Epoxy Shou Sugi Ban Finish- DIY Projects- Amazing Woodworking [VIDEO]
Hey, this is Cam with Blacktail Studio, and, this week, we're going to be making some cool 3D charcoal coasters out of what was some old cedar fence boards and outlined on this woodworking blog.You don't have to use just cedar. I like using a soft wood because it burns so much easier, but if you have some oak pallets, whatever you have laying around, as long as it's around four inches by four inches square, you'll be fine.
After you get your pieces burnt and they are pretty flat on both sides, I think it's a good idea to let them cool off overnight. I didn't really want to soak them with water, but you can do that just to be extra safe. The epoxy we're using here is a liquid glass epoxy, and it's a slow setting, kind of a traditional river table type of epoxy, and the reason I'm doing this is I need to seal it up. If I was just to pour the final epoxy we're going to use on this, you'd get tons of bubbles. It would just look like an absolute mess. This is going to really soak down into that char, seal it up, and then we can put our final coat on it, which will give it that nice, liquid glass appearance at the end.
Since this type of epoxy is designed to be used in two and three-inch thick single pores, it's not meant to be used as a thin coating like this. You do need to let it cure for probably a good 72 hours, maybe even longer, before you move on to the next step, which is going to be using this Better Boat tabletop epoxy. I'd never used this proxy before. They offered to send me some, and I told them that I couldn't promise them anything, but if they wanted to, they're welcome to.
I didn't actually think I'd use it until I came up with this idea for this project. I decided to give it a go here, and it ended up working really, really well. I don't think you have to use this Better Boat brand specifically, but the key is you're going to want to use a good tabletop epoxy. I do recommend this one. It worked really well, and it was a crystal clear finish, but if you use a regular marine finish, it's not going to self level like a tabletop one will. Definitely get yourself a good tabletop epoxy if you want to try this.
On the Better Boat instructions, it said that popping the bubbles was optional. I will go ahead and say that is not optional. The finish will be horrible, if you don't pop those bubbles. I know it doesn't look good right here. We're going to make it look better. All you got to do, scuff it up. I'm using 320 grit just to take off those little peaks because little charcoal peaks are sticking up above, and that's what ended up making the finish not look very good. If you've never done this before, those scratches will just disappear like magic, so don't worry about those. We're going to brush it in, and as soon as we pop those bubbles again, all the scratches are going to disappear, and that's going to be that really nice glossy, perfect finish. If you weren't sure if I was telling the truth about the scratches disappearing, here you go. They disappeared just like magic.
I did come up with a better idea after doing these on my work bench and getting some little hairs that kind of settled into them. I'll show you that here just a second. Pretty much everybody has an old plastic tub sitting around. I take some wood blocks, wrapped them in that Tyvek tape because the epoxy won't stick to it, and now I have a perfect dust-free environment for pouring these. I wish I would have thought of this first, but this is what I came up with. The key is if you can be disciplined enough not to open it for about 24 to 48 hours because you want to check on it, but every time you check on you're going to introduce some dust or hairs, but that's how nice of a finish we get when we actually leave it alone for that 24, 48 hours.
The epoxy will be dry to the touch in about 12 to 20 hours. I recommend waiting the full week before moving on. After about a week is when it will be its maximum hardness. I went a little bit soon, and you'll see a smudge here at the end that happened from me being a little bit impatient, but covering them with the painter's tape protects that face. The [inaudible 00:03:27] worked really well on the bandsaw, and I didn't even have to do any sanding. It was that smooth and that flat, so worked out really well for me. I do recommend waiting that full week cure time, make sure that epoxy is maximum hardness before you move on to this step though.
Not everybody's going to have a bandsaw this nice and smooth that can cut a coaster that's just ready to use right off the bandsaw. The next best thing I would recommend would be rigging up a router sled, and I don't think it would be too hard. It would take a little bit more time, but it's definitely something you could do with just a router and some two by fours.
The last thing we need to do before we put these into use is we need to seal that underside since it's bare wood now. If I left it unsealed, that coaster would cup and warp and twist. We're using shellac just because it's the easiest thing to use. I'm just going to wipe a little bit on there. That way, the underside is going to be sealed for use, keeping this coaster flat hopefully forever.
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I mentioned earlier starting to cut on one of these in the bandsaw before it was fully cured and it got kind of a smudge. There it is, which isn't too bad of a casualty, all things considered, but, overall, pretty cool project.
I would like to know what other projects I can do because I have a table project coming up, and this should be out few weeks, maybe a month, but it's going to be pretty neat. Let me know in the comments any ideas for other projects I can do with this 3D wood charring.
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