Moonlit Ateliers LLC
The sun goes down and the world becomes quiet for the mind to be inspired and create.
How hard can you make something before it becomes brittle.
Vacations officially over and I am back in the shop.
Yes, here I am yet again. Ive done auto body, wood, metal, acrylics, stone and so on but nothing has been so "humbling" (to put nicely) as the finish on an epoxy table. This was a first and may very well be a while before I tackle this again.
The latest, polycrylic, failed cup test. Water based polyurethane, failed cup test. Acrylic enamel, flaked. Acrylic laquer, flaked. Epoxy flood coat, scratched easily with a finger nail. Oil based polyurethane, great, but changed colors due to yellow tints in the oil.
Ive been recommended Odies and 3M all the way down to basic TurtleWax, did you know these finished require an annual recoat? Wax polymers and most hybrids dont hold up all that great. Ballistix looks awesome but that price tag hurts for something this small.
Easy sign to look for when removing old finishes, be sure to get it all.
Next up, ceramic enamel
And this is why you test😩 polycrylic is a fail
A prototype Ive been fiddling around with finally starting to come to fruition.
With wedding bells in the air it seems like a good time to get back on this.
While I love this idea thats been gaining more traction and may even do it myself a few things to keep in mind;
-Do not use green wood. It will split and crack as it did through this custom pyro from Smoky Wood Studios. Rule of thumb is a year per inch to have a fully air dried slab or if you want to drop the $$ check with your local saw mills for kiln dry. 8% will do, I prefer 6% myself. And on a side note, this cherry cookie could of been beyond beautiful had it sat for those 2yrs as seen with the end tables.
-Process it! This piece in particular has been troublesome because nothing is flat. The resin and finish pools. I put the back on the sled but theres nothing I could do for the front. This step should include any fill work.
-After your process it, seal it. Front AND back. It can be simple as acrylic spray paint from walmart though I do recommend some form of poly. Not only is it easier to write on it wont absorb the ink and possibly blur. It also fast forwards the finish process if you choose to epoxy.
-After its signed, seal it again....and thrice. Whatever top coat you choose always has the possibility of eating the ink. I had an issue with my normal process of using alcohol to clean. I did indeed use plain old rustoleum clear coat on this.
-If youre the final artist/crafter I highly recommend taking a detailed pic of the original before doing anything.
Switching it up a bit tonight and working on a side piece in Atelier 2.
Took a good bit of prep (like, to the point i questioned if it was worth it) but diggin how this termite chewed and rotted reclaimed cedar came out😍
How well did you sand for your finish?
You ever want to think youre making progress hit it with a Sharpie and get back to me.
10k grit and back to 3k😑
🥁🥁Drum roll please🥁🥁
Finally coming to the end of this project.
If it passes the 24hr cup test it will be getting the final buff, if it leaves a ring itll be sanded back down to 600 and a tougher finish will be sought.
One of my biggest self criticisms from the end tables is staining. Barely noticeable but, its there😑 Using just mica was not enough on cherry.
Im working with cedar this round, which is a VERY soft wood. Hitting it with some water based polycrylic this round to hopefully prevent that and keep the color where i want it.
I saw something earlier about Sundays being a day of rest and then think for most working people its the busiest as its the only time you have to catch up whether it be errands, housework or hobbys.
✔️Wedding plaque poured
✔️End tables back to the dry rack
✔️Box in the spray booth
✔️Plans for the next brewing
2 things that are consistently overlooked, and .
Ive been consistently getting on the end tables and its been frustrating. I know its been cool in the basement....but not 62deg cool, check the spec. even comes with a warning in their pamphlet about climate pours.
specifies 77deg at 50% humidty specs.
Even on the brink of summer Im having to put a heater in the room and temporarily up the dehumidfier setting.
Take notice of your .
Why does a piece take so long?
Things that happen when you try to rush a process.
This was finished with acrylic laquer 2 days ago. Thought Id be ok to start polishing. 1st a greyish rubber appears, then this. Even on the lowest sander speed thats what I get for knowing better and now about a 1/16" of the surface needs to come down.
Take your time and do it right. Most finishes are a minimum of 72hrs between.
So I have about 0 faith in this dam for a barked live edge. Use a good flashlight and check for light cracks in between the project and the buffer.
If youre in this situation, get your wall up and use table top epoxy, let it sit till it starts to react and paste a good buffer where you think you are going to have issues.
You will not be getting the bubbles out of this so plan accordingly, its solely a barrier reinforcment. This particular piece will be getting some dremel work so its not a concern for me on this one and the base pour will be on the backside against a wall so if its cloudy it doesnt matter.
The outcome of the personal project.
About the only thing I would of changed is making it a 3 tier as I didnt compensate for the rods in the front so even though things fit i couldnt get everything in there as intended. Looks nice and really cleaned up the kitchen dump space🙂
This was a fairly quick and easy project and may consider making more with some added pyro. Handmade, solid wood, better than the ikea stuff you find in a box store.
I really wish i had a before and after pic of this wood.
Picture old grey, twisted, barn wood that had been sitting outside for about 30yrs. Couple runs through the planer and revealed this beautiful spalting😍 I dont know what kind of wood this was but i hope i have some more of it from that grab.
Day 2 without a hand wrap:
Been dyin to get back in the shop. Without even knowing my hobbies doc specifically said "dont go running a chainsaw"....a table saw was never mentioned😂
Finishing up this personal project today to clear my workspace and then lets get to finishing those endtables so i can be moving on.
When youre trying to think which takes longer....the actual pour or a poly finish😣
As much as I prefer an acrylic laquer finish its not as durable *perfect for wall hangings. I really wanted to try a ceramic coat but its out of the budget at a 1st attempt and theres not enough projects going on (a bottle is only good for a few days after opening)
72hrs in between sanded coats minimum (i give mine a full 5 days min being a sublevel shop), 3 sanding steps before polish.
40 to 220, spray, 220 to 320, spray, 320 to 400, spray, 400 to polish (3000min - I want them accents to pop, Ive went all the way to 10k on several. 1500 is superficial and doesnt last)
Had to take break for real life over the weekend so I didnt get anything done in Atelier 2😑 Id much rather be in the basement than under a transmission.
All the heavy lifting is done on the tables and the wedding signage to hopefully keep moving after next Monday. Ultimately this is the worst time to be having even minor hand surgery in personal and recreational life🙄 but nature tells us we need thumbs. *insert Darwin joke here*
Backsides are well on their way to being complete before the show side begins.
Why yes, lemme take on another project with 3wks to go before hand surgery. A lot of other stuff I will still be able to do so I'll be delving back into pyro and glass engraving again. Mixing table top epoxy has already become a noticeable strain (think of stirring cold, well seasoned molasses) but looking into a way around that as well.
This will be a bit challenging as sanding must be kept to a minimum. On the plus side it was previously sealed with modge podge and not an oil based laquer.
Havent been posting much as Im on a bit of a time frame to finish rockin these tables out on days possible before I will be down for a bit now that I have a date. Some days I have full use of my left hand and other days I cant raise my thumb above my palm and its got to be fixed.
Of course the final steps cant seem to go without a small hitch....stress bubbles after installing the inserts to attach the table base😑
Time to get the dremel back out and do some patch work.
Been focused on finishing the end tables and they had taken over most of my work areas for the last few weeks.
Theres still about 2 more days to cure before deciding on the final finish tactic so lemme get back to this in the meantime.😀
Fish eyes are usually a good indicator theres not enough epoxy in a particular place.
Chances are youve already burned your bubbles to get to here.
Just dab a little on a stick and heat up a drip so you dont put more bubbles back in your top coat, smooth it back out with the torch😀
As per request the final addition to the end tables is completed.
Now onto the final sands before 1 last pour.
When you say to yourself 23' is going to be the year to start coming up and end up on a waiting list to have your hand cut open😑 These nights are about to get busy while I can still use it.
And we have bubbles after almost 24hrs in😑
Some real nasty ones too🙄
Heating and picking is just making it worse being this far in to the cure but stay tuned and Ill show you how to fix this😉
Final layer is poured. A small alteration is to be made to the back, add a roundover edge and then on to the last top coat.
Though it seems Ive only been posting the endtables, Ive enjoyed leaving easter eggs in some of those vids as there is always something else on deck.
A small mixing error was made and recovered.
Wanted to add more depth to the white but a little bit of silver grey went a very long way. I liked it but it was no where near what was requested.
Color attempt 2 was a fail as well that came out looking like a high school date night. Really had to pack the pigment in this one to get it bright.
Catch the mistakes early and they can be easily fixed.
Few more hours for this to set up and I can start the design.
Was a bit under the weather this past week and was catching up last night.
A small error was made but is in the works of being resolved😀
Hopefully this will be back at the sanding table by Saturday.
Getting things set up for the coming week.
Lettering is cut, just need to clean it up a bit and be ready for the 2nd pour.
Atelier 2 is officially back on closed door policy😁
You will NEVER keep all contaminants out of a home shop, especially with four legged fur dusters doing parkour in the hallway. Even in a pro shop the equipment needed to keep slight pressure in a closed off area is too much. All you can do is your best.
Dont sweat the small surface stuff so much, chances are youll be sanding it down to polish. Look for the chunky stuff that stands out.
-View your piece from all angles at the surface (the LED swing light has been amazing for this but a good white light (LED/Xenon) flashlight can do)
-tie your hair back and wear a hat
-have dedicated "clean" clothes kept in that dedicated "clean" room
-keep tweezers and safety pins/toothpicks nearby to pick things out
-if you have a dusty house put a thin filter over the vent in that room (i do not recommend closing it due to ventilation and air flow)
-use food bug screens over your piece (Amazon)
A slight change in plan after finding a set of awesome iron tables.
Time to size them up and make some progress on this.
Playing around on a rough cut and a dry fit with a new possibility and kinda meh on it🤷♂️
Taking the night off.
Its been productive lately to prep for an all out weekend for a few things that need a lil more attention😉
Things can go wrong at ANY stage of a project. This bled out on the final sand😪 Always Always keep a backup of your design.
Lets try this again shall we.
This is kinda important stuff for any small business owner. Keep up. $20k OR 200 transactions is currently back in play.
IRS will delay requirement to report $600 in gig work on taxes Most online sellers will be spared from tracking and reporting side-hustle income on their taxes for at least another year.
I personally am not a fan of bowties unless its for pure accent when you can strategically place them.....but sometimes they are very much needed.
No more twisting = no more cracking.
Fortunately these will be on the underside.
The Western Star is off to its forever home today🤩🥳
Ive got a whale of a tale for you...vid coming soon
That winter time slump has been hittin hard this past week but its important to consider the things that combat it so lets get back to it.
If you find yourself doing more damage than good its ok to take a step back as long as you keep moving forward.
"Hard work good and hard work fine but first take care of head" - Bradley Nowell
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