My goal with this piece was to retain the shape but not necessarily the texture of the outer edge.
The first order of business was to fill the split that had developed while the wood was drying. To do this I created a dam out of waste wood. Before securing it to the pine I coated the dam with 5 layers of mold wax. This would allow the dam to come away when the epoxy hardened. The dam was held in place and thoroughly sealed using a hot glue gun.
In order to keep the epoxy bubble free on the one hand and from cracking on the other, the gap was filled in a series of pours. While this takes longer, patience is rewarded by having a minimum of frustration.
A thorough wash coat of epoxy was applied to the piece to give it integrity. A thicker coat of epoxy was then applied to fill in the myriad gaps around the edges.
Once out of the makeshift mold, the bottom was given a similar treatment to fully seal the wood.
Once on the lathe, the pieces was turned in several sessions with wash coats of epoxy between each one.
Again, this is a time consuming procedure but it prevents irreparable tear out. The wash coat of epoxy needs at least 24 hours to harden sufficiently. I usually allow longer if there is no rush for the piece; sometimes several days.
This cross section was turned as a shallow bowl.
Completing the edge required additional patience. I waited until the front and the back were turned and sanded before addressing the edge. This meant that there was no excess surface area to smooth out.
Please remember that you can click on any image to see an enlargement.
There is more to come.
Due to the irregular shape of the wood a regular mold was out of the question. However, some kind of containment was necessary as the perimeter of the wood was porous and soft.
To accomplish this I placed the wood on a new, clear garbage bag (epoxy doesn't stick to a plastic garbage bag) and wrapped the outside with masking tape and then sealed that with packing tape.
Below is a view from the top and to the left is a detail shot.
I put the lathe on the slowest speed and allowed the sander to follow the edge. It took some time but I was able to sand through the grits to 1000. Normally, I don't sand to such a high grit when working with pine but the epoxy requires this to eliminate the scratches.
Although challenging, this slab turned out quite well.
I called the piece "Life Span". It was about 16 1/2" in diameter by 1 5/8" tall.