Inlay Success (almost)

I think I finally finished my inlay journey.  See previous attempts herehere and here.   I made two different wooden projects with inlay, and aside from leaving out one important step, they turned out well.  The projects are my the “Cube Sweet Cube” signs that I have attempted to make over and over again, and a baseball bat trophy thing for my little cousin.  He is into tee ball, and has some game winning balls to display.

I milled out a deeper pocket (0.05″) and instead of filling it completely with paint, which didn’t go well, just tried to coat the inside surfaces with paint.  Thinning the acrylic with a little water helped it coat evenly.

The results were pretty good, the color was consistent, there wasn’t a voiding issue, and the surface planed clean really quickly and easily.  This was due to the very thin layer of paint on top.  The only thing that went wrong was a little bleeding into the grain.  It is worse on the red than the black.  The oak didn’t do this as bad as the pine did.  I was lazy and didn’t do any sealing, so I only have myself to blame.  No we know that is important!

5

 


Final Procedure

  1. Mill text pocket with either flat or round bottom mill to at least 0.05″ deep.
  2. Spray area with a sealer such as spray lacquer.  It is cheap and dries quickly.
  3. Mix desired acrylic paint color with a small bit of water to make it spread easily.
  4. Let dry overnight and either sand or plane off excess paint on top.

Trophy Bat

I used the shapeoko to mill out the somewhat complex area around the handle.  I could have cut this with drill bit and band saw, but this was quick and came out really well.  I don’t have enough travel to do the whole thing, so I finished the rest of it with my bandsaw.  A forstner bit made pockets for holding the balls, and a quick trip around the router made a nice round over.

 

Inlay Issues (Part 2)

Inlay is going to turn into a saga If this keeps up!  I had previously tried doing my own alternative to inlace’s resin infill material.  It was kind of a disaster.  The dye I added had a very adverse effect on the two part epoxy and resin.  A few weeks later I looked at the casting dye and noticed that it had completely separated.  There are no instructions on the bottle to mix before use, so it isn’t 100% my fault.  I remember last time that I had to add a lot of the stuff to color the resin, and It still wasn’t very opaque.  That could have been my issue all along.

I created another test structure and went to work.  I don’t need to revisit inlace, I know it is good.  For the acrylic paint, I tried to slop it on really thick so when it shrinks the pockets will still be filled.  The two part and polyester resin were done with a minimum amount of dye added.  This time they looked proper dark.  The results were unfortunately bad.  The polyester resin didn’t adhere well, and the two part epoxy had kind of a rubbery feel to it.

Well acrylic it is then!  I went a little deep with the sanding and buzzed off part of the R, but other than that It looks good.  Without further thought I ran off to make the “Cube Sweet Cube” sings I wanted to make weeks ago.  The results were not issue free.

The acrylic paint shrinks considerably when it dries.  The shrinkage is difficult to predict and often includes bubbles.  I was trying to go thin on the pocket milling so I didn’t have to use as much paint.  In trying to plane everything flat I shaved the paint right off in sections.  The neat byproduct of that is some really cool looking shavings.

DSC_0213I have one last test up my sleeve.  The acrylic paint coats well, but does not build up consistently.  I will try taking a rounded bit and make deep pockets.  These will get a good but thin coating of paint.  I can shave or sand plenty off the top with out worrying about going too deep.  Assuming the surface finish of the paint is ok, this should be a good solution.  More results to follow!