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Good inlay material

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Raif Harik, May 19, 2020.

  1. Raif Harik

    Raif Harik

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    Hi, I work with a lot of mesquite, and well, seems like everything I have has some worm or ant holes in it. So I"m looking for a good material to use to fill said holes. I have tried crushed mother of pearl, and it looks like white plastic so pointless. I have some aluminum powder, but the ca glue has a very difficult time penetrating it. So once it dries and I turn it clean I then have voids in my voids! Further if you mix it up with epoxy it just doesn't look shiny like metal. So I'm over it.
    I know a lot of folks like turquoise, but I think I must have been traumatized by turquoise as a child or something, but I just don't want to use it.
    Ultimately I'd like something that I can pack and then put CA glue on and it will penetrate. It's faster and easier and cheaper and I'm lazy.
    And yes I know sawdust works great. But I'd like something to provide contrast. But perhaps I'll save up different colors of sawdust, like white sapwood, red mesquite, brown pecan etc. That might work too.
    Thanks for thoughts,
    Raif
     
  2. Dave Mueller

    Dave Mueller

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    Raif,
    Try using ground pony beads. They come in over 100 different colors, so you can make any look you want (turquoise, granite or solid colors) They can easily be ground with a $20 coffee grinder and inlayed with CA just like any other material. The good news is that they can be turned with a regular bowl or spindle gouge and sanded with normal sandpaper. As with other inlay materials, do it in maximum 1/8" layers or the CA at the bottom will not cure well and will come out in chunks when turning. See my instructions at http://www.aggieturner.com/preparing and using ground pony beads.pdf.
     
  3. Raif Harik

    Raif Harik

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    Thanks Dave, I'll read that post!
     
  4. William J Smith

    William J Smith

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    Several people I know have changed from CA glue to epoxy. I agree that epoxy is less convenient And messier to use, but many folks have found that CA glue Is not considered to be a long-term adhesive and will degrade over — inlay material may become loose. The first time I heard about this was from Richard Raffin who says he only uses CA glue as a temporary fixative, like using it to hold a piece on a glue block.
     
  5. Richard Shelby

    Richard Shelby

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    Gerald Lawrence likes this.
  6. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Re: epoxy. Years ago, I repaired and built some golf clubs for me and my son. A fellow golfer told me about Two Ton Epoxy by Devcon. If it will hold the club head on a shaft, it will take just about anything. I still use it for custom fishing rods.
    Dave, where do you get pony beads? That's a new one for me.
     
  7. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    I have adapted a fill method based on Steven Hatchers undercutting method.
    The large voids are first filled with epoxy putty (the kind that comes in stick form) then when the epoxy is set turn it down to the wood surface and undercut about 1/6" deep. The void to be inlayed needs to be positioned as horizontal as possible, then the powered what ever applied as level as possible and thin CA dripped on. The bowls pictured are West Texas mesquite burl with turquoise inlay over epoxy putty fill.

    B5185_88.JPG
     
  8. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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    I often use epoxy (the 30 to 60 minute cure stuff, usually) and dye it with something... like aniline dye or India ink or watercolor paints from the dollar store - depending on what color I'm after. I usually go India ink to make a crack "go away", or on something red-ish like mesquite maybe a bright blue or red for contrast.

    Problem with liquid 2-part epoxy is keeping it in the void on a round piece. Gotta make dams to keep it where you want it. Even then I often end up with several applications to get it in all the cracks (which means you have to remember the proportions to match the color).

    Also, this makes a solid fill, there's no "chunks of stuff" in it. I've done turquoise, but that traumatized me as an adult turner. The sanding and grinding is difficult because it turns out wood sands away much easier than the rocks. Who knew?
     
  9. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    Fine glitter and thin CA in small voids works for me...cheap, easy and fast.
    2020_ThrowTop_01a.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  10. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    Files on the outside convex surface work well because you can be selective of the area to be worked, however concave surfaces on the inside of bowls are more of a challenge. The 2" Abranet disks do work fairly well and it helps if the wood is a dense hardwood.
     
  11. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    I must have tried a poorer quality glitter because the color was only on the surface and when leveling it cut through the color and left a bland colorless surface nothing like that on your throw top.
     
  12. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    buy assorted school chalk colors....shave it and make it fine grained with ur pocket knife
     
  13. Robert D Evans

    Robert D Evans

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    I've used powdered brass and thin CA glue to fill minor voids and cracks. I have heard of people using the cuttings from a key cutting machine at the local hardware store. The stuff I bought was about $5.00 off Amazon and is very fine powder.
     
  14. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    Coffee grounds work awesome!
     
    Lamar Wright likes this.
  15. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    I tried the cuttings from turning brass on the metal lathe but it was kind of disappointing as far as color and clarity.
     
  16. Dave Bunge

    Dave Bunge

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    I agree. Cut open a used K-cup for lots of fine grounds.
     
  17. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Decaf or regular?
    Many interesting ideas to solve a common problem.
     
  18. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Inlace. It's a great product and easy to use.
     
  19. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    I have used a variety of materials. You will get the best results with epoxy and a finely ground material or dye for bug holes and large voids. Brass and aluminum will work if they are finally ground. Key shavings are too coarse as are drill shavings. Pearl-Ex powder (mica) works very well and a lot of color choices. I have used Transtint dyes also. For filling tight cracks I use some walnut sanding dust and CA regardless of the parent wood. It just looks better with the contrast than filling with the parent wood dust. I prefer the fine walnut dust over coffee grounds.
     
  20. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    I've always had good luck using ultra-fine glitter. It's has the consistency of baby powder. Just don't breath on it:
    [​IMG]
     
  21. David Shombert

    David Shombert

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    I've used Inlace a time or three. There's a choice of colors, some of which I like better than others. It's very easy to overdo it, but it can make a nice accent if used sparingly . It also stinks to high heaven, you'll want to have a window open when you use it.
     
  22. William J Smith

    William J Smith

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    I learned early-on to sand turquoise with diamond sanding pads and blocks. I've got a 60-grit sanding pad that I use on concave surfaces and diamond sanding blocks on convex surfaces. The diamond media cut the turquoise and other mineral materials, but they don't sand away the wood. After using 60-grit or 80-grit to get the surface even, and then I sand the whole piece lightly with regular 220 and 320 sand paper. That usually shines up the mineral surface. I finish with a coat of spray lacquer or Watco Tung Oil varnish.
    Let me know if the picture I attached doesn't make it.

    Bill
     

    Attached Files:

    John Dillon likes this.
  23. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I apply pewa or butterfly patches on most of my cracks. On bigger ones, I might add some epoxy with a colored dye around the pewa.
     
  24. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    This maple bowl uses a technique called "outlay" where the inlay material is exposed on three sides (versus one). The fill is crushed turquoise Inlace, bonded with 60 minute epoxy...not the smelly Inlace resin. Looks like the real thing, but is a heck of a lot easier to work with than actual stone.
    [​IMG]
     
  25. Lars Hansen

    Lars Hansen

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    Ed, would you mind commenting on the "outlay" technique?
    Do you use a mould or maybe tape when building the edge?
     
  26. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    Larry Fox (Foxy Woodz), here in Colorado, made a how-to DVD on the outlay process about 12-15 years ago. Don't know if he still sells the video. Click here for contact info. Also check with your local AAW chapter to see if they have Larry's DVD in their lending library.

    It's really a pretty simple idea:
    - Turn dry wood into a rough bowl shape, with about 1/2" wall thickness
    - Then cut a grove (inlay) into the lip of the bowl, at the same angle as the bowl's shape, about 1/8" to 1/4" wide and equally deep
    - Remove the bowl from the lathe and fill the grove with your epoxy and crusted stone, Inlace, glitter (whatever) mix, making a "inlay"
    - After the fill is completely setup, remount the bowl on your lathe and finish the turning, making the wall thickness equal to, or less than, the width of the filled grove, thus exposing the outside edges, and turning the inlay into a "outlay"
    - If you are concerned that the wood may move a little during the curing process, making the rough-turned bowl out-of-round, make the inlay grove a little wider so you'll have more material to remove during the finish outlay cuts/sanding
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  27. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    I have used various colors of Corian material to top the rim on bowls and platters which can provide a similar effect if you use the designer series Corian.
    Just sand the surface of the Corian to rough the surface and use CA or epoxy or E6000 adhesive to join the two materials, let it set up and turn.
    You can usually get granite and marble colored drops from cabinet shops, eBay and Craigslist at a reasonable price.
     
  28. Lars Hansen

    Lars Hansen

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    @ Ed: Thanks very much for the tutorial.
    As for the nearest AAW chapter, I live about 3.300 miles east of West Quoddy Head so I'll have to make do without the video.
     

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