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Thread: Dying Epoxy Wood Fill Different Colors

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    New Jersey (Morris County)
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    Dying Epoxy Wood Fill Different Colors

    I often fill knot holes with epoxy dyed black or dark brown to look like sap or bark inclusions (either West Systems 105/205 or Starbond Black Medium CA glue work great). Lately, I have been using other colors to dye the epoxy for dramatic effect, such as cardinal red and blue. My results have been less than satisfactory. I have used Transtint (liquid and powder), and even milk paint. But the color is either very dark, or looks like weak ice tea. The color is especially dark with blind holes, which is most of what I am doing.

    I'm looking for a true red, without needing light transmission from behind, as if you took red artist's oil paint and filled the crack. (I tried that too but the stuff never dries and does not take well to being sanded.) Also, many of the cracks are shallow, so a thin layer of translucent material ends up being less saturated. (Like when you look through plate glass and it is clear, but from the sides it looks green.)

    Any suggestions? I have thought about the Smooth-on products, but they seem more like for stand-alone castings, rather than gap filling.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Houston
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    129
    I have only used transtint for epoxy in knot holes and in some cases have intentionally not mixed it thoroughly, so that it has some translucent and some dark areas.

    I did see a website for Keda Dyes that had a section called Color Epoxy posts, and it had one photo (with an explanation of the ratios used), that showed a bright blue and a bright red epoxy that were both bright and opaque. Haven't used it though.

    There were some other websites i saw with vivid reds for surfboards and the like, but it seemed like they produced a translucent effect, and its sounds like you want opaque.

    Maybe for the "blind holes" you could fill nearly to the top with clear and then try a darker solution to top it off.

    I would be interested in seeing photos of your results.

  3. #3
    I really like the Ecopoxy dyes and powder (resin as well). Haven't had much problem with them being opaque. Once sanded and polished up, they look great.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Kapolei Hawaii
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    I've put artist's oil (oil based not acrylic) in epoxy and it may be the effect you're looking for. Unsure what the paint does to the strength of the epoxy. If just filling it should be fine. Unsure if acrylic will blend with epoxy. Test it on something unimportant as usual. There are hundreds of epoxies and they may react different.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    49,038
    You could also try only partially fill, staying below the "rim" of the filled area by about an eighth or preferably less, carefully paint it the red you want and the fill the rest with clear resin.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    New Jersey (Morris County)
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    Thanks for the replies. I'll run some tests and post the results.

  7. #7
    West fiber fill added to the epoxy will make your collars vibrant and opaque.

  8. #8
    For opaque fill, you want a pigment, not a dye. . .or add something opaque and provide the color with dye. There are several things that can be added to epoxy to make it opaque; I keep pounds of wood flour on hand for use with epoxy, it can be used as a colorant or as a thickener, for when you want a fill to hold its shape (like making a fillet for strength or to fill a large void). From the smell, I'd guess the wood flour I get is red oak dust, and mixed in epoxy it shows as a yellow-tan color. I like the commercial wood flour because of its consistent particle size, and it's cheap ($14 for 5 lbs) but you can make your own if you wish. I don't know if a large amount of red dye would overcome the yellow/brown to show as fire engine red. Other epoxy fillers are white and might show a truer red when mixed with red dye. I deal primarily with Raka, who have excellent products and lower costs than most sources of West system products (www.raka.com).

    That said, the most direct way is red pigment. Google "red epoxy pigment" and you'll find all kinds of options.

    If you want more pizazz (sp?), you can use mica powder, which gives a "pearlescent" look with some depth to it.

    As a side note, ground coffee (unused) gives a color reminescent of bark or pitch pockets, but also adds a little texture to the fill so it looks less "plastic-y". Different degrees of grinding (coarse v fine) give different looks.

    Best,

    Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    San Diego, Ca
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    1,202
    I primarily turn wood and occasionally need/want to fill cracks and voids.

    For a natural colored fill, I mix fine-ground (used) coffee grounds and two part epoxy. Looks pretty natural on darker woods. I use wood flour on lighter woods but I'm not always totally happy as it doesn't blend in as well.

    For colored fill, I use a few drops of Testers Enamel (remember those little square bottles?) in the 2-part epoxy. Often I use a few drops of turquoise. It doesn't seem to affect the curing time or ultimate hardness. I sometimes also sprinkle in some fine turquoise glitter. Some of the glitter may settle a bit so it is a subtle but pleasant effect. Probably similar to using pearlescent powder as Dave mentioned.

    I think that transtint (and similar) need a white opaque filler to make it pop. Otherwise it is just a tint and when applied over wood will not be a bright color such as red. With enamel, it includes both a pigment and a neutral filler.

    I've also mixed epoxy with acrylic paints and didn't find any issues. But I usually use the little Testers enamel bottles.

    I suggest taking a board and make a bunch of parallel saw cuts on it and then fill the cuts with a variety of mixtures of epoxy and enamel and perhaps pearlescent filler or fine glitter. I've bought the glitter at various art/hobby stores as well as at some dollar stores. It goes a long ways.

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