How to protect stone labels

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How to protect stone labels


In this article I would like to show you how to protect stone labels with epoxy,
in this case “La Lune” labels. If this is not done, the label would vanish trough time…
(pictures above are examples, left = original, right = with epoxy)
Clear nail polish can also be used as an alternative, just add a thin layer of nail polish on the label and let it dry, best thing to do is to repeat this a couple of times.
This article is meant to be merely a guide, in which different techniques are shown.
The idea behind this article is that it can be used as a starting point in how to use epoxy for  label preservation.

If the label is dirty, carefully try to clean it with a soft brush (for example an old soft toothbrush).
When, and only when it is really needed, use a little bit of water with dishwater soap
(best not to do this, the colors can fade, etc…):
Next, set boundaries with tape in which later on the epoxy will be applied.
I use the sticky part of the tape on the stone. When pressed thoroughly onto the stone, this insures that the epoxy will not go beneath the tape. The sticky part of the tape will contact the epoxy as well, this is not a problem, in fact, I think it even makes it easier to remove the tape from the epoxy when it is hardened.

DSCN6975.JPG

Stabilize these strokes of tape:

DSCN6978

Make a little bit of height to insure that the epoxy will not overflow,
it also ensures the layer of epoxy to be thick enough:

DSCN6979

Stabilize again with additional tape:
Now, prepare the epoxy.
I use 24h epoxy, which has a longer setting and hardening time, you need to wait at least 24h
to remove the tape, but when it hardens, it is water resistant, which is important!
You must use the same amount of epoxy and hardener, which, importantly,
must be mixed very carefully (to avoid many air bubbles) and thoroughly.
I mix the epoxy on clear packaging tape, afterwards I can remove it easily
from my desk and discard the remains.
Fill the mold with well mixed epoxy. To insure that the epoxy level is as flat
as possible before drying, tap/shake the stone (carefully of course!)
To give an idea of the speed, I do 4-6 back and forth movements per second:

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And this in different directions

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End result:

DSCN6991.JPG

Then, let is dry long enough (in this case >24h)
Carefully remove the tape, best is to press on the epoxy as you go along removing the tape,
otherwise the epoxy could occasionally be lifted slightly from the stone.
Once this is done, finish by sanding, I use for example wet & dry sandpaper 180 through 7000 grit,
which is wrapped around a wine cork. The cork is cheap, handy and gives a very nice and even result!
Before sanding, to protect the stone, you possibly can use some extra tape:
DSCN6998
Be careful not to rub too fast, especially with finer grit, the epoxy will heat up,
and causes the epoxy to melt very slightly, resulting in a slight sticky surface that gets
a little bit dirty. When this happens, wait until it cools down, and try again.
This problem can be fixed easily, but of coarse it is better to avoid it.
Afterwards, you could give a final finish by using a polishing cloth.
Grit progression:
220 – 400 – 1000
2000 – 5000 – 7000
Resulting into:

DSCN7005

Before – After:

Here is an example before I used the technique of tapping/shaking the stone with fresh epoxy
(the top level of the epoxy wasn’t flat), on this pic is the wine cork/sandpaper also seen:

DSCN6374.JPG

This resulted into a less fine finish:

DSCN6501 kopie.jpg

To fix this, one needs to fill the holes, and sand again:

DSCN6671 kopie


Another technique is by first putting some layers of packaging tape
Best is to cover the label with a piece of paper/cardboard, otherwise the tape
will stick on the label, which of coarse is not desirable:
Press the tape very well onto the stone before you fill it with epoxy.
The drawback of this technique is that you’ll carve into the stone as well.
One way to fix this is by using a piece of cardboard that is large enough,
so you’ll cut into the cardboard instead. Afterwards you can remove the remains of
the cardboard and press the tape firmly onto the stone, before finally filling with epoxy.

That’s it!
Have fun with it!

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