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Author Topic: How would you finish this bench?  (Read 1053 times)

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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How would you finish this bench?
« on: August 25, 2017, 08:47:52 pm »
    Below are a few pictures of a cherry, 2" thick, live edge slab bench I made today. It is from a little over 15" to 21" wide and about 5' long. The top is wild cherry and I made the legs from a wild sweet cherry. I made quarter rounds for legs, cut the tenons on each and stripped the bark with a draw knife, installed the legs and cut off the excess tenon length with a Japanese pull saw.

   As you can see there is a hole in the middle. The tree was standing dead and when I cut it I found it was full of black ants with a lot of honeycomb tracks from them in the punk. I broke out some and wish now I had left more for the character it adds.

   I brushed out most of the Sevin dust I had put on to kill the ants. I have not done any planing or sanding yet.

   My big question is what to do about the hole in the middle? I thought about leaving it but the soft punk will continue to get broken out and destroy the remaining ant tracks. Also it could catch on soft fabrics when someone sat on it.

    I'm thinking of trying to fill the hole and ant tracks with some kind of epoxy. Is this feasible? If so any suggestions what kind to use and what to use initially for backing to hold it in place? I could easily screw a thin board or sheet of veneer on the bottom but I don;t know if I could remove it after the epoxy dried. I'd guess it could take a couple of gallons of fill by he time the liquid fills the ant tracks and such.

   Any suggestions and observations will be greatly appreciated. BTW - I have 5-6 more of these "holy" slabs/crotches to use on future projects like this.
 

 
This gives you a better idea of the size of the hole to be filled.
 

 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2017, 09:13:01 pm »
Use a good high-quality epoxy and you'll be set. You can fill those holes and ant tracks and it will look very cool. You may also want to place a bow tie (butterfly) near the ends to hold it tight and prevent checking.

You'll need to use a very taunt and high-quality tape on the bottom to keep the epoxy where it belongs. You'll also probably want to pour it in successive sessions since the reaction will make it very hot since so thick and it WILL create bubbles. You will need to be prepared to keep after the bubbles as it sets up with denatured alcohol and/or a torch.

Might also be cool to embed something(s) in the epoxy: a tool, special coins, cool stones, etc.

One you sand and finish it, you'l be AMAZED at how cool it is.
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2017, 09:16:57 pm »
p.s. I use West Systems epoxy. Works great!
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe

Offline Savannahdan

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2017, 09:28:55 pm »
You could add some colored sand or saw dust as filler and use the epoxy to keep it all together.  I've added coffee grounds and laser printer toner to voids before.  The laser toner I have is from a color printer so I have a few different colors. I generally use a fast set superglue with this to minimize the dust going all over and I wear breathing protection. Try some wax paper on the bottom side or just plain wrapping paper.  You can sand away what sticks to the epoxy.
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Offline Kbeitz

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2017, 09:30:38 pm »
I put wax paper between the board that I screw fast.
Then I pour just a small amount of epoxy in the hole.
Epoxy will find the smallest hole and come out. After
you know you got all the holes sealed then go for it.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2017, 09:43:40 pm »
   Thanks guys - keep the ideas coming.

Walnut - I have never installed a bowtie but will ask a friend who makes cabinets and such.

SDan - that is a great idea. I like the colored sand idea. I guess I could put .5" -1" of epoxy then add the sand. Now the hard decision is what color(s) to use.

Kbeitz - I like the was paper under the backstop idea. That is simple to do and should work great.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Briankinley2004

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2017, 10:52:34 pm »
Following. I have a few slabs I sawed out of a squirrel den and interested in doing similar

Offline Solomon

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2017, 03:29:01 am »
I put wax paper between the board that I screw fast.
Then I pour just a small amount of epoxy in the hole.
Epoxy will find the smallest hole and come out. After
you know you got all the holes sealed then go for it.

  I concure with Kbeitz whole heartedly, I did a butcher block bar top,
and I'm very glad I put a couple of layers of brown paper on  the floor before
pouring the flood coat.    I had several places that leaked through after
I was certian I had the seal coat right.
  Check out  uscomposites.com   they are the people that make epoxy in this
hemisphere, I'm pretty sure everyone else buys it from them and puts their own label on it.
  I buy their Kleer-Kote  table top resin  16 gal at a time
  ( 8 gal resin 8 gal hardener)   last purchase I made worked ou to
$35.00 per gal.    I have seen it elsewhere for  $80.00 per quart with a different label.    Very cool bench you built there.   
   Thanks for sharing the pics with us.
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2017, 08:13:53 am »
All great ideas. I've used the wax-paper one too. Again, do it in successive fillings and the thicker it is, the hotter it will get during reaction-curing, and the more bubbles it will create.

Also, the epoxy seems to find it's way to/out of the smallest of spaces. I trick I use is sealing edges with good quality (metal) duct tape.
The good news is that once cured, it sands very nicely.

Installing butterflies is easy and zen. Cut the material, any shape really, and then chisel/route carefully leaving it a bit more shallow than your insert, so that you can flush cut and sand. See the pic I attached of a recent big (40") wide white oak slab table I made for myself. You can see the setup...be SURE to note the liquid inspiration in the background!   ;D

Take some pix of your adventures.


I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
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Offline Savannahdan

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2017, 08:31:44 am »
What's that glass of Makers Mark on ice for? :D
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Offline Downstream

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2017, 08:56:52 am »
Here is another thought.  You will use a ton of epoxy to fill the entire hole so how about cutting a plug from ether the same material or contrasting like a bow tie.  cut it in the same general shape as the opening you want to fill but between .5 and 1.0 inches smaller all around.  the plug would be the same thickness as the slab. use tape or another material to close bottom and them drop in plug evening the gap around the edge.  Then fill in the gap with epoxy.  You would use alot less epoxy ($) vs filling entire hole.  You may have to put a weight on top of plug to keep it from floating.

I also use West system epoxy as another person stated.
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Offline samandothers

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2017, 09:35:57 am »
Why is there ice? ;D

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2017, 10:41:14 am »
   Okay, well I rushed in and started ahead on the process figuring I will need to put a thin layer as a plug no matter what I decide to use for fill. Options I considered included:

1. Leave clear and fill just with polyurethane to show the ant tracks
2. Colored sand to make the plug stand out
3. Sawdust added to poly - I have some more cherry to cut for legs and can easily save the sawdust by bagging my chute.
4. My son left a bunch of old melted tire weights - I figured I could remelt and fill with the lead like my HS buddy used to do by pouring it into fire ant beds which got rid of the ants and left some neat figures when cooled (Note to self - this will make the finished product very heavy, will make sanding difficult and likely not healthy to breathe. Besides it might set the whole thing on fire as that punky wood would not take much to burn and I don't know the initial ignition temperature. Probably better just scrap this idea)

 

 

 

 
Bottom view of both ends - pretty cheesy looking if you ask me.
 

 
Covered the bottom with wax paper
 

 
Covered wax paper with panel pieces and screwed to bottom of the bench.
 

 
Leveled the bench in upright position
 

 
Stirred and added a quart of polyurethane I had on hand - leaked like a sieve. Hopefully enough dried to seal the worst of the holes and the next batch will stay better. Adding that sawdust is becoming a more attractive option all the time.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2017, 11:58:42 am »
Are you planning to fill the whole thing with poly (poly mixed with sand or ?) or just sealing it with the poly for filling with epoxy?
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2017, 12:07:53 pm »
ljohnsaw,

   Ooops. Guess I will drop back and punt. I was thinking of poly and epoxy as same but guess not. We will see how hard the poly hardens and if it will make a plug I can use to fill with Epoxy. Another lesson learned - costly but not nearly as bad or as painful as some others.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2017, 12:28:58 pm »
Sanding sealer works good for fixing leaking cracks.
Collector and builder of many things.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2017, 01:04:46 pm »
   I am here to tell you that Polyurethane doesn't. Nothing left of the whole quart can but a shiny piece of wax paper and a puddle on the ground.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Savannahdan

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2017, 01:38:37 pm »
Not sure where my thought process got off on this but I should have suggested that you try glueing some craft paper to the underside of the slab with thinned regular Elmers glue, not the waterproof one.  I used this technique on a similar project and it allowed me to remove the paper and glue using some moisture and sanding when things were dried.  This would help reduce or eliminate the epoxy from seeping/running out the bottom.  Also, superglue can be your friend by using it on the bottom level of sand/filler.  Just a thought.
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Offline 21incher

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2017, 09:43:04 pm »
I think you should mix some dried ants and termites in the epoxy http://www.marxpantry.com/Edible-Black-Ants   ;D
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2017, 10:16:08 pm »
21,

   That would be cool. I don't think I will pay these prices since I have plenty available here. I will keep this in mind.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2017, 06:30:40 am »
It's never good when you have a leaky crack. :D
Urethane doesn't have NEARLY enough solids to take on a void that size. Many have gone before you...epoxy is your answer.

Love the idea of embedding ants in it--sticking with your theme and would make awesome conversation.
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
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Offline low_48

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2017, 08:55:13 pm »
It's going to take forever for that poly to dry, and will likely shrink or crack after that. You need epoxy or clear casting resin to do that job.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2017, 09:25:58 pm »
48,

   Not to worry. The polyurethane all ran out so that is a moot point. I'll be trying again with epoxy next time when I finish a mobile sawing job I'm starting tomorrow that may last up to a week.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2017, 07:48:14 am »
polyurethane will do the job. You just can't do it all at once.
I'm working on some porous bows. I'm now on my 10th coating.
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2017, 07:24:56 pm »
It will take 10 years to fill that much with poly.
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How would you finish this bench?
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2017, 09:38:20 pm »
   Even longer since I have not touched it in the past week due to a mobile sawing job, Honey-do projects (Mowing and weedeating) and an all day trip to the Hillsville Va Flea Market with my son and middle granddaughter today. I did pick up a set of dado blades for $5 and a 2-/2" scraper and a dozen or so blades. Also the lady doing the knife sharpener demo sharpened the straight and serrated blades on my Leatherman. Oh yeah, I picked up 23 aluminum, 3 section plates for future fish fries - no more drooping paper plates for me. My son had a good day selling one gun and trading another for some other military knives and equipment he is confident he can turn a bigger profit from.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"