Using Resin in Modern Furniture
Resin is the dried, compressed, and hardened liquid that comes from sapwood. Natural resins come from the sapwood of certain trees and stems of other plant types (check out table below) which are widely distributed around the globe. The resin hardens and dries out on contact with the air and light, often forming irregularities or tears, which must be carefully removed from the tree before it dries. Modern resin is created by heating resin materials to between 150 degree F and 250 degree F in order to change the properties of the material.
Resin comes in different properties depending on what it is used for. Dried blood tree resin is a dark greenish-brownish material, like tar. This material does not expand when it is exposed to heat, unlike most other resins which expand with the increase in temperature. This property makes it useful as a flooring material, however, the dark color of the resin means that it cannot be polished or bleached. It should be noted that the dried blood tree resin is also sometimes referred to as dried bloodwood and may have similar properties to it. However, the resin is a different material altogether.
When it is heated, resin changes from a dark brown to a light amber colour. The change in colour is due to the reaction between the resin and essential oils. These oils are released from tiny pores in the resin material when it is heated and are responsible for its properties. Essential oils are also responsible for creating the distinctive smell characteristic of resins.
When used as a wood preservative, most wood veneers and basswood are processing using the resin-based process. However, because of its high solubility, oil-based finishes are more effective than the resin-based ones, especially in terms of resisting moisture. Basswood, or redwood, is the most common wood used for this type of finish. This wood has a high oil content, making it an ideal candidate for use in all types of wood finishing.
A variety of colours can be created from a resin mixture. Rosewood, or African Black, is the most common red hue produced by the resins, although white, green, and blue are also possible colors. Some other colors include yellow, pink, and violet. When mixed with other substances such as glue and other additives, these colours can form into beautiful patterned finishes that complement almost any wood.
The gum method of applying resins is also commonly used. In this method the resins and the gum are combined and allowed to dry. Next, the gums are pulled off the piece of furniture and the red, pink, or whatever colour is desired is rubbed onto the piece using a soft bristled brush. The amount of color used will depend on how translucent you want your piece to be.
If you’re looking for something more permanent, sealer can be added to the resins. Sealer will protect the piece from moisture for a long period of time. Black walnut oil is great for sealing leather pieces; if you can find genuine dragon’s blood trees, it is very effective in sealing leather. This will be a very expensive option, however, and should only be considered if you have solid evidence of a full tree. There is a lot of debate over whether sealers like this work; some people swear by them while others claim they do not work at all.
Resin is a very versatile material and you can use it to create anything you wish. Whether you’re going for a lighter, more casual look, or something a bit more heavy duty, resin has all the options available. One thing is for sure though, resin has a ton of benefits that make it an excellent choice for a lot of furniture including statues, gravestones, and even ceramics. Give resin a try and see what kind of unique pieces you can create!