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Old 06-09-2010, 07:58 PM   #1
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wood slab for kitchen island


I purchased a large rough-cut slab of madrone (roughly 8' long and 3' to 4'+ wide) that I plan to use on top of a kitchen island. So far, I've been sanding (and sanding and sanding and...) and have nearly got it to the point where I'm ready to start the finishing. The environment is going to be pretty harsh wrt humidity variations, so I'm planning to coat it in epoxy on all sides. The epoxy would be West System 105 resin and 207 "special clear hardener". I might then varnish it---basically, I'm thinking I'd following the approach used on wooden boats, but without the fiberglass.

I'm just wondering if anybody has any thoughts on this approach. I've worked with West System epoxy on a couple of previous projects, so I have some idea of how to deal with that. In any case, comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:33 PM   #2
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my only comment is to remember that you need to coat it with a FOOD SAFE sealer. epoxy for boats probably doesn't fall into that category.

ok, i have one more comment. i LOVE your piece of wood! that's going to be awesome, please post a pic when its done.

Knucklez

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Old 06-09-2010, 09:59 PM   #3
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my only comment is to remember that you need to coat it with a FOOD SAFE sealer. epoxy for boats probably doesn't fall into that category.

ok, i have one more comment. i LOVE your piece of wood! that's going to be awesome, please post a pic when its done.

Knucklez
Hmm... Yes, that's a good point. I'll call West System tomorrow and see what they say.

I'll definitely post some pictures when it's done. It might take a while since I've got a few other things going on.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:02 PM   #4
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Run it by the boys at this forum.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/
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Old 06-11-2010, 02:48 AM   #5
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I'd be pretty certain that most epoxy products would be "food safe" once they cured.
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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Beautiful piece of wood and a Great project. As stated I would love to see pics when your done with it.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:12 AM   #7
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I wanna see a picture of this when it is finished. Gorgeous piece of wood.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:45 PM   #8
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Jeremy:

Having consumed many barrels of epoxy in the past - let me just say that you will need a two part finish to stick to the epoxy. A two part linear polyurethane for example.

I'm not aware of any one part finish that will adhere well.

Varnish might look OK for awhile, but it will peel off the epoxy eventually, especially in the environment you speak of.

The epoxy will stick with the wood, but what eventually happens, is that the wood surface immediately below the finish will suffer from UV degradation. You should be able to find a UV inhibitor which you can mix with the epoxy (it's a white powder - sorry I cannot recall the name) which will extend the life of the wood surface by reducing the effects of the UV. It will not eliminate it entirely.

The other two wood treatments used in boat maintenance are marine spar varnish and cetol.

Both require several coats on the first application, and a re-coat every year thereafter. Varnish starts best with 7 coats, and I believe cetol requires at least 3. Check with the manufacturer on that one (it's on the can).

Both have built-in UV inhibitors.

The amount of sunlight your wood receives will have the biggest effect on its' longevity.

Spectacular piece of wood!!!
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:33 PM   #9
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Jeremy:

Having consumed many barrels of epoxy in the past - let me just say that you will need a two part finish to stick to the epoxy. A two part linear polyurethane for example.

I'm not aware of any one part finish that will adhere well.

Varnish might look OK for awhile, but it will peel off the epoxy eventually, especially in the environment you speak of.

The epoxy will stick with the wood, but what eventually happens, is that the wood surface immediately below the finish will suffer from UV degradation. You should be able to find a UV inhibitor which you can mix with the epoxy (it's a white powder - sorry I cannot recall the name) which will extend the life of the wood surface by reducing the effects of the UV. It will not eliminate it entirely.

The other two wood treatments used in boat maintenance are marine spar varnish and cetol.

Both require several coats on the first application, and a re-coat every year thereafter. Varnish starts best with 7 coats, and I believe cetol requires at least 3. Check with the manufacturer on that one (it's on the can).

Both have built-in UV inhibitors.

The amount of sunlight your wood receives will have the biggest effect on its' longevity.

Spectacular piece of wood!!!
Thanks for the comments.

How about if I just use several coats of epoxy with nothing over that? I've seen a lot of bar tops that seem to be coated with a thick epoxy and they appear to hold up well.

Btw, this should get very little direct sunlight. We live under some big redwood trees and very little light filters down to the house. The kitchen island is near a couple of windows, but they are blocked by a giant boulder and a big tree trunk.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:06 PM   #10
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Jeremy: about ten seconds after I hit submit, I realized I should have suggested that you use epoxy only as another option.

Here's a suggestion for that. Coat the back side of that gorgeous piece of madrone - which up here we call arbutus - with perhaps three or four coats of epoxy. Then attack the front with one or two coats.

Now you need to get the board dead level for the last step.

Using tape to make a dam around the outside of the board, mix up your epoxy and pour a layer on the wood about 1/8"+ thick. This is the layer you will want to add the UV inhibitor to.

Incidentally, check with the supplier of whatever epoxy you end up using and ask about the "blush". If it has it, it washes off with soap and water. If you let the epoxy cure between coats, make sure you take the blush off each time.

It will be one killer board when you're done.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:52 PM   #11
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Jeremy: about ten seconds after I hit submit, I realized I should have suggested that you use epoxy only as another option.

Here's a suggestion for that. Coat the back side of that gorgeous piece of madrone - which up here we call arbutus - with perhaps three or four coats of epoxy. Then attack the front with one or two coats.

Now you need to get the board dead level for the last step.

Using tape to make a dam around the outside of the board, mix up your epoxy and pour a layer on the wood about 1/8"+ thick. This is the layer you will want to add the UV inhibitor to.

Incidentally, check with the supplier of whatever epoxy you end up using and ask about the "blush". If it has it, it washes off with soap and water. If you let the epoxy cure between coats, make sure you take the blush off each time.

It will be one killer board when you're done.
I'm not sure it's going to be level enough to pour a layer like that, so I might have to build it up as a whole bunch of brushed on coats. Also, the epoxy I'm using does have the amine blush that you mention. However, the blush is supposed to be easy to clean off with water, and that only happens if you let it dry more-or-less completely. With the hardener I'm using, I should be able to get at least 3 coats in 1 day without it drying completely in between.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:53 PM   #12
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Run it by the boys at this forum.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/
I posted something in that forum, under "finishing", and got 0 responses. There seems to be way more interest in this topic here than there. Go figure.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:00 AM   #13
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OK, most of the epoxies blush it seems.

If you can do the coating in a warm area, it should dry reasonably quickly. But be aware that a thin coating takes much longer to kick off than a batch in a can.

If you experience the wood off-gassing shortly after you have applied a coat, this will have been caused by miniscule air bubbles trying to escape from the board.

The cure for this is to fan the epoxy quickly with a heat gun or hair dryer. The bubbles will disappear almost instantly.

And yes, the blush removes with no trouble. It has a sort of soapy feel to it so you know when it's there. Get it off as quickly as you can, early is better than later.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:42 AM   #14
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Not to change the subject but... I've sanded both sides and either side would work for the top-side. However, one side is a little better natural fit, while the other side is a little more blemish-free and is a bit less wavy. Anyways, I'm just wondering if any of you have any opinion as to which side would look better as the up side. I've attached pictures of both sides here for easy reference. Note that the variation in tone is an illusion---the lighting was different at the times the photos were taken, so hopefully you can look past that.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:28 AM   #15
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I prefer the look of the less blemished side, but the differences in the photos may be contributing to that.

What is the stuff they use to finish butcher block? Is there a reason you are wanting a more "substantial" finish on this piece? I'm not questioning your ideas, I'm just curious.

What ever way you go I think this is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen.

Mind if I ask how much that piece cost you?

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