Today’s Lessons From Resin

I’ve been working in resin this weekend, and I’m learning many things. I am an impatient person. I enjoy instant gratification. I like it when my projects work out well and quickly. But I learn far more when they don’t go as planned.

I have learned that it is possible to reduce the amount of bubbles in my finished castings. What I works for me is to mix the resin and hardener more slowly and deliberately, and then to let it sit for about 10 minutes before pouring into a mold. I watch it for more bubbles to come up to the top and then either breathe on them, or hit them lightly with my torch. Or both. Sometimes alternating. I watch it for about a half hour as the resin begins to cure. About 40 minutes after I begin mixing, the resin will begin to set up (solidify), and messing with it beyond that point can destroy a decent result.

I have learned that it is easier to fix the bottom of a piece that has raised edges (where the resin has formed a small lip at the top of the mold), than to sand the uneven bottom smooth. So far, I’ve been unable to get a shiny surface on my resin pieces with sanding, even using a 1500 grit sandpaper. I can get it smooth, but it’s dull or cloudy, not shiny. But by doming the bottom of the pieces, I can get a smooth, rounded, glassy bottom, which I like better.

Experimentation is OK. In fact, it’s great! I have achieved some interesting results with my experiments, which I intend to follow up with additional experiments. Failed experiments are not really “failures”; they show me what not to do, and turn me in new directions. Perhaps it *has* all been done before. If so, there’s much I haven’t seen yet. I consider the time and resin used (not “wasted”) as part of my 10,000 hours spent trying to master this craft.

And again, I don’t have the space I would like to work in. My “studio” is a tabletop in my bedroom. The ventilation isn’t great. The light is poor. I have many challenges working in this space. But I get little rewards, too, like when a piece turns out well, or I manage to fix an imperfect piece well enough to consider giving it as a gift.

For now, I have to let my current work sit and cure. Leave it alone. My latest experiment will either work out or not. This is not the time to check it. Tomorrow evening will reveal the result.

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