Making a Sconce from Sawdust, Resin, and Copper Pipes

This was an experimental project from start to finish; I had tree bark, plenty of sawdust, and extra resin leftover from another project laying around and I wanted to see if I could turn them into something. I am pleasantly surprised with the geometric design I was able to create and use as the back of a sconce with the addition of some copper pipes from my local hardware store.

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Tools

Silicone Mold

Laguna Band Saw

Jigsaw

Belt Sander

Drill Press

Flex Shaft with Silicone Polishing Pad Attachments

Materials

Shipping Tube

Tyvek Tape

Sawdust

Total Boat 2:1 Epoxy, Medium Hardener

1/2 Inch Copper Coupling

1/2 Inch Copper Pipe

1/2 90 Degree Elbow

1/2 to 3/4 Inch Coupling

Loctite 5 Minute Epoxy

Flush Mount Hardware

To make wall-hanging candle holders out of resin sawdust and copper pipe, I first gathered a piece of bark and a shipping container, which was already coated with Tyvek tape to create a seal. 

Then, I sprayed silicone mold release on the inside and placed the bark inside the shipping container. 

Next, I used Total-Boat 2:1 High Performance Epoxy with a medium hardener. Then, I stirred in sawdust while wearing gloves. 

Once I stirred for the required time I poured the sawdust and epoxy into the shipping container. I let this sit overnight to completely harden before working it more. 

The next day I took this to the bandsaw and cut this pillar into even round slices.I cleaned these off to eliminate any excess dust before re-casting.

To do this next pour I first sprayed a silicone mold with silicone mold release. To ensure they didn’t move during the resin pour, I used hot glue to secure the slices of wood into place where I wanted them. 

Then, I covered the slices with clear resin. I used a torch to pop any air bubbles that formed at the surface. 

The next day, I removed the resin panel from the mold and it was ready to be worked. To cut the resin into smaller pieces, I used a jigsaw to cut the resin into two matching rectangles. 

 

Next it was time to think about the metal components I was envisioning for this. Using a vise and a jigsaw, I cut half-inch copper pipe into the sized pieces I needed. 

After cutting the pieces of pipe, I used the belt sander to remove burrs on the ends of the pipe. Its important to remember that as it is worked the copper will what up substantially. 

Using a silicone sanding pad on my flex shaft, I added uniform finishing texture. I repeated this process on the other pieces of pipe as well as the connectors. 

Then, I marked the position of where I wanted the pipe to be on the back resin plates. Using a forstner bit, I drilled partway through the resin. 

I started the final assembly by flipping the resin pieces over. Then, I used Loctite 5-Minute Epoxy to secure flush mount hardware in the top center on each of the pieces. 

After letting the epoxy dry for five minutes, I flipped over the resin to assemble the rest of the project.

I started with a straight connector. Using a liberal application of the proxy, I poured a small amount inside the connector to ensure a strong bond to the back of the plate and to prevent candles from falling onto the floor. 

To assemble the candle holder, I used a small piece of pipe, a half-inch elbow, another small piece of pipe and a ½ to ¾ adaptor. For a clean and secure piece, I applied epoxy to the inside of the fittings. While the epoxy cured, I used painter’s tape to hold the piece in place. 

My sconce, which was made from interesting materials, some of which would have likely gone to waste, came out better than I thought it would.

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