Layered epoxy inlay #1: The idea and the start

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Blog entry by JoeyG posted 12-31-2011 06:44 AM 3810 reads 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Layered epoxy inlay series Part 2: first two colors in »

Here I go again. I have had a idea for a while. It began with my first wood inlay. I wanted to do more. I wanted more colors, more this, more that. So I searched for idea’s and found people who did inlays on gourds. So I looked and read, and said, “Hey, I can do that in wood.” After doing a few of these I still wanted more. More color, etc.. So for Christmas I get this fancy new Dremel with all the attachments, and I say to myself “Now I can do more.” I have wanted to do epoxy in layers but all my carving of the inlay has been with a chip carving knife and a chisel. I didn’t have much luck in trying to carve into the epoxy in this manner. So with new dremel in hand and no idea of exactly how to do it, I am going to do it. And just to make it challenging I am going to do it in front of all of you. Wish me luck. If I can pull it off, it will open up all kinds of applications for me.

With all that out of the way, here we go.

First you need an idea. I set down with pencil and paper and came up with this. At first I colored it green but decided it looked like a evil mutant ninja turtle, so I decided to make it blue. I used color pencils to get an idea of what color epoxies I wanted to use.

Next I took tracing paper and made two copies of my picture. Have you tried to find carbon paper lately. It seems that it’s not easy to find anymore. I doubt my kids even know what it is. Anyway, the first copy is of the first two colors. I will be doing the blue for the main parts of the head and the red of the mouth. If you look at the drawing you will see that the teeth go over lips and the blue of the face so they will have to come last.

This next pic is the next step. The teeth will have to be removed and added at a third step. I will have to see how the carving goes. I may have to add more steps. I have never done this before so I will be figuring it out as I go.

In the next pic, you will see that I took painters tape and covered the wood, I then took spray on contact adhesive(made for drywall corner bead) LOL it’s all I had. and attached the tracing paper to the tape. I didn’t want to try and get the glue off of the wood.

So I had this great idea that I could just carve this out with the dremel. Well that didn’t work so well. The tape and paper would bunch up and I could tell what I had cut and what I had not been cut. So I went back with an X-acto knife and cut out my outline.

So then I go back in with the dremel

After carefully cutting my outline, I go back and remove all the extra material and came up with this. I know the picture isn’t the best, I was in a rush. I will get a better one tomorrow before I put in the epoxy. I will also get a picture of my dremel set up for anyone who is interested.

I left the pupil of the eye in wood. I thought it would look pretty cool. I haven’t decided if I will leave anymore wood in the interior of my little imp or not. I will just play it by ear as I move forward.

If anyone has any ideas, suggestion, words of wisdom, please share. I will need them. LOL. I debated with myself about waiting until I had this finished before I did the blog, just so I didn’t make a fool of myself. I finally decided to do the blog as I do the inlay. If I blow it, somebody out there will have an idea on how to do it better, or if I am really lucky someone will have that idea before I screw it up.

I want to thank everyone who joins me on this journey. I hope we all learn a lot.

-- JoeyG ~~~

15 comments so far

View Rob_n_Wood's profile


109 posts in 4426 days

#1 posted 12-31-2011 07:12 AM

Joey I have seen your work before and have greatly admired it
It will be great Fun to watch the process and I’m sure pick up
New Ideas But I am afraid that it will mean that I’m on the hunt
for a new tool

Again thanks for sharing


-- "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson

View adaughhetee's profile


104 posts in 3760 days

#2 posted 12-31-2011 07:19 AM

I like your idea. I look forward to seeing your progress and results.

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4011 days

#3 posted 12-31-2011 07:27 AM

That’s cool Joey.

I will be riding along.

I got black carbon paper pack at office max. If I remember well, it was about $15.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3703 days

#4 posted 12-31-2011 02:59 PM

Hi Ian, I figured they would carry it if anybody did. I may have to make a run this morning. My little glue down trick worked for the first layer, but I don’t think it’s going to work on the next layers.

@Rob and a daughhetee, thanks for joining the journey. It will be a learning experience for us all.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View vonhagen's profile


549 posts in 3442 days

#5 posted 12-31-2011 03:54 PM

think of how the japanese have done laqures inlayed into each other. you can get silver and gold dust as well and mix it in. i will folow this project to see how you do this as i am thinking this way as well

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3703 days

#6 posted 12-31-2011 04:15 PM

Welcome aboard vonhagen. Do you have an example of the lacquers? I will have to google it. I can use all the idea’s I can get.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View Sanman's profile


78 posts in 3434 days

#7 posted 12-31-2011 05:05 PM

Cool idea, I need a new dremel, i’ve worn two out already. Still have the broken one on my workbench. The motor spins, but the chuck will not, probably a plastic gear broken inside. I’ve thought about using the painter tape method for lettering, just haven’t gotten a-round-tuit yet.

-- I'll get it done when I get a-round-tuit.

View kiefer's profile


5836 posts in 3744 days

#8 posted 12-31-2011 06:29 PM

JOEY I am watching with interest .
I would like to thank you for all the time you spend on these great blogs and really appreciate your efforts.



-- Kiefer

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3703 days

#9 posted 01-01-2012 12:10 AM

Thanks sanman and Kiefer. I enjoy doing the blogs and I am glad you guys like them. It looks like the next episode will be in a few days. I was going to do the first layers of epoxy today, but I’ve been helping my wife make mochi for our kids.

Happy New Years to you all. See ya next year.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View 3Gwoodguy's profile


164 posts in 3769 days

#10 posted 01-01-2012 05:50 PM

Joey, You are off to a good start. Have you decided how you are going to get the colors you want? I am starting to rule out acrylic paint. It seems that dry coloring ingredients seem to work better. The acrylic paint needs to be mixed at the right amount with the epoxy or it softens it and will cause the epoxy to sometimes shrink back after it dries completely. The glitters that I used, especially for dark colors have been, by far, the best results for me.

Im trackin this with you. It looks good. Carbon paper is also called transfer paper and can be found also at hobby and craft stores in my area. It can be reused a few times. Great job on the blog! I may try one sometime. I learn so much from these things.

-- "The beatings will continue until moral improves" -- Bart Ridings, Illinois

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3703 days

#11 posted 01-01-2012 06:40 PM

Happy New Year Bart. I haven’t had any problems with the acrylic paints, but I would like to use something that is more concentrated because this issues of the epoxy setting correctly has always been a nail biter for me. I always worry that I will start to sand it off and get a big gooey mess. So far I have been lucky, but I know I can only push luck so far. My local hobby store (scrapbooking store) has concentrated inks that are for stamps. There is a wide variety of colors and they are cheap, so if they don’t work I will not be out much. They are also alcohol based so they are not as “thick” as the paints are. I’ll let you know how my test run, and you might see them used on this one if I like them. I also have some inlace dyes that I plan to use on this one as well. If all goes as planned (I don’t have one) LOL, we will all learn a little about what will work and what will not work. If you would like I can add my test of different products to the blog as well. It is a learning process for us all and if anyone is interested I would be happy to take a few pictures and explain what I am using and why. The why is usually easy, IT’S CHEAP. LOL

-- JoeyG ~~~

View 3Gwoodguy's profile


164 posts in 3769 days

#12 posted 01-01-2012 09:53 PM

I’d be interested in seeing your color tests if your willing. Happy New Year!

-- "The beatings will continue until moral improves" -- Bart Ridings, Illinois

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12324 posts in 4506 days

#13 posted 01-02-2012 01:22 AM

Hi Joey,
I’ve been inlaying with epoxy and stone (powdered or chunked) for a few years. I use System 3 or West Systems epoxy. Some times, a casting resin and, for really small cavities, super glue. Some times I color it with artist’s acrylic paint. There’s never been a problem with shrinkage. BUT, all of my pours have been in natural voids found in mesquite or small monogram letters. You are pouring a much larger area than I do. I’ve never used a powdered color. I’ll be interested in your experiences.
Could you post the brand of that ink you spoke of? That might be better than using the fairly thick paint I’ve been using.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3703 days

#14 posted 01-03-2012 09:38 PM

I will be happy to post an episode about my test colors. I have picked up some plan glitter and so alcohol based color call re-inker by printworks. It is made to put on ink pads for stamps. I am not sure if they will work but we will find out together. I hope to do the test in the next day or so and will post pictures of the products, how I mix them, and how I fill the voids. Then I’ll sand em off and we will see what happens. I always have the paints if they don’t work. And there are tons of colors out there to try. I think my next stop may be art chalks or oil pastels. I here they both work well.

See ya next time

-- JoeyG ~~~

View Karson's profile


35273 posts in 5478 days

#15 posted 01-04-2012 12:03 AM

This is an interesting idea. I’ve done one or two inlays. But I need to learn more.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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