© Copyright Forest of Bere Woodturners Association 2015

Forest of Bere Woodturners Association (Havant)

Ash Bowl with Milliput Inlay

By Scott Waugh

Here is a simple demonstration of my technique for making a Milliput inlay on a 150mm (6”) bowl.
The Milliput is pressed into a recess cut into the wood and then cut-back to blend into the profile of the bowl shape.

Step 1: Sand the bowl to 240 grit and apply cellulose sanding sealer. This is not a finishing step. The sealer is needed to stop the Milliput from staining the wood.

Step 2: Using a sharp parting tool, cut the left and right edges of the recess to be filled with Milliput. This method cuts the fibres cleanly at the edge and gives a clean definition to the Milliput inlay (Figure 1).

Step 3: Cut out the rest of the recess to a depth of 3mm to give both a deep anchor for the inlay to set into and have enough excess to make the blending cut later (Figure 2).

Step 4: To calculate volume of the band, assume the cross-section is similar to a napkin ring shape.

Using this formula to find the volume of the band:

Figure 1 – Define the recess edges

Figure 2 – Cut the recess

Figure 3 – Measure both Milliput and hardener quantities

Figure 4 – Use gloves!

Figure 5 – Mix each colour thoroughly

Figure 6 – Mix into a random pattern

Figure 7 – Press Milliput into the cut recess

Step 7: Mould the Milliput into the recess and make sure to overlap the edges (Figure 7). This also explains the sanding sealer application in Step 1 (Figure 8).

Step 8: Leave to harden according the instructions on the packet. Overnight is usually a suggestion.

Step 9: Cut the Milliput back to blend into the shape of the bowl.

Light cuts are recommended when blending the Milliput as the difference in hardness could make ridges in the wood.

The Milliput is harder than the wood and can blunt the tools quickly.

Figure 8 – Overlap the edges

Figure 10 – The completed bowl

Figure 11 – The completed bowl

Figure 9 – Milliput cut-back and blended into the bowl shape

The height (h) of the band is 25mm or 2.5cm.

Start with calculating h x h x h = 15.6

Next multiply 3.14 x 15.6 = 49.0

Then divide 49.0 by 6 = 8.2

Step 5: How much Milliput do we need?

The volume of 1” (2.5cm) piece of Milliput of diameter 12mm is 1.2cm x 3.14 x 2.5 = 9.4.

So, divide 8.2 by 9.4 to see how much is needed = 0.87 in or 2.2cm.

See Figure 3: The Milliput is a 2-part mix epoxy and hardener. If using one colour then the total amount needed will be 2.2cm divide by 2. Two colours would be 2.2cm divide by 4, and so on.

Step 6: Prepare the Milliput by mixing the epoxy and hardener together. Recommend using gloves as Milliput can be a skin irritant (Figure 4).  

Rolling each colour into a long ribbon helped to see it was thoroughly mixed (Figure 5).

Combine the colours to develop a random pattern (Figure 6).