Live Edge filled walnut with epoxy - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-31-2018, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Live Edge filled walnut with epoxy

Hi all---

I've been doing a lot of reading, but do have a specific inquiry for those with experience, as I am quite green. I filled my walnut live edge slab with West System epoxy. I dropped the ball and the epoxy simply wasn't dark enough. I really wanted to avoid having a semi transparent filled crack. My question is, what finish is recommended to go over the epoxy (oil based? water based?...etc?), and will the finish darken the surface of the epoxy so that it is at least a little bit darker and less transparent. Is there anything I can do here? Thanks so much for the correspondence, everyone!
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-31-2018, 02:28 PM
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Epoxies in general don't take finishes really well...other than their own kind, such as epoxy paints.

They are a real nightmare in general to "re-finish" once used, like most plastic finishes are (aka polys.)

They don't typically play well at all with traditional oil finishes...or other traditional finishes in general...

Solution to your current challenge...Router out a small depth of the epoxy you have used and then reapply to the desire level of opacity.

Good Luck,

j
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-31-2018, 04:24 PM
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Epoxies actually make great stable bases for coating over. Just make sure to tooth it up before coating it.

If you didn't use the special hardener with the west system, be sure to remove the amine blush before coating over it.

As for toning, add some powdered dye to your finish and apply the finish to the area you want to change the color of. No need to start over although mixing the right color does take some skill.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-31-2018, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_L View Post
...Epoxies actually make great stable bases for coating over. Just make sure to tooth it up before coating it...
J_L...I'm afraid others with less experience, like our OP, may be reading this as "epoxy finishers" can make a "great stable bases" for other finishes of any type...as long as you sand it a bit...?

Is that what your saying about epoxy finishes?

Regards,

j
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-01-2018, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay C. White Cloud View Post
J_L...I'm afraid others with less experience, like our OP, may be reading this as "epoxy finishers" can make a "great stable bases" for other finishes of any type...as long as you sand it a bit...?

Is that what your saying about epoxy finishes?

Regards,

j
Sounds like he's saying that epoxy, like the OP used to fill in the cracks, will take most film finishes just fine, you just have to scuff sand them first so the epoxy has something to adhere to. I agree with this advise, as I've done exactly that in the past. You can't just paint over the straight glossy epoxy, but hit it with some 220 to give the paint a rough surface to bind to and clean the surface and it'll stick just fine.

Paint was used as an example, it works equally well with any finish that builds a film, i.e urethane, shellac, lacquer. Doesn't work with oil finishes, since there's no way for the oil to absorb into the epoxy, but film finishes are A-okay

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post #6 of 12 Old 04-01-2018, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
...it works equally well with any finish that builds a film, i.e urethane, shellac, lacquer. Doesn't work with oil finishes, since there's no way for the oil to absorb into the epoxy, but film finishes are A-okay
I thought that is what he meant...

As far as I know (and this may be different with modern forms of them...Steve??...would most likely know about all this as finishes are his bailiwick...) but as far as I know, understand and have experienced tradtional lacquer, and shellacs can not be effectively or durably placed over any epoxy finishes...even if the surface is roughed up. It may appear they have good adhesion, but will both impact and age delaminate, especially if exposed to UV from an open window for any length of time...when placed over modern polymer finishes...

I would also offer, that though most of my current work is in traditional systems, I still dabble in my old work in animal husbandry. More to the point that of designing and developing enclosure systems such as aquarium and vivarium...A lot of modern adhesive and binder systems are used there. As such, epoxies could not be "cross mixed" or cross laminated in many applications, and even in the very popular West Systems, there is incongruity with different forms of it...Just an FYI...

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Last edited by 35015; 04-01-2018 at 01:12 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-02-2018, 06:22 PM
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Boat builders put varnish over epoxy all the time. One of the reasons they do it is to protect the epoxy from the uv rays of the sun. If it's not protected, the epoxy will go cloudy. Varnishes with UV inhibitors are best.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-02-2018, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Christianb View Post
Hi all---

I've been doing a lot of reading, but do have a specific inquiry for those with experience, as I am quite green. I filled my walnut live edge slab with West System epoxy. I dropped the ball and the epoxy simply wasn't dark enough. I really wanted to avoid having a semi transparent filled crack. My question is, what finish is recommended to go over the epoxy (oil based? water based?...etc?), and will the finish darken the surface of the epoxy so that it is at least a little bit darker and less transparent. Is there anything I can do here? Thanks so much for the correspondence, everyone!
It's not uncommon to use a marine grade spar varnish over epoxy. Since epoxy doesn't have UV protection the epoxy manufacturers recommending using a spar over the top for UV protection. The best spar is Epifanes.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-02-2018, 10:47 PM
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It's not uncommon to use a marine grade spar varnish over epoxy. Since epoxy doesn't have UV protection the epoxy manufacturers recommending using a spar over the top for UV protection. The best spar is Epifanes.
I was a bit taken back by..."...since epoxy doesn't have UV protection..."....???

I have never used an exterior epoxy of any type or from any manufacture that wasn't UV stabilized...

If an epoxy is employed on a project that was intended to be UV exposed...like on a ship or in a zoo setting it would have to have these inhibitors already in it. That is standard practice.... Just one of many examples would be West Systems 207 (since folks here seem to like referencing West Systems a lot...It's not even my 3rd choice for epoxies, but will work in a pinch...)

207 ....is what would go over a modern spar varnish..Modern "spar varnish" (a polymer or "plastic") which are not the same as traditional spar varnishes which after asking a few I trust on the subject would never an epoxy over or under these...as I suspected...if a tradtional version.

So, for clarity...no epoxy over traditional finishes...Modern is an entirely different matter...And...if doing top grade work, the epoxy should already be uv stabilized if working in concert with another finish like modern spar varnishes...
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-03-2018, 12:05 AM
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I don't like the idea of putting an epoxy finish over another finish, especially a spar. A spar varnish is made soft to allow for wood movement from being outdoors and to put a hard finish over a soft one is asking for trouble.

There are a few different epoxy finish now that claim to be UV protected but the UV protection doesn't measure up to having a traditional UV protected finish over the top. In any case the West System 207 was intended to be used with fiberglass cloth instead of being a clear coating for wood.
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-03-2018, 05:37 AM
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The epoxy, if used, should be a base layer for the finishes applied to the raw wood. It can be used as a sealer or mixed with a structural filler such as cab-o-sil and used as a glue for joinery. The 207 hardener you reference is the special hardener that you don't have to worry about cleaning up the amine blush before coating. Film coatings especially varnish go very well over epoxy so long as the epoxy is toothed up.

When using epoxy as a sealer coat, we'll typically use a penetrating epoxy. It soaks in deeper than traditional west system will with less build up on the surface.

Epoxies, while they may have some UV protection, are not meant to be left exposed to the elements. They need to be topcoated with some type of UV protection which is where varnish does well. Epiphanes as Steve mentioned is one of the top products as well as Awlspar and the rest of the Awlgrip product line.
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-05-2018, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
...I don't like the idea of putting an epoxy finish over another finish, especially a spar. A spar varnish is made soft to allow for wood movement from being outdoors and to put a hard finish over a soft one is asking for trouble...
I agree...

The consensus I receive (aka trad boat builders and woodworkers I know) ... and I have to agree with...is it's a bad practice when it happens...I'm not saying it doesn't nor that someone can't..."make it work." Its just not the best method nor good practice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by J_L View Post
The epoxy, if used, should be a base layer for the finishes applied to the raw wood.
Sorry...that simply is not factual...

I agree folks do it, and I agree that..."some"...finish manufactures (aka folks selling something) offer that it can be done. It is not good chemistry nor practice to do so....UNLESS, we are possibly speaking of a modern polymer (aka modern spar varnish) and an epoxy being "made to work" in a certain application. Again, most I know would not recommend it as a "go to" practice.

If you asked anyone I know that works with or manufactures traditional finishes...including spar varnishes, a plastic based wood sealer should never be applied to raw wood first, if at all, considering the other natural/traditional materials it has work in concert with.

If someone owns or has to restore a traditional wooden boat (or wants to) then there are countless blends and methods to "seal" raw wood that does not (nor should) evolve a modern polymer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J_L View Post
...Epoxies, while they may have some UV protection, are not meant to be left exposed to the elements...
???...Again that simply is not true. I've already explain why in this post thread...???

All someone has to do is read the literature and/or google "uv stabilized epoxy applications" and learn more about the topic...or...speak to a Polymere Chemist as I have over the years to get proprietary mixes for some the the vivarium I design and build.

They will tell you the advances with components like Hindered Amine Light Stabilizer...and...how the industry itself does battle and competes over this topic. Those that dismiss UV resistance don't manufacture it or not well...and those that manufacture it and use it make claims of success...The proof is in application and I have seen it last a darn long time, or at least as long as modern finishes can last under extreme UV conditions....

Which is, one of the reasons for woodworking I don't like modern finishes...they too only last so long and are a nightmare to refinish with compared to traditional modalities...


In closing, to be clear, epoxies can be used with modern spar varnishes...many of us don't recommend it...many do...
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