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Thread: Filling in inclusions in walnut

  1. #1
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    Filling in inclusions in walnut

    What would be a durable way to fill in inclusions like the ones in this piece of walnut. I don't own this piece but I have some smaller walnut slabs that I'd like to use for a living room coffee table that has similar inclusions.

    I haven't decided on a finish for the table top so, if filling them in was part of finishing the top that wouldn't be a bad thing. (Actually, I haven't even given any thought to finishing the top so suggestions would be welcome as well.)

    Thanks very much.


    Last edited by Mark Rios; 08-11-2008 at 11:20 PM.
    Thanks, Mark.

    Custom Bonehead.

    My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.

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  2. #2
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    inclusions

    well to fill the inclusions add lots of stryofoam peanuts all around it then wrap in shrink wraap box in sturdy crate and send to me for the filling but i after i receive it the addrwess will be changed...thats one nice slab there mark,, seriously i have used some 2 part epoxy for smaller spots and you can add color to it pryor to filling..sands pretty good but i havnt done that large of a hole so there may be others out there with better info..in finishing it i would use a oil and varnish wipe on, and then buff to a dull sheen,,one that begs to be touched..
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  3. #3
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    Mark,

    Any chance you could find some similarly coloured wood, router out the defect and fill it in with a surface plug?

    cheers

  4. #4
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    My go-to filler for dark inclusions is epoxy and finely-ground charcoal. If it's real deep, you can full it in several stages.

    I like Larry's suggestion for the finish.
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  5. #5
    I think it depends on whether you want to try to hide the imperfection or make it part of the decor. A beautiful piece of walnut like that...don't know...I'd probably try to enhance it rather than hide it. Get some scrap walnut and try Larry's epoxy idea. I'd probably use polymerized tung oil as a finish, rubbed out to be silky smooth...I think this would blend nicely with the cured epoxy. Check out some of George Nakashima's work...he made some beautiful pieces by more or less featuring the flaw instead of trying to hide it.

    Larry has been kind of busy lately, and he's getting ready for bowhunting, so it might be better if you sent that piece to me to work on.

    Cheers.

  6. #6
    My first thoughts were of Epoxy (colored of course) or Polymer resin colored to match the final Walnut color. If you plan a natural finish apply some of the finish and see what the color brings (you can always sand it off later) match the color in the polymer or the epoxy and fill the holes.

    As was said, the old way would have been to use a "Dutchman" Ie. Route out a patch to fill the space. Look to New Yankee Workshop as "Norm" does this often.

  7. #7
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    I use clear epoxy and (used) French Roast coffee (very dark) grounds. Makes a very nice match.
    Jim D.
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  8. #8
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    The Epoxy and coloring is one way, but if it were me, I'd go with a Bowtie, or a Dutchman, either of contrasting color, or something that matches very well, you could cut out one of each and see which ones makes you smile

    If you are going to go the epoxy route, remove any loose stuff and you might even do some work with a dremel to make sure the epoxy chuck stays in place for the long run by undercutting some areas and such, much like a dentist does with a filling.

    Nice chunk of wood
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  9. #9
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    A lot of great info and a great big thanks to all.

    However, I need to clarify a couple of things,

    1) As I stated in my OP, as much as I wish that I did, I DO NOT OWN THE ABOVE SLAB. I have a couple of slabs that are smaller and not quite as nice. They do have similar voids/inclusions though. My smaller slabs are in storage and I couldn't get a pic of them.

    2) I apologize that I wasn't more clear on this next point. I'm not wanting to hide them or patch them (but thanks very much to those who offered advice about that). I want and like the natural look of them. I am wanting to fill them with something to make them solid so that if/when something is spilled it doesn't go down the hole. Again, I'm wanting to make a living room coffee table.

    I want a clear finish of some sort on the table to bring out the wonderful grain of natural, air dried walnut. So I'm looking for something to fill the voids/inclusions that is either clear or black, I don't really care. A clear epoxy would be great and fine and, the more I think about it, preferred. Is there a preferred epoxy for this application? Is there a finish that would be compatible with an epoxy or vice versa?

    I am of the same mind as some of you, in wood this nice I like the idea of not changing what nature put inside. Accentuating the imperfections is much nicer than hiding them. Actually, I think the piece above is beyond my pay grade and would be more appropriate in the hands of someone like Mark Singer.

    Thanks very much again for your help and advice.
    Thanks, Mark.

    Custom Bonehead.

    My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.

    "Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider!" --George Carlin

  10. #10
    Bob Wiggins is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rios View Post
    What would be a durable way to fill in inclusions like the ones in this piece of walnut. I don't own this piece but I have some smaller walnut slabs that I'd like to use for a living room coffee table that has similar inclusions.

    I haven't decided on a finish for the table top so, if filling them in was part of finishing the top that wouldn't be a bad thing. (Actually, I haven't even given any thought to finishing the top so suggestions would be welcome as well.)

    Thanks very much.


    ************************************************** ******
    A burn in stick might work as a filler. Years ago it was called stick shellac and was used with an alcohol burner but I have no idea what material they are made of in more modern times.

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