Furniture maker Scott Grove recently developed the Imaginlay brand of mineral fillers as a creative option for woodworkers and turners.
“Typically when you have a crack in wood, either you don’t use that piece or, if you do, you try to fill it with a black or dark filler, but it’s still a notch and still a blemish. This helps to add a little accent point to that area. It makes a knot into a design element,” Grove says.
“Some turners and woodworkers will fill them with turquoise and, for what it’s worth, that color is beautiful but a little ’70s — and that’s fine. It works in some places, but I began looking at other stones you can buy to fill with. I first started playing with crystal calcite and then Mother of Pearl, which is from oyster shells.”
The Mother of Pearl mineral offers an iridescent, sparkly shine, while the crystal calcite has translucent properties and can be dyed to look like a ruby, sapphire or other gem.
Grove, who creates studio furniture and sculpture in Rochester, N.Y., says the fillers are easy to use. They can be mixed with cyanoacrylate glues or any type of resin that will harden. Grove says the products are 100 percent natural.
Grove learned quickly that when filling wood with a natural mineral or shell, everything relates back to the Mohs Hardness Scale.
“Essentially, it’s a scale ranging from 1.0 to 10 where talc is one and 10 is diamond. If the material is too soft, it will dent in and if it’s too hard it will create a hump and be hard to sand,” Grove says.
Both the Mother of Pearl and calcite have a hardness of 3.5 and are easily sanded using silicon carbine or aluminum oxide sandpaper, which has a hardness of 9.0, according to Grove.
The Mother of Pearl is sold in fine and flake versions (1 ounce for $12.95) and the calcite in fine and coarse (3 ounces for $19.95).
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue.