Liquid Inlay for Solid Surfacing

Advice on filling decorative routs in solid-surface counters or cutting boards. August 8, 2008

I am routing solid surface cutting boards with the dropoffs from the sink and I then rout the client's names in them with a v-groove. I was using the seam glue to fill the routs to make it smooth and also easier to clean up but I get air pockets in them that I can't eliminate. Is there a filler that I could use instead of the seam glue where I could fill using a putty knife or small stick of wood?

Forum Responses
(Laminating and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor A:
I don't have any answers but I can share your misery. I have tried deluxe and el cheapo epoxy, 5 minute and overnight, all with the same issues of pinholes, but including the problem of not really being able to buff them out to the same sheen as the Corian. They tend to melt or smear before they shine. I've tried Mirror Coat, a System Three product similar to epoxy designed for coating bar tops (and garish wood clocks) and have similar problems. Bondo will fill pretty well, but doesn't buff out worth a heck and doesn't stick in really fine lines like I would like.

The best product so far has been the Seamfill from Corian or other brand solid surface glue. But, it is expensive and requires at least one extra filling to take care of the pinholes. In my experience I don't see all the pinholes until I sand it down, then when I refill and resand I sometimes lose fine details.

From contributor B:
I have always used epoxy inlay material that I purchase from Align-Rite Tool Company. They have stock colors but will custom mix you any color from the Pantone color chart. They also offer inlay material with particulate in it. This requires that you buy special equipment because it has to be mixed in a vacuum.

Joint adhesive does a decent job but has a few drawbacks. It will continue to shrink days or weeks after the work is complete, even if you let it cure overnight. The other drawback as you mentioned is the air pockets. Just about any inlay material will have air bubbles in it. There are ways to avoid them. First, when mixing resin and hardener, stir slowly so as not to incorporate air into the mixture. Second, create a dam around your inlay and overfill the groove. The idea is to get the air bubbles to rise above your finished piece. I have found that the bubbles in epoxy inlay material will move to the surface easier than in joint adhesive. Third, vibrate (a sander works well) your work piece to encourage the bubbles to rise. Lastly do not overheat the inlay material when removing it. This will cause it to expand in the groove then shrink back below the surface when it cools. I use a sharp block plane or router on skis to take down the excess material then finish off with a random orbital sander.