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Making My Own Carvable Epoxy Fills

In years past we who are engaged in the compensation for damage of historic wooden artifacts often employed Araldite 1253 carvable epoxy for filling substantial losses requiring high-performance structural integrity.  I have found this product hard to find (and it was black!) so I for some time I have been making my own.


In this instance I took one squirt of Devcon epoxy from the hardware store, although any good quality epoxy will suffice, along with the appropriate proportion of catalyst onto a paper surface and mix them thoroughly.  To that I add acetone drop by drop until I get a watery consistency; it does not take as much acetone as you might expect.


Once you have the thinned epoxy ready, stir in glass microballoons a little at a time, making sure to mix until it is uniform in consistency.  The microballoons serve to both reduce the flow of the material (to “stiffen” it) and reduce the overall density (making it lighter in weight) and reducing the hardness and brittleness (making it “carvable”).


Keep adding microballoons until the mixture is the consistency of very stiff taffy (or thin putty if you prefer).   You can also add pigment for coloration at almost any point.


Once the putty is ready you can apply it to the area needing filling with a spatula.  When you are done with that that and smoothed out the fill, set it aside.  It will take 12-24 hours to harden.  Once it has set you can, well, carve it and smooth it to fulfill your requirements for the task at hand.


Since I make my own carvable epoxy one small batch at a time customizing the stiffness, density, and coloration, I simply discard any excess mixture and move on.



Studley 2.0 — Not Just A Tool Cabinet

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Not content to simply throw down the gauntlet before us with his replication of the HO Studley Tool Cabinet and its contents, admittedly customized very slightly for his own collection, JimM immediately dove into the replication of the workbench itself.  I saw it in-process, but the finished item is simply magnificent.

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Take that, slacker, I sez to myself.

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Jim chose pearwood as his secondary wood, and like Studley fabricated an ebony spring-loaded bench dog for every dog hole.  Now he is replanting the seed in my own creative garden, namely the completion of the prototype for the Studley bench vise itself as he wants a pair of the vises to adorn this bench.  I gotta get done with these projects taking up space — physical and psychic — in the studio so I can turn my attention to getting that enterprise underway.

A Roubo Print Finds Its Rightful Home




At the recent Groopshop 2016’s very entertaining “Mike’s Mostly Honest Auction” I contributed a print from the group of c.1771 First Edition Roubo prints I purchased a few weeks ago.  I hoped there would be some interest in this item, and it turned out there was some spirited bidding before my friend and fellow Pavilionista and Studley exhibit volunteer  JohnH prevailed.  The outcome could not have been better as John will be a perfect steward for the print.


This is a very special artifact at several levels, not the least being related to my own scholarship on Roubo.  This plate was not only designed by Roubo — he designed all the plates for the book — but he actually engraved this plate himself!  And in all likelihood he oversaw the production of the book in person, it was that important.  So he designed the image, engraved the plate, and witnessed the print-making and binding.

Amusingly (?) even with that degree of attentiveness, this place was not aligned perfectly with the paper so the print is noticeably crooked on the page!  I suspect this imperfection only increases the value of the print.


I hope John will find the time to examine the print carefully, to notice and appreciate the hand-made paper, the still sharp plate mark impression on the paper (this picture is of another page), and the exquisite detail in the image itself.

The odds are excellent that I will be selling any surplus inventory from this group of prints once I decide which ones I want to keep and which ones I want to give as gifts.  Stay tuned.