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Intermediate Heart Shaped Box

  • Software:
    Machine Time:
    30 minutes
    Bit or Laser Size:
    1/8" double flute endmill
    Feeds & Speeds:
    760mm/m , .05 DOC , 11000 RPM on a 400w quiete cut Chinese spindle
    Alumilite resin , pearlex mica powder , dye stabilized maple burl
    I needed a quick Valentine's present for my ole lady so I cranked this out in a hurry last minute... I did not intend for the project to be a last-minute thing, but I ran into several obstacles along the way. The difficulties I faced was acutactu quite the learning experience so here you go...

    The easy part
    Dying the wood was the least challenging part of this project. I first made sure the wood was bone dry by placing it in my kiln for 2 days at 230°F/110°c this ensured the external temperature was greater than the boiling point of water to allow any trapped moisture to escape. Next I placed the wood directly from the kiln into a ziplock bag to allow the wood to come to room temperature. Since the wood is actually dyed both pink and red I first filled up a small plastic cup half way with wood stabilizing resin and pink dye. If you are curious about wood stabilization look up cactus juice wood stabilization on Google for the benefits of doing so. I submerged half of the wood block in in the pink dye and and allowed to soak over night
    After it had soaked I ran it in the kiln once more to thermo set the stabilization resin at 200°F/93°C. The resin then hardens after the internal temperature hits 190°F/88°C. After the pink was done I placed it back into a ziplock bag to return to room temperature. After it reached room temperature I then placed the blank in a larger container which wood stabilization resin and red dye and weighed it down with a bag of marbles. I proceeded to place the container in my vacuum chamber and pulled as close to a perfect vacuum as I could.I allowed it to remain until all the bubbles (which was trapped air inside of the wood) had been released. When all of the bubbles were gone, I shut off my vacuum and returned the container to atmospheric pressure. I allowed it to sit for another day to soak up as much of the died resin as the wood will uptake. From there I placed it back in placed it back in my kiln and heat set the second color.

    Now was the time to create a mold. I used corrugated plastic and an hdpe cutting board to create the mold.

    The first DISASTER!

    This is where my troubles began. Using hot glue I attached the end caps of the mold to the corrugated plastic and placed in my dyed piece of wood. I mixed up my alumilite urethane resin and added my dye and mica powders for color and poured it into my mold. This resin requires pressure casting to remove all the bubbles and has a set time of around 90 minutes.into the pressure pot my mold went and the waiting game began. After the 90 minutes was up I opened my pressure pot to the horror of my mold coming apart and leaking the urethane resin all over the place.

    Discouraged I put this project asside for a few weeks which brings us to 2 nights before Valentine's day. In a mad rush I successfully recast the wood with resin and cut the finished block in half on my band saw.


    This project was going to originally include a lid for the box from the book matched pieces. In a hasty setup I made the error if placing a hold down screw in the wrong spot causing it to catch on the z axis with less than 1mm of cutting to go. IMG_20180213_223912235.jpg IMG_20180213_231146077.jpg

    I kept trudging along with the project and settled on it being a bowl instead of a box so I machined the other piece
    After a bit of sanding with 600 grit I sprayed the entire bowl with a high gloss clear lacquer which concludes this project and lengthy post. If you made it this far I commend you for you wanting to know more about how this was made! THANK-YOU
    IMG_20180214_221114112.jpg IMG_20180214_001451197.jpg IMG_20180213_231146077.jpg IMG_20180213_223912235.jpg IMG_20180213_164527260.jpg IMG_20180126_143330120.jpg IMG_20180123_150556375.jpg IMG_20180201_152641780.jpg

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Muslum, rokasni, Nick W and 8 others like this.

User Comments

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  1. Theresa Rathell
    It's amazing you even made your own resin? One of a kind, I bet she loves it
  2. hector marrero
  3. Kaged Creations
    Glad you kept at it even though you had some issues came out really cool in the end. I didn’t realize you could use the cactus juice to dye without going through the whole vacuum and stabilization process. Very cool
  4. Mark Carew
    Turned out great and I learned a lot reading though this so I am glad that you persisted and shared it with us. Thank you Alex :thumbsup:
      Alex krause likes this.
  5. MaryD
    Taking chances yields great results!
      Alex krause likes this.
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