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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so I am going to post a WHOLE BUNCH of questions. This is my first time doing a project like this.

So first of all, my goal is a gift for the gf. 12"x10" (approximately) about 1 inch thick piece of wall decor. I wanted to have the live edges in the middle separated by about 4 1/4 inches of clear resin. In the resin would be an artificial sunflower I have, and at the bottom a small block with an inscription on it. Also wanted a maroon background to the resin (See question 3) (see pictures, pardon the terrible drawing)

*Here come the stupid questions*

1 bark or no bark? I like the look of bark, but I'm not sure if it can be left on and if so how to clean it up enough that the resin sticks.

2 I want the sunflower suspended in the resin, the resin will be about 1"-1 1/4" thick (The thickness of the wood the sunflower will be thinner) is this realistic? if so, how is the best way to do it?

3 I wanted a maroon back ground to the resin, I wasn't sure if pouring a thin layer of maroon resin as the back-most layer would be a good idea, or just painting the background maroon later on. Opinions for the best look?

4 I've seen these projects poured both ways, right side up and upside down. What is the best way to pour it?

5 What should I use to build my box around the wood for pouring the resin?

6 What kind of finish for the wood? Or for the whole piece? I'm not very well versed in stains/seals

7 I don't even know what else I need to ask yet, I have the wood, the flower, the resin, sandpaper for a 5" orbital from 60-2000 grit, and a dream. Any problems you guys see, or things I need to know, or all the stuff I haven't thought about yet.

Thanks in advance guys, -Josh
 

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Looks like a great project.

I'm not sure I can answer all the questions, but a couple things come to mind...first, I found that even though I thought I had the back sealed to keep the resin from leaking, it still did. It will find and even make cracks and leak through. (probably a good thing when it comes to the bark, which I would try to keep)

Second, I think I would try to tint the first pour of resin the color you want as the background. And if you pour in several thin pours, you should be able to get the flower to sit how you want without and other support.

Also, the over pour will get in the grain of the wood, so be sure to leave enough material to sand it out. I'd suggest getting the wood sanded pretty smooth before the pour. It will still soak in, but I was able to sand it out with little trouble.

Good luck and keep posting the pictures as you go.
 

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question: do you have ANY experience at all with pouring epoxy ???
if not - you really, really need to practice on small similar projects first.
especially in the bubble removal techniques.
what are you going to use as the dam to contain the epoxy to where you want it.
then, anything you put in the epoxy will float like a rubber duck in the tub
unless it is securely fastened with hidden pins, strings, wires, etc.
an airtight box with your shop-vac will provide enough vacuum to eliminate
"some" of the trapped air in hidden pockets around the flower and bark.
the wood and name block - can you afford to lose it if everything goes South ??
a vacuum chamber with a real vacuum pump would be your best bet.
there is a vinyl tape that has good reviews on playing good with epoxy.
Red Vinyl STUCCO TAPE - found at most Box Stores.

again - practice practice practice on something similar to gain
your confidence and knowledge.
looking forward to seeing your completed project.

.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
question: do you have ANY experience at all with pouring epoxy ???
if not - you really, really need to practice on small similar projects first.
especially in the bubble removal techniques.
what are you going to use as the dam to contain the epoxy to where you want it.
then, anything you put in the epoxy will float like a rubber duck in the tub
unless it is securely fastened with hidden pins, strings, wires, etc.
an airtight box with your shop-vac will provide enough vacuum to eliminate
"some" of the trapped air in hidden pockets around the flower and bark.
the wood and name block - can you afford to lose it if everything goes South ??
a vacuum chamber with a real vacuum pump would be your best bet.
there is a vinyl tape that has good reviews on playing good with epoxy.
Red Vinyl STUCCO TAPE - found at most Box Stores.

again - practice practice practice on something similar to gain
your confidence and knowledge.
looking forward to seeing your completed project.

.

.
Ok I have no experience. The way I saw in all the videos (I know, Youtube, but what are you gonna do.. lol) the person used a propane torch to pull all the bubbles out. Does that work? I do not have a vacuum chamber of any kind.

As far as practice, I only have a one gallon kit, how can I get a rough estimation of how much epoxy I need for the project so I can practice? I have small flowers I can do a mini project to practice with, just need to know how much epoxy I have/need.

I'm not sure how to dam it, some have said acrylic boxes with that tape on it. I've seen people do hot glue trails on to to control overflow. I assumed a acrylic box with the edges hot glued, and the wood clamped down into it would suffice? Looking for input on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
For tinting the first layer, I want maroon. Can I mix powdered pigments? And how thick a layer would I need to pour of color for a good affect?

If I keep the bark am I going to have problems with it holding bubbles?

Bead of hot glue below the wood before I clamp it down would probably make a good enough barrier for the back, don't you think?
 

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epoxy, by its very nature, is tenacious and wants to stick to EVERYTHING
it comes in contact with. and I do mean everything.
this is why you need to practice on some small objects before you go into
your final project.
experience is not free - and it definitely ain't CHEAP !! you must pay your dues.
the torch or blowing through a soda straw is to pop the bubbles that only rise to
the surface - not the ones that are sticking to the bark and flower inside the resin.
my first few (several) beginner projects were encapsulating items in a clear block.
they were horrible - but I learned as I went.
for starters, I would mix the small 5mg medicine cup with resin and put it on
different things to actually see what it sticks to - just so you will know.
as for building the cofferdam, the epoxy will stick to it - making your project
stuck to the dam and it can only be removed with the table saw. (do you have one?)
many good and BAD videos on youtube on how to encapsulate items in resin.
there is soooooo much involved when encapsulating items with rough surfaces
such as tree bark and flowers.
just make small (2"x2") pieces to practice with.
do you have a table saw ??

Edit: what will be on the outside edges of the top and bottom??
are you wanting to have only clear epoxy resin for the top and bottom?
or - build like a picture frame around the whole thing that will be permanent.
I would think that if you went to a pet store and bought some
maroon colored sand or gravel, it would add texture vs a smooth
colored background.
once you get a grip on the epoxy basics, we could help you in detail
with the final project.

.
 

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okay - to expand on your idea and to make sure we understand you,
this is a simple sketch of what I think you are wanting to do.
putting more thought into it the physical dynamics, this project could
curl one way or the other when the wood acclimates and changes but
the resin doesn't move - thus exerting unequal forces . . . . .
depending on how old the wood is, how it was dried and the moisture
content when you do the pour, could play big parts of the overall success.
so much to consider for a novice - but, can be done successfully.
thin (1/4") layers would probably give you less problems with bubbles, etc.
as you can see in my drawing, there is nothing to keep the bark from
separating or to keep the project from "curling" one way or the other
because it has no lateral support.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I have access to a table saw to trim the end supports off. What about the bottom support? Will the stucco tape peel off?

I am going to cut up some pieces and practice pouring, if that means I order another gallon kit of resin I will in order to see how pouring with the bark and the flower works

How do I go about getting bubble out of deeper resin? or would I want to pour many thin layers?

I was thinking about leaving the top and bottom just clear resin.

I like the sand/gravel idea, I may look at the store for that, that plus tinted resin would look awesome I think.

That drawing is EXACTLY what I have imagined

I could potentially add a top or bottom support, what are my other options for support?

SO you think 1/4 inch layers would give me the best result, What is the time on that? Pour, torch, 6 hrs, repeat?

I appreciate all this help, and patience. I think i wont be able to do a test till Monday, but I want to get on it and try it. I have a lot more wood pieces, same wood, so same bark, and small versions of the sunflowers, I can test all aspects of the project.
 

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I had an idea this morning. I could have a back support (like a piece of thin wood or hard acrylic) that would be part of my dam, and left on since Ill be doing the back in maroon acrylic (possibly with sand/stone). This would answer my question for the back support AND finding something that wont stick, since I wont need to peal it off. Thoughts??
 

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I still reiterate - to practice to see what you want to do.
everything can be explained here in words. but, unless
you actually pour resin in different projects, you will not
fully understand the properties.
just small items such a 2x2 inches will give you the understanding
and experience you will need. the more you do, the better you will
understand just exactly what you are doing.

.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I still reiterate - to practice to see what you want to do.
everything can be explained here in words. but, unless
you actually pour resin in different projects, you will not
fully understand the properties.
just small items such a 2x2 inches will give you the understanding
and experience you will need. the more you do, the better you will
understand just exactly what you are doing.

.

.
Wish I could figure out how to post a pic. I have taken your advice, and I have put together a smaller project that wont use too much resource so however it goes it will be a learning process for me. It is 3 triangular pieces of wood forming a triangle cavity in the middle (Think the Zelda logo) with the bark side facing in on all 3 sides with 3 smaller flowers in the middle. I came up with it because Ill get to do a lot of pouring on the bark and encase the flowers.

It is only about 6 cubic inches minus the 3 small flowers. I am going to attach them to a piece of similarly shaped acrylic for the back and 3 pieces on the sides at the seems, and pour in about 1/4 inch at a time.

I need to know bout how long between pours? I was planning on doing a maroon layer, then the first clear layer and letting that be the one that secured the flowers in and then a couple more pours and I should be about full and see how it goes. I just need to know approximate timing.
 

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after the pour, touch the resin in 30 minutes with your finger or a stick.
if it comes up like honey, wait more time.
when it is not liquid but still tacky, you can do the next pour.
resin will cure faster in a warm environment - slower in cold.
resin will cure faster in a large volume - slower in a thin volume
(due to exothermic heat reaction).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
after the pour, touch the resin in 30 minutes with your finger or a stick.
if it comes up like honey, wait more time.
when it is not liquid but still tacky, you can do the next pour.
resin will cure faster in a warm environment - slower in cold.
resin will cure faster in a large volume - slower in a thin volume
(due to exothermic heat reaction).
Unfortunately, in MD in November and open ventilated area = cold... I will update you when I do a test.
 

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also know that you can NOT save any mixed up resin "for later"
the product poured on the project and the leftover in the cup
will harden at about the same time. normally, the amount in the cup
gets hot and hardens faster.
never ever pour anything back into the original containers.
wipe off any excess resin on the mouth of the bottle prior to putting the cap back on.
do not mix up the caps either - mark with tape or whatever to keep them
oriented to the the correct bottle.
practice practice practice is the only way you will get a handle on this hobby.

.
 
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