Poured Inlay Work in Solid Surface

Advise on using heat, additives, and other tricks to get good results with routing and pouring details into a solid surface top. July 16, 2012

I have a few projects where I need to route a design in Corian and fill it with a color glue. The problem with doing this is it's hard to get all the air bubbles out and the cut cannot be very deep, yet for Corian to fill properly it needs to have good depth.

Has anyone done something similar or found a chemical to add into Corian to thin it out? I experimented with adding lacquer thinner into the glue and mixing it. It did work in thinning it out, but it took forever to dry and was lacking in hardness.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surface Forum)
From contributor P:
Did you try a torch? Carefully.

From contributor H:
There are inlay color resins available (not glue). I believe Avonite has them, among others.

From contributor A:
Get a pourable inlay, then place a hot plate under the work (with the solid surface properly supported so it doesn't thermo form). The heat will thin the viscosity a lot and help drive the bubbles out. I set the hot plates under our workbench so that there is about a foot of space and the 3/4" thick melamine top between the bottom of the inlayed part and the hot plate. Makes the solid surface warm to the touch but not too hot to lay your hand on. An orbital sander works wonders, too, on getting any bubbles worked out.

From contributor E:
If you want to thin the glue out chemically, buy some Superior acrylics penetrating acrylic. Put what you need in a cup and mix in the Corian glue (I prefer Chemical Concepts). Do not add any extra hardener - just what mixes in the tip - or you can just squirt it in the cup with no tip to save some cash. It takes very little of the penetrating to thin out your glue. And make sure you build a tape dam around the work area and over fill the routed grooves, as this thin mixture will shrink and you don't want to have to do a second layer to totally fill the grooves.

As far as hot plates and other things that may warp the material or even cause discoloration in that general area, there are better ways to get rid of bubbles. You can build a simple vacuum chamber with clear Plexiglas for cheap. Just go to the local glass shop and pick some up - enough to build a box large enough for a cup to fit in, or large enough to cover your project area. Simply super glue the four sides and the top on and apply a foam seal around the bottom open edge. Then drill a hole in the top as large as the vacuum hose you will be using. If you place the cup under this and turn on the vacuum, you will see all the air bubbles pull right out. You can then pour. You can also place the box over the area and turn the vacuum on - the same will happen. It only takes seconds for this method. Heat is not the best.

From contributor T:
We have successfully done inlay work with Corian adhesive in Corian solid surface. It is labor intensive, but possible and produces good results. We recently filled small letter pockets (1/16" deep) with glue in Glacier White Corian. It required three passes with glue and the sander to fill and remove the bubbles, but it did work.

We do a lot of thermoforming of Corian in our shop and I would not recommend the localized heating to alleviate the bubbles. It may reduce or remove the bubbles, but you are very likely to discolor the material as the other poster suggested.

I would be interested to try the vacuum setup, though it sounds like quite a bit of work. Another thought we had was to use something to vibrate the work piece while the glue cures, which is what is done to remove bubbles when casting concrete.