Clario Slab Finishing and Stuff

Some where out here we did some pictures of a walnut slab, we were doing for a client in NY, and I had explained that I had coated it in the 2 part pour on epoxy, I did this to encapsulate the slab , to eliminate as much as possible any expansion and contraction, basically seal it off totally from the environment, the problem with this is that the epoxy being a super high gloss, it looks like plastic, and no one likes that.

      The issue with looking like plastic is sheen more than thickness, here are some photos I took as I was finishing it up,  I sanded the epoxy with some 180 grit to be sure it was flat and level,  yep 180 , then I used a 320 sanding pad to go over the edges and ensure it was all smooth and sanded, epoxy dries hard , and all but impenetrable , so I wanted to be sure I had a good scratch to afford a good mechanical bond,  then just to further ensure my bond with the water base finish  I will be top coating with, I sprayed it with a quick coat of 1 lb shellac… just to be sure.  when it was dry I gave it a quick scuff sand with  a 320 grit sanding sponge, and applied a satin topcoat ( General Finishes High Performance), now it has a nice satin sheen and looks like wood , not plastic, again its the sheen.

      The satin sheen over the high gloss diffuses the light, and gives it that soft , natural wood look, it looks great, hopefully today the acrylic will be here and we will  install it to make a simple clear base, , we want the wood to be the total focus… and it sure will be

      Again this is a technique I have used often on big natural slabs , some quite large indeed http://antiquesbuiltdaily.com/Website%20Photos/August24/Desks/partnersdesk1large.jpg  while not the normal finishing schedule, it sure does preserve these big slabs, which are prone to splitting and checking, over time, rarely are they really dry , usually a higher moisture content than conventional lumber , so locking it in and stabilizing it is a good thing to do, certainly not cheap , but oh so effective, I am not sure how many exactly I have done , guessing 30 or 40, and never an issue,.

    Big slabs usually also have some checking and defects as well, the epoxy will seep into the checks and defects and solidify and fill them, while not changing the appearance, it will fill a large knot hole , I have actually  plugged the knot from the bottom  ( big one), and added some small vine and other  natural wood debris and filled it, it looked like a petrified piece of  resin with the  added in’s in it, pretty cool , and made to last,,, just thought I would pass along some of my “outside the box” means of dealing with something a bit different…

    Well the slab is done,( except for the acrylic) blanket chest is done, so as soon as the acrylic is done, all the NY stuff is ready to go, but we still have some projects to get done, for pick up on our return, still alot to do, got one show filmed yesterday, it was simply picking the cherry and getting it glued together, the whole show, so many of you have ask me to go over this in detail, you got it, I also am putting together a router bit thing for those you want to do the desk and secretary top, we are going to do the bonnet top, (fully closed) with flame finials and carved rosette’s as well as I am going to do a flat top crown, for a less formal look, so you have the options, the bonnett top will be basically just a smaller version of the Bombe http://antiquesbuiltdaily.com/Website%20Photos/Bedroom%20Furniture/mahbombe1large.jpg … with a few variations,  but not much,

     Years ago we had Whiteside make us a custom-made bit , actually 2 for making the goose neck molding, we paid about 600.00 for the bit, because we had to pay all the design and set up expense, but it sure made making these a whole lot faster and easier, so we are going to be sending an email out telling you about the bit, it will not be cheap, thinking in the 100 to 150 range, Yea I know, it will depend on the number of ones we have made, remember we have the set up fee no matter, but the more its spread over the cheaper they become, and yes I know its a seldom used bit, for the hobby guy, so no issue, just want to make it available to those who may want it, it also makes for super nice dished , and very elegant picture frames  here is a picture of the actual goose neck http://antiquesbuiltdaily.com/Website%20Photos/August25/bedroom/bed7large.jpg… again, not trying to sell ya anything, just trying to make it available,  the reason we are doing it now is it will take approx 5 to 6 weeks for the bits to be made, so if you have an interest  watch for the email…

      Well  I guess I best get to work and get these projects done, Hope to get back to the table today.. looks like we will ..

Later Y’all


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16 Responses to Clario Slab Finishing and Stuff

  1. Hmmm, epoxy…30 or 40 of em? Have seen epoxy ..auto body type, used to repair sills and posts, then painted. My guess is ya gotta spray it? I have seen you take down gloss finishes with sandpaper in the past. I might be a little ..no a lot nervous..to attempt this on such a beautiful slab of wood. You da masta!

    Tom Tiefffenbacher/AKA DocSavage45

  2. Doc, I actually used a cheap natural hair brush to brush the epoxy , wouldnt want to put it my spray gun, it flows out well, a foam brush also works , if you need to thin the epoxy use some acetone,I thinned it a bit,about 5 % and it leveled out nice, had a couple of deep checks, I put tape on the bottom so it wouldn’t run thru , did well…. dont be scared or nervous, its just wood :)

  3. Ben says:

    Too many years ago, I made a coffee table out of a piece of laminated truck bed that I covered with epoxy. Two things I didn’t like were the high gloss and, therefore, the way it showed every little scratch. I finally gave it away. If only I’d known then what I’ve learned now!

  4. Jay Highland says:

    Nicely done. I had no idea what to do with epoxy’s plastic look, so wrote it off as an option, thanks for the great how-to.

  5. Bob Kloes says:

    sign me up for the router bit set
    bob

  6. another question? don’t have a nifty big sanding machine. do have a 4 inch beefy portable belt sander that is used for flooring. Would it be too agressive in this situation

  7. yep Doc it will work, the big slab desk was 8 ft long and 54 at the wide point, we did it all with a belt sander, did use a hand plane to level it first .. it was a lot of work, but beautiful when done, the picture doesn’t do it justice

  8. Bob Miller says:

    Very cool Charles, Thanks for showing us the slab! I may have to rethink finishing the one I’m working on!

    Bob

  9. I’ve seen that slab in earlier photos I still can’t get over how beautiful it is. The poor-on finish approach is like much of your other techniques, it solves multiple problems all at once . Once again fantastic work.

  10. Monte West says:

    How about showing us what the router Bits look like? The picture got me lost.

  11. Randy says:

    I would love to see how you kept the epoxy on the edges and your technique of applying it onto the slab and kept air bubbles out of it..I have seen the epoxy but it wasn’t done very well with air bubbles and and blemishes in it..so I shy’d away from using it..

  12. Randy says:

    and yes..put me down for the routerbits too..

  13. Jason says:

    How did you deal with the uneven edges of the wood and the epoxy flow over them? For me this has always been the hardest part of the pour. The ability to get a nice level coating on the edges…especially the 90 degree ones.

    Secondly, the drips. Did you come by and knock these off after a few hours or leave them be and then just sand them down?

    Did you pour the epoxy on the bottom first…then the top to better deal with the drip issue?

    Nice work. I would like to replicate your technique and do this on a smaller scale for an end table or so. I just have to find a good piece of wood first. Not much here in Orlando except pine and oak.

  14. don romans says:

    That is nice! Working 6/12’s, not much time for computers… :)

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