Woodworker's Palette Tutorial
Through the images that follow I will walk you through the simple process of turning a flaw into a beautiful creative work of art.
2-Part Epoxy Directions
The first step in the process is to determine based on the shape of the flaw, what could be used. As a possible example; a long crack would be a good shape for a steam of water, a vine, a snake, a lizard or gecko, a knot hole could become a turtle, lady bug, spider, or could become part of the lizard shapes depending on the size of the hole.
Step two is creating artwork that fits the flaw. This for many will be the part that stops them. The "I'm not an artist" rears its head. For this project you don't need to be a Rembrant. You will need a #2 pencil, tracing paper and wax paper. Your local library has tons of reference material you could trace and use. The internet for many is easier than the library. Pick your subject; geckos, reptiles, flowers, etc. Try 'flower photos', 'flower illustrations', 'flower drawings', etc. You will find hundreds of possibles sites. Pick one. When you find an image that will work use Print Screen and Print In Color if you want a reference or Greyscale to conserve ink.
Once you have several images facing in many directions you can enlarge or reduce the images with a copier for variety of sizes. Take a sheet of tracing paper, lay it on the top of your image and trace away. A paper clip or tape will hold the images in alighnment. When you have finished tracing, flip the drawing over and paper clip it to a piece of was paper about the same size at the tracing paper. Retrace the images so you now have a #2 pencil on both sizes of your tracing paper and have in essence made both sides like carbon paper. When you lay the image on the wood to trace over the void you will be able to use either side.
I have found the blue painters masking tape helpful with holding the tracing paper in place with no residue on the wood. Line up your tracing with the void, hold or tape in place, trace an area, check that a fine pencil mark is being transferred to the wood. When complete, check your image and fill in any lines that may be too light.
If you're happy with your drawing, get your powered carving tool and start removing the wood inside the image you drew. In most cases, 1/8 inch in depth is sufficient. Try to undercut the edges to create a shallow lip for added stability and strength. The bottom of the image does not need to be completely smooth. In this case, the unevenness in depth will add gripping power.
If you are pleased with the shape, let's get ready to mix the 2-part epoxy ~
Take a piece of wax paper and wrap it around a board ~ 1" x 4" 12 works. 2 rubber bands will hold it in place. Please use whatever works for you; a plastic bag also works well.
If you have not worked with epoxy try the 30-minute set time just to get used to mixing and working with Woodworker's Palette.
Draw a circle on the waxed paper (a Sharpie works) about 1/3 the size of the image area to be filled. Fill the circle with one part of the epoxy parts (it doesn't matter which part but only use one) the add enough dust to make a stiff, thick paste. Stir and mix as you add the dust a little at a time.
Slide mix out of circle after it is thoroughly mixed and add the second part of the epoxy to the circle and mix it with the first part. When both parts are thoroughly mixed, take the table I've shown you how to make or use the yellow auto body filller cards and force the Woodworker's Palette into the voids. Try to leave the material a little above the surrounding surface so it can be sanded or planed smooth.
If you want to add more colors, simply take the power carver and create voids in the set epoxy and then add the additional colors as before.
*Note About Set Time ~ I like to wait 12-24 hours before I sand or cut in the new colors. "Set Time" means it will harden in 5 hours, however I feel it needs cure time as well. Experiment of a practice piece for exact workability times.
If working on a turned piece that has not been turned to finished final cut you will find the epoxy cuts very much like wood using a good sharp tool. Then go ahead and power sand on the lathe as usual, going through your normal range of grits. Finish as usual ~ lacquered or poly.
If working with unfinished flat stock, the piece can be sent through the planer or drum sander taking very light cuts. Hard sanding will of course work equally well, it just takes a little more time.
Woodworkers Palette & CA Glue
CA Glue may be used instead of 2-part epoxy. There are a few differences in application ~
Prepare the crack the same way you would using the epoxy. Draw on the image and carve it out. The carving should be about 1/8" deep.
Take a Q-Tip or a piece of paper towel, dip it in a clear lacquer and outline your carved drawing - the lacquer will prevent the CA from migrating and creating a glue line that stains the wood.
After the lacquer dries, fill the carved area with Woodworker's Palette. Using the Nail Tool I showed you how to make, pack the Woodworker's Palette into the crevaces so the material is a little below the edges of the carving.
Using the CA apply 4 to 6 drops at a time. If you apply more than that at one time, the glue will get hot and fizz up creating a hard white substance that's a pain to sand. Take your time and let then thin CA soak all the way through. When you have covered the whole area and it's smooth with no fizz, add medium or thick to the center of the carving and let it self level and this will fill any remaining voids. Because you filled the void and left it below the outer edge when the thick dries, you will have very little to sand and most of that will be pure CA. Finish and sand as usual, going through all the grits.