Having worked with wood in one form or another I now jump at the chance to try different materials and skills . I got such a chance at our chapters first
meeting of the year when one of our members, Tom Murphy, gave us a brilliant display of his skill and knowledge working with epoxy resin, this, a very versatile material which Tom showed us can be used in so many ways, making jewellery, pens, decorating boxes and as much as our imagination will allow. The resin comes in a two part kit in liquid form,(Tom very helpfully gave us all a fact sheet, with the use and mixing of the material, names and contact details of the suppliers) which when mixed in the prescribed proportions hardens to a very tough solid form. To this mix is added colour in the form of dyes, using two or more colours together and moving them around in the mix gives a marbled effect, then when hardened, which takes at least thirty hours, can now be worked in different ways, for us of course this means the lathe. Tom had prepared some pen blanks which he had cast in moulds and made up of a mixture of acrylic and wood, small pieces of waste he had cut up and mixed in with the resin to great effect. I’m sure we have all made pens so I am not going into details about the turning other than to say Tom used a carbide tipped tool as the acrylic tends to blunt HSS chisels. Here I must mention the importance of using the proper safety equipment, namely a face mask and eye protection as acrylic though generally safe if not fully cured can be toxic, Tom himself used a full face shield and here is a good tip, Tom had fitted a bicycle lamp to the shield which focused on the workpiece, very useful. Back to the pens, when finished, the mixture of resin and wood combine well in texture and colour.
The next item Tom tackled was a piece of jewellery, a bangle, this consisted of an inner metal band faced on the outside with again a mix of wood and resin. The outer band was cast in a mould Tom had made in silicone rubber, this has to be to a very precise measurement as the inner metal band which comes in two pieces has to fit inside. The metal band can be of copper, stainless steel and I think Tom mentioned titanium, the two bands are then glued together with as suggested an epoxy resin glue as this has a longer working time than say super glue. This is then mounted on the lathe on a jam chuck and the outer face shaped and finished then polished to a high gloss, lovely piece.
The last item for the afternoon was a demonstration of airbrushing, the use of the equipment, the paints and inks and the technique which, with a bit of practise(well maybe a lot) we could get the hang of.
The competition results are up on the website and the final word will be to urge everyone to engage and get those entries in.
Hope to see you all next month, until then work safe.
Tom brought in the finished pieces in Feb to show them off in their full glory