I have seen a few projects lately that involved the use of glow powder and epoxy. The projects I have seen have been tables that had recesses and blemishes filled with the glow epoxy. I wanted to give it a try but wanted to do something a little different. I have never seen this technique used on a sign so I made this Harley Davidson sign for a good friend of mine.
It took me three attempts to get this thing right. I train wrecked the first two signs. The problem was out of control epoxy bubbles. It took me some time to figure out what the problem was but with a little help from my buddy Andy over at Boatworks Today, I figured out that the wood was “gassing off” and leaching air from the wood fibers. The epoxy gives off heat as it sets up. The heat causes the wood fibers to start “exhaling” air. The problem was further complicated because I kept trying to use a heat gun or a blow torch to pop the bubbles, thus forcing even more heat into the wood. It became a viscous circle that let to epic fails. On the third attempt I got it right and here’s how I did it……
The first thing I did was cut the sign on my CNC machine. After that I applied General Finishes Van Dyke Brown glaze. That gave it a nice rustic look.
To solve the problem of gassing off, Andy told me to first seal the wood. I thought applying a few coats of poly would do the trick but it did not. I wrecked project number two. Then Andy told me to seal it with epoxy. I got some of the West Systems two part epoxy and painted it on the entire sign with a foam brush. The next day I sanded it and put another coat of epoxy on the sign and sanded it again the next day. Two coats of sealer worked pretty good but three would have probably been better.
Then I mixed up eight ounces of Envirotex Lite with one ounce of Ultra Blue glow powder by Glow Inc. I filled a 200 ml squeeze bottle with the epoxy mixture and carefully began applying it to the engraving recesses. Once bubbles began to form I did not reach for a heat gun or a blow torch. Rather, I grabbed a straw. The carbon dioxide in your lungs will pop the bubbles if you gently blow on them and it will not add significant heat to the wood. I carefully and gently blew on the bubbles as they formed over the next several minutes. That alone took care of the bubbles.
I let the epoxy set up and cure for two days and then applied several coats of General Finishes Polyacrylic. After a seven day build I ended up with a very cool, unique, and one of a kind Harley Davidson sign. I sent it to my buddy as a surprise and it was a big hit. I have a build video below that you ought to take a look at and the materials I used for this project are also listed below. Lemme know if you would like one of these signs. Or if you want to try it yourself then I’d be glad to cut you a blank and let you take it from there. Good luck!