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Thread: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

  1. #1
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    Default Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Stumbling through another dining room table assignment for a family member. I am using 5/4 Black Walnut. I try to select boards with character which means small knots, holes, etc.


    I have some left over West Marine epoxy and was planning to use it to surface fill small defects. The question I need help with: what should I use for dark pigment that will work with the West epoxy?


    Any thoughts or suggestions welcome.


    Attached are some pics of my Black Walnut purchase today. I am always easily entertained by shopping for wood. I love to go through the whole stack of wood to get the best piece.

    IMG_1075.jpg

    IMG_1087.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Make some fine sanding dust from your walnut and mix it with the epoxy to make a filler paste?

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    I have a live edge coffee table I made, and used painter's tint to colour epoxy filled knot holes. I was given them by a mate who is a house painter who uses them for colouring putty etc. They are of a universal type, meaning that they can colour oil or water paints. (Interesting Chemistry).
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Guys who did my cherry floors filled 4 knotholes with clear epoxy & I'm impressed. You can see all the interesting details of the knot - but it's easy to clean.

    My 2 cents: particularly in a table with "character" boards, I think that'd work better than a pigment that doesn't look completely natural. Even sawdust from another board probably won't match exactly.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Thanks for the replies.

    Cathouse, I was thinking of using sawdust from the project. I have done this with Titebond glue before, but it always looks lighter that surrounding wood.

    Most of the knots I want to touch up are black. Stiletto, I will look into the painter's tint. I assume this is an artist supply.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    I've filled many knots and defects using nothing more than clear epoxy. My choice is the five minute kind because it's quick and doesn't need to be either strong nor waterproof. I would recommend that you try some of whatever you choose on some scrap before you use it on your table top. You can create a defect if the scrap doesn't have any. Try the clear, you just might prefer it. Otherwise, tinting is easily done using Mixol which is a universal colorant. Art supply places will have it as will speciality paint shops. I have a kit of 13 various colors and find them immensely useful. http://homesteadfinishingproducts.co...rsal-pigments/

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question


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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Thereís a lot of stuff around about using epoxy to fill defects but you could be making life difficult for yourself. Colour matching in one hit is very difficult.

    French polishers tend to use one (or more) of three different fillers: shellac sticks melted in, wax or store-bought wood filler. The wax and shellac are selected to be a close-ish match. The wood filler is not. The colour matching is then done with the stain and coloured shellac (French polish) built up over the filler. The filler does not have to be a colour match all the way through - just on the surface.
    I recently polished a small box. Letís pick up at a point thatís relevant to you. With the old polish stripped off I sanded with a bit of worn out 400, carefully removed the dust and filler the scrathes and dents. For the smaller holes I just used a coloured wax stick. For the bigger ones I used some word filler. At this point it looked terrible. I scraped and sanded back and then built up some shellac with a pad. This gave me a base to paint, with a small brush, spirit stains mixed up with powders to get a very close match.
    When Iím at my computer Iíll see if I have any photos.
    the result is never satisfying up close. You can always see what youíve done. But if itís done well others wonít notice. The darker the wood the easier it is.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Be aware that the colour in black walnut fades after a couple of years,especially in sunlight.
    What you think of as "black" walnut isn't really,when you compare it to a black pigment.
    I have used sander dust in epoxy as filler.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Quote Originally Posted by cathouse willy View Post
    Make some fine sanding dust from your walnut and mix it with the epoxy to make a filler paste?
    That might dry darker than the walnut. Do some tests on an offcut with variety of hard wood sanding dusts to find a cured colour that you like under the polish.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    You could make tiny little dutchmen.

    Seriously, when I worked in a retail establishment that sold expensive grandfather's clocks, we received one from the manufacturer that had been damaged a bit in transit. One forward corner of the decorative foot moulding was crunched and splintered. The owner of the shop knew a guy, who came and spent an hour or two and fixed it so well you couldn't tell at all. I didn't get to watch him work; I was at work, too. But he un-exploded it; painstakingly reassembled all the tiny slivers and glued it all back together so it looked like it came straight from the factory floor. I saw the damage, and when I saw the repair, I suspected at first that he had somehow swapped out the whole piece of moulding. I examined it up close and knew what to look for, and I still couldn't tell it had been broken.

    I have 'carved' and shaped a chip off the shop floor, of the same wood, to fill a bad tear-out or some other wee problem. I once fixed the dog-chewed arm of an old oaken banker's chair that way, matching a scrap with very similar grain. It was the chair that was old and oaken; not the banker.
    I don't care to know what the tough do when the going gets tough. I am interested in what the enlightened do;

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Guys who did my cherry floors filled 4 knotholes with clear epoxy & I'm impressed. You can see all the interesting details of the knot - but it's easy to clean.

    My 2 cents: particularly in a table with "character" boards, I think that'd work better than a pigment that doesn't look completely natural. Even sawdust from another board probably won't match exactly.
    + 1

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Clear epoxy would work fine... and has a certain look. It will show off the 'rustic' nature of the stock.

    If using a tinted filler of some sort on wood - the general rule is: err on the side of 'darker'. If a bit of putty reads as lighter than the surrounding wood, it tends to shine out like a beacon, and draw your eye to the 'defect'. If it reads as darker... it tends to look like simply a bit of character in the wood. And even if the patch is obviously a patch, it doesn't draw the eye the way a lighter splash will.

    I keep a kit of maybe 10 Universal Tinting Colors - which have been mentioned - for coloring epoxy. For black walnut - I'd start with a touch of burnt umber, but also add just a touch of black, and a touch of some purple.

    For a show surface of figured wood, it's quite difficult to match grain, unless you've got an offcut from the same area of the same board. So a dutchman tends to read as an obvious patch. So much so, that some folks choose to accentuate the 'patch' aspect as a design element - rather than attempt to make the patch disappear. (see Nakamura, and many others).
    David G
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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    I like the idea of a dutchman. Make it of maple. There a great router kits that make it a simple project. I also like the clear epoxy fix.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    X3 on the clear epoxy, especially if you're looking for character. Just make sure you're minimizing the ability for moisture in the rest of the surface so the epoxy doesn't break loose as the wood swells/shrinks. I did a redwood table for my daughter with live edges, butterflies to stop some splits and filled the cracks with epoxy. Three years in there are no dimensional changes and it still looks great. 3 coats of epoxy, 6-8 coats of Interlux "Schooner". I figured she could use it on the patio, but she won't take it outside.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    +1 on the Dutchman

    /Mats
    Yes the avatar depicts me; yes I drew the comic boat pic, it's a joke on the pop song I'm not a robot by Marina and the diamonds

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Hershey’s powdered cocoa.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Hershey’s powdered cocoa.
    Oh c'mon, Bruce. If you're going to use cocoa powder, insist on Dutch process. Droste is a good one.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    The Hershey crap glows in the dark.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    I use shellac stick in small repairs, but not large repairs. For larger voids, I use west epoxy and a thickener. Iíll use sanding dust, or wood charcoal that I ground up from a bonfire. The best result for black is Westís own graphite admix. Pretty cheap for a good supply. I have had bad luck using 5 minute epoxy and having it harden enough to sand well.

    I find that a Dutchman looks like a mistake that I tried to fix, where a contrasting filler looks intentional. with small repairs a v groove and some contrasting shellac can look like a natural feature of the wood and disappear.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Old hardener still works perfectly well and is very dark in and of itself.
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    I'm actually not entierly sure that I know what a Dutchman is. Is it always a bowtie shaped piece of wood or can it be of any shape? Is it called something else if it's not shaped like a bowtie?
    Anyways, a piece of wood matching the surrounding will not stand out.

    /Mats
    Yes the avatar depicts me; yes I drew the comic boat pic, it's a joke on the pop song I'm not a robot by Marina and the diamonds

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Be careful where you dispose of walnut dust & shavings. Contact, just standing on it not digesting, can give them. ( horses,) laminitis.
    basil

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsart View Post
    I'm actually not entierly sure that I know what a Dutchman is. Is it always a bowtie shaped piece of wood or can it be of any shape? Is it called something else if it's not shaped like a bowtie?
    Anyways, a piece of wood matching the surrounding will not stand out.

    /Mats
    A really good Dutchman would be a random shape to mimic and blend into the existing grain, a bad Dutchman is one of those football shaped things in plywood, a bow tie is something else.

    Tinted epoxy is is the way to go, non tinted has a tendency to yellow. West’s graphite is good, tempera paint power or those cool glow in the dark additives work, as would fabric dye powder, for a very unique look de-greased metal filings.
    The thing to watch out for is a filler being harder than the surrounding wood creating sanding issues.

    There is a video on YouTube by a Russian couple where they pour molten aluminium into the voids in a table slab, fun to watch questionable results.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    I am always reminded of Milo's suggestion to Girouard. Paul was making a bench, I forget the wood, maybe "Oregon" as you call it, but it had one defect that would show if not addressed. The solution was to inlay a decorative element with a contrasting wood, and, viola!, it is now a perfectly executed design element.

    Maybe a PM to Girouard and he could get you a photo if you do not wish to descend to the Bilge, I am not sure if he comes upstairs very often.
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Quote Originally Posted by SMARTINSEN View Post
    I am always reminded of Milo's suggestion to Girouard. Paul was making a bench, I forget the wood, maybe "Oregon" as you call it, but it had one defect that would show if not addressed. The solution was to inlay a decorative element with a contrasting wood, and, viola!, it is now a perfectly executed design element.

    Maybe a PM to Girouard and he could get you a photo if you do not wish to descend to the Bilge, I am not sure if he comes upstairs very often.
    A friend (whose skills are way beyond mine) made some counters for me - maple with cherry inlay along the edges. He did a few round inlays to fill knots & then added a fish below them that looked as if it were blowing "bubbles". People always noticed it & smiled.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Thanks again for all the suggestions above. I plan to try three methods at first on some scraps. Dye, wood dust and clear West epoxy. I had not thought about the clear option before, but several of you suggested that. I also forgot that I had some black graphite powder left over so I will try that for dye first.

    Inlay is another option that is intriguing but I need to learn the technique first...

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Butterlfly spines are very traditional, and have been used for centuries. I have done plenty of them the old way with a chisel but, a simple router set-up will make short work of it.
    (And the set-up will make any shape inlay you want, as deep as you want)
    This is the first video I found, I'm sure there are others


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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Clear epoxy will tend to look the same color, or perhaps a look bit darker, as the wood immediately adjacent to it. When refinishing an oak table top made from 18" wide boards 1 1/2" thick, I used a medium dark stain on the wood (which flowed into the cracks), and then before varnishing, filled a few old existing lengthwise cracks with clear epoxy. The cracks remain visible as character accents, and appear to be much the same color as the stain that had colored the open pores of the oak and the cracks. I did not try to close the cracks -- the epoxy was just a filler -- and the cracks have remained stable and the epoxy has remained in place, for some 40 years now (the table was 35 years old or more when I got it).

    On walnut, if you were to use clear epoxy, I think cracks or other filled defects would take on the color of the defect in the wood being filled, would not significantly contrast with the wood right around it, but would preserve the crack or knot or other defect and the character that the defect brings to the board.

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    Default Re: Not a boat project-walnut dining table question

    Quote Originally Posted by timber_cruiser View Post
    Thanks again for all the suggestions above. I plan to try three methods at first on some scraps. Dye, wood dust and clear West epoxy. I had not thought about the clear option before, but several of you suggested that. I also forgot that I had some black graphite powder left over so I will try that for dye first.

    Inlay is another option that is intriguing but I need to learn the technique first...

    You are wise to be doing some tests. Many don't and then they are shocked and dismayed that they followed a suggestion that does not give them what they hoped for. Perhaps you are already aware of it, but just in case...... your test isn't complete until you follow through with your complete finish schedule. Every step along the way will affect how these fills look in the end. Yes, the process is time consuming but not nearly so as stripping and redoing the whole shebang.

    Been there, done it all ways possible and am wiser now.

    Jeff

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