Mild Steel and Epoxy Resin - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Mild Steel and Epoxy Resin

I have some mild steel letters that I plan to embed in epoxy resin in a bar cart top. The letters have a bit of surface rust on them and I'd like to keep that. I've been told that I need to seal the letters before including them in my pour. First, can I keep the surface rust and seal? And, what is my best product for sealing? I've been considering shellac.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 01:31 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Linda! Add your location to your profile so it shows in the side panel.

If it were mine I would not use anything to seal the letters. I would just use the epoxy directly on the letters as they are now. How thick will your pour be on top of the letters?

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post #3 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 01:38 PM
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I agree with David, rust needs oxygen to thrive, embedding them in epoxy is sealing them, nothing else needed.

Iron oxide is formed when iron and oxygen react in the presence of water or moisture in the air. Iron oxide is very common, because iron reacts easily with oxygen in the air.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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My pour will only be 1/2". I've been told that bubbles will continue to form until the epoxy is cured. But at the same time I've been told to seal the letters with epoxy first. My pour will happen in two stages, each 1/4" deep. The letters themselves are 1/4" thick.


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post #5 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 01:44 PM
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Who told you to seal first? And what is their background/expertise?


I see no difference in sealing them first and letting the pour be the seal.


George
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone. I thought the same thing. Just seemed like I was doing the same thing twice. A torch will take care of bubbles.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 02:11 PM
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depending on the size of the letters, I would take extra steps
to ensure air was not trapped under them that could produce
irritating small bubbles until the epoxy starts to set.
looking forward to seeing your finished project.
.

.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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The resin manufacturer told me to and it was because of the concern about bubbles. I can clear them with a small torch.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 04:07 PM
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I can see how trapped bubbles could be a problem, but I don’t see how sealing the letters first will prevent that.

I could see that gluing the letters to the surface would help. It would also help the letters from floating up when you do your pour.
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda Foster View Post
I've been told that bubbles will continue to form until the epoxy is cured.
bubbles do not "form" in epoxy. they are introduced from stirring or
pouring too fast. the most common issue is bubbles coming out of the wood.

if this were my project, I would get a stiff chip brush and brush epoxy
all over the bottom and especially the sides of the cavity first - and let it cure.
this will "help" prevent any bubbles from coming out of the wood.
a porous wood such as oak, I would do two sealing coats on the wood.
so any bubbles that you do have will be from your pour and not the wood itself.
then, with the same epoxy, secure the letters in the position you want them,
and let that cure. this will prevent your letters from moving during the pour.
time consuming, yes. . . . . but, do you have the time and energy to do it again ?
you can do it - just take your time.

.

.

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 12-07-2019 at 06:05 PM.
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post #11 of 12 Old 12-07-2019, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
bubbles do not "form" in epoxy. they are introduced from stirring or
pouring too fast. the most common issue is bubbles coming out of the wood.

if this were my project, I would get a stiff chip brush and brush epoxy
all over the bottom and especially the sides of the cavity first - and let it cure.
this will "help" prevent any bubbles from coming out of the wood.
a porous wood such as oak, I would do two sealing coats on the wood.
so any bubbles that you do have will be from your pour and not the wood itself.
then, with the same epoxy, secure the letters in the position you want them,
and let that cure. this will prevent your letters from moving during the pour.
time consuming, yes. . . . . but, do you have the time and energy to do it again ?
you can do it - just take your time.

.

.
Good recommendation- I bet she doesn't want to do it twice, so it will help her.

Steven- Random Orbital Nailer
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post #12 of 12 Old 12-09-2019, 05:53 AM
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Beware of outgassing if using any kind of torch on wood thats just been coated!To be extra sure about the absence of bubbles,will you be vacuum de-gassing the epoxy mix?Its surprising how much froth rises to the surface if you do.I would be very cautious about applying the epoxy in two pours as there is a strong probability of an amine blush forming on the surface of any epoxy as it cures and it may both inhibit the bond to a subsequent pour and leave a visible secondary surface in the finished project.It might be a good thing to do a test pour first in a small jar to see if such a thing happens.It might also give you a chance to observe whether there is a great deal of exotherm from the cure process of the epoxy and to prepare you for the need to take steps to mitigate it should it be significant.If the surface rust of the letters is a feature you hope to preserve,it should happen naturally as you will be encapsulating the steel and nothing ought to penetrate the cured epoxy.
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