    http://www.kilabyte.biz/store/Ultraviolet-Fluorescent
    vs. http://www.kilabyte.biz/store/Glow-In-The-Dark/Glow-In-The-Dark-Powder

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    1. This is why I'm not sure about it. It definitely glows in the dark! But it's also blue under daylight, and it reacts to UV. The powder I have is light blue and - as you can see from the photos - is visibly blue.

      I bought it a few year ago, it could be an old formulation. Or I could have bought it from somewhere else entirely. I wish I could remember.

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    2. This powder is light blue at daylight it charges from a lightsource (like bulb or sunlight) and glows blue in the dark: http://fndeco.com/en/glow-in-the-dark-pigments/3265-unikromglow-decor-paint-pigment-powder-skyblue-15g.html

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    3. It might be similar to this "triple glow" product. Apparently it is blue in daylight, and glows in both darkness and uv--unlike their neutral glow product which only glows in the dark and is a white in daylight. I'm not sure of the reputation of this company, but it's worth giving a shot.

      https://www.glonation.com/glow-in-the-dark-products/triple-glow-powders.html

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  6. Stunning work! I've got a beautiful piece of timber here full of knotty holes that I've been meaning to resin fill. You've inspired me to stop talking about it and do it. Thanks!

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  7. Regarding the powder, maybe this is it? It mentions being able to be mixed with resins in the description, and it seems to be the same/a similar color: http://www.kilabyte.biz/store/Pigment-Powder/Aqua-GITD-pigment-powder

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  8. Wood has to be bone dry or the resin will react with moisture in the timber

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  9. was the glowing paint it in powder form or liquid?

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    1. Powder. There's a photo of the bag of pigment in the post above.

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  10. All I can think is Blizzard, WoW

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  11. I found it here! https://www.glonation.com/glow-in-the-dark-products/triple-glow-powders.html

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anastazia! I am ordering the multi color pak for a project I am doing!

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  12. What was the ratio of resin to powder?

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    1. I didn't measure, just eyeballed it. There was maybe 4-5g of pigment in perhaps 100ml of resin? That's just a guess mind..

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    2. that is great a good starting point. I will be ordering some powder and creating some sample pieces with different ratios. I will post my findings.

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    3. How much of the hardener do u use and how much of the resin?

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  13. You can easily find the powder on eBay or Amazon, and it comes in a variety of colors, simply search for "Strontium Aluminate Powder" and there should be a number of options!

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  14. This is absolutely incredible! I have a huge slice of trunk from an old maple that was taken down, and this would be perfect for it. It developed an enormous crack while drying in my garage, and I've been too sentimental about it to throw it out! Now to find a large enough planer...

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  15. Woah! Amazing job. I've a question... Do you mix the resine, the powder AND the hardener at te same time, or you just mix the resine and the powder, and later you add the hardener directly in the wood?
    Sorry for my English!

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    1. Resin and hardener and powder all at once. Your English is good! :)

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    2. Thank you. You're a really nice guy!

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  16. Wonderful idea and a lot of effort for a few jars ;)

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  17. Hi there , first of all, WOW AMAZING ! wanna try this so badly now ^.^
    But I have a question, you said the next thing:

    " - Boiled linseed oil cut with white spirit. I love that first wipe of oil when the grain of the wood just leaps out at you. Makes all those hours of preparation worth it. Gave it about eight or nine thin coats, looks incredible. - "

    What is the ratio of white spirit against the linseed oil ? And is this mixture like a varnish or more like a wood mordant ?

    thanks in advance !

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    1. Probably 50/50 for the first coat, then moving to around 70/30 oil/thinners for the others. But that's just a guess. I don't measure, I just add white spirit until the oil looks about thin enough.

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    2. thank you for the fast reply ! will try this out.
      do you boil the mixture or do you just boil the linseed oil and add the white spirit afterwards ? And do you use the mixture still warm or let it cool down before use ?

      thx !

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    3. "Boiled linseed oil" isn't actually boiled oil, it's a treated linseed oil that dries faster. You can buy it at most DIY suppliers, it's not expensive. I mix the white spirit in a little jar before use, making small batches.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil#Boiled_linseed_oil

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  18. thank you a lot! From Belgium here so that's why I didn't recognize it by the name :)
    will do some shopping tomorrow !


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    1. Happy to help! Best of luck with your project! :)

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  19. How long does the glow last in the resin?

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    1. Depends on how long you charge it for, and the size of the piece of resin. Perhaps a couple of minutes at full brightness, but it's visible in a dark(ish) room for maybe an hour?

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    2. Does this mean that after 3 days of hard work it will only glow for an hour?

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    3. An hour or so for each time you charge it up.

      I've got bits of this resin over a year old which still glow, but they need charging each time.

      Have you seen glow in the dark things before? It works very much like all the other glow stuff out there.

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    4. Oooh i get it now. So with ''charge'' you mean like for the shelve to be exposed in light?

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  20. Taiwan's news to see your article, it is a good idea, I will use my fishing rod, thank you for your inspiration.

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  21. There's a product made by the smooth-on company that could alsi work. It seems to be very long lasting as glow goes.

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  22. Would you ever consider making shelves like this to sell on your Etsy store? These are really great and I know I'd buy some if they were for sale.

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    1. I may try to do that. It's a bit difficult with shipping and storage (I don't have much space to store unsold shelves!) and so on, but if you follow me on Etsy you'll see if/when I do anything along those lines.

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. so about how many oz is in that bag? I'm trying to do a similar thing, but with an arcade stick and I'm trying to figure out how much to buy...

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    1. That was a 25g bag, I think. But it wasn't full and I didn't use it all. Perhaps 10g per 150ml of resin?

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  25. Cool project, thanks for sharing. I'm not familiar with resin, but your project has my wheels turning, so I thought I'd ask. It sounds from your description like you started with a single piece of chestnut, then poured the resin into the cracks, let it cure a really long time, and then you were able to cut the whole sandwich, resin, chestnut and all, into your three shelves. How does resin stand up to cutting with a saw like this? I'm thinking about making a sort of wood & resin "laminate." I'd start with a couple of pieces of wood, clamped in such a way that there are small gaps in between each piece. After pouring the resin in & letting it fully cure, I'd cut the ends off (perpendicular to the direction of the resin "gaps"), hopefully leaving me with a finished board that has translucent, resin stripes. Would something like this work? Can the resin handle being cut by a saw like that (or can the saw handle the resin...), and will the resin bond to the two strips of wood so that the whole thing acts like a single board after it's finished?

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    1. The resin is easily cuttable, sandable and so on. It's just solid plastic once it's cured. I'm assuming your post is missing some links about the type of saw, but I used a high power bench mitre saw so if that's OK, then almost anything will be OK.

      Your laminate idea should work, but don't quote me on that as I haven't tried it. If you do a quick test run you'll know for sure.

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    2. thanks Mat. Yeah, I haven't really thought through this too much yet, but I'm willing to pick up a little resin and do a test run. Like I said, your project really got the wheels turning for me. Key things for me are 1) translucency and 2) a reasonable bond between the layers. Doing a mockup should be pretty easy.

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  26. Very inspiring project, thanks for sharing. I have very similar question to the one above and would be very curious to know how the trial run went. I am thinking of making a table from a palette and want to fill the gaps between planks with resin. Now my question is very similar in that I would like to know how well does the resin bond with wood (I am afraid those strips of resin will just pop out) and how flexible vs. rigid resin is (I am afraid the long resin strips will crack as the wood responds/flexes due to transportation or temperature change). Will greatly appreciate any thoughts or ideas you guys might have.

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    1. The resin bonds really well with the wood - you'd have trouble removing it even if you wanted to, let alone by accident.

      As for flexibility, I'd say it's probably rigid enough to be a table but flexible enough to not shatter while moving or with heat. The cured resin is very similar to solid nylon. But don't quote me on that - run a few test pieces yourself.

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    2. Mat. Thank you very much for such a quick answer. That’s about all the info and especially encouragement I needed to try it out. Thanks a lot.

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  27. Hey Matt I'm trying this project out, and I was told polyurethane would probably work the same as resin. Well, the glow powder I ordered seems to just sink to the bottom and doesn't mix very well. I was wondering if you thought poly should work the same, and if I could get the name of the brand of pigment powder you used.

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    1. I think the pigment I used is this one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ultra-Glow-Dark-Fluorescent-UV-pigment-powder-20g-Use-Plastidip-/151155603503?pt=UK_Crafts_Other_Crafts_EH&var=&hash=item68d3395648

      Poly resin should work OK, you might need to let it go off a bit before mixing the pigment in, so it's a bit thicker. But I haven't got any experience of that, so I'm only going on what other people have told me.

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  28. Hi Matt. I've bought two lots of glow in the dark powder, one from Killabitz and one from Glonation. I keep having a problem where the glow in the dark powder in the pigment is sinking to the bottom as the resin drys so I'm left with the bottom looking rather yellow under normal light but glowing brilliantly at night whereas the top is a nice blue during the day but doesn't really glow at all. May I ask if you went through any particular process when mixing the powder and the resin together, or did you leave it for a while before you applied it? Many thanks Mat.

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    1. Hi Richard, I haven't had this problem but some other people have - reports are that if you let the resin cure a bit before mixing, so it's a bit thicker and goopier, that sorts the problem out. I can't confirm that myself, but more than one person has told me it works. Best of luck!

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  29. Thanks Mat, sorry for another question but do you know how long they left it? Not to worry though I shall experiment with it anyway. Thanks ever so much for getting back to me.

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    1. Not a clue, sorry. Curing rates are very dependent on things like temperature, humidity and so on.

      Something you could do though is heat up the resin (gently!) which will make it (a) cure faster and (b) make it runnier. So if it's slightly gloopy when warm and you then pour it into a cold bit of wood, it will cool down (and thus thicken) quite quickly.

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  30. Wow, this is an awesome project, i love it... any idea on the amount of pigment used to ratio of resin??? Thanks for sharing your amazing skills!!

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    1. I'll be honest with you, I have no idea. I just eyeballed it. It's easy enough to do.

      There's maybe 10g of pigment in 100ml of resin?

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  31. Where did you get the wood? or rather what did you ask for?
    I stopped at 3 lumber yards today and I couldn't find anything as rough (natural maybe?) and I can't seem to have any luck online. Right now I'm thinking I'll just have to carve something into a wood piece and then put resin in that, but even if that was done well I doubt it'd have the same result.

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    1. Hi Alex, I didn't ask for anything - the wood was just leaning up against the wall in the woodstore. But then I do frequent a specialist woodyard, he often has pieces like this in addition to sawn/planed timber. A standard lumber supplier probably won't carry anything like this.

      eBay might be worth a look? There's occasionally people near me selling off bits and pieces they've had in their shed or whatever.

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    2. Alright thanks Mat!
      I just put in my order for a few boards for my own project, I'm using black walnut and green pigment. Should I still use linseed oil for the finish?
      I'll be sure to post a link to my project, once I finish it that is.

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    3. The finish is up to you, depends entirely on your preferences. Some people like oils or waxes, some prefer poly varnishes or even old school things like shellac. I think oils look nice with woods like chestnut or walnut, but it's entirely up to you. In my experience walnut is very "thirsty" and will take a lot of whatever finish you use on it - but it will look great when it's done.

      Best of luck with your project! :)

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    4. Did you use epoxy or resin?
      I can't find any hardener at the stores near me, so I can't seem to use resin. Epoxy looks like the results are about the same.

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    5. I've used epoxy before and it's main problem is that it's too thick to allow bubbles to move out of the mixture before it cures. I always end up with visible bubbles when using epoxy.

      You can get casting resin online pretty easily.

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  32. Matt, thanks for the post on this . . . I read and used the info on the powder to resin mix 4-5 per 150 ml, and the powder seemed to drift to the bottom of the container, and turned out more clear then blue, then I read on another post you said 10 grams per 150ml. I am going to finish it in a few days with the 10 grams, just wondering if I am missing something other than slow mixing, warming/sitting, prior to pouring it in the cracks of our table to avoid all the powder on the bottom of the pour-container? Sorry for the long-winded post.

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    1. I guessed the amounts when asked because when I was doing it, I just did it by eye. Kept pouring in pigment until it looked right. I'd suggest doing the same, especially if you don't have the exact same brand of pigment or resin as me (and as I'm fairly sure the pigment I have isn't sold any more, you probably don't)

      Pigment settling out during curing is not a problem I've had, so I don't really know how to fix it. Sorry about that. You could try letting the resin cure a bit so it's thicker before pouring, but I can't make any promises that will work.

      Sorry I can't be more helpful.

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  33. No problem, I sent you that mesage only an hour or two after pouring it, but now it is fading to a deeper blue after 4-5 hours later, so I think it is handling itself. Trial and error . . . Thanks for your time. --Mitch

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    1. Hey there! Would you be kind enough as to let us know if your results where succesful and where you got your pigment from please? Thank you!

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  34. Hey Matt, superb project, thank you for sharing! I'm thinking of applying your technique to an outside staircase. It was built in aluminum but the steps are flexing and some are already bent. So I'm thinking of removing them all to replace them with something inspired by your idea. I would create a rectangular mold, 32" x 3" x 12" and then poor the resin with the pigments and repeat for every step. Do you think that it's feasible?

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  35. My gut feeling is that the resin on it's own won't be anywhere near strong enough. But I could be wrong.

    Certainly worth doing a test piece to see how it goes.

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    1. Thank you for your reply. We've done an amazing floor here, everybody who sees it is flabbergasted: we used epoxy mixed with chrome and with a large squeegee we applied it. It creates a very interesting pattern. It can be applied over concrete or plywood, so I'm thinking of creating wooden boxes for the steps, adding the glow in the dark pigments to the epoxy and chrome mix and then coat the steps in the solution.

      I'm saying this because I just saw a video of the guys who manufacture your resin and they insist on not mixing large quantities otherwise it creates a chemical reaction, it heats and fails. So epoxy may be a better option in my case. But the glow in the dark pigment is genius, thank you again for your post!

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  36. I interested to this,and i have a question,is the resin and pigment are in one pack,or separated? Im waitin for the answe, thanks mat...

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    1. Two different packs. You can find links in the comments on how to find both.

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