Making Wood Stingrays – Carving, Woodworking, Art, Sculpture

Making Wood Stingrays – Carving, Woodworking, Art, Sculpture

My wife was recently in the Galapagos Islands
for work. She brought back some pretty cool underwater
footage of some sea creatures. In this case, stingrays. This inspired me to make a piece based on
it. I started with some reclaimed wood. I have a few pieces of cedar and what is left
of an old coffee table. I flattened the edges of the cedar so I could
glue them together into one large piece. I cut it square on the mitre saw. Then, I sanded one side flat. I drew on a design. I wanted to make it look like it was sandy
waves. I started to draw my designs, very roughly,
on this scrap piece. Then, I cut out the rough shapes, very rough
shapes, just with the hand saw. I refined it with a marker. I roughed out the shapes with the angle grinder,
at first. I switched to the rotary tool to refine the
shapes again. Then, I hand-sanded to smooth it. It turned out pretty cool. I tried to put them in a pleasing arrangement. The idea was to suspend them in epoxy. I made a mold out of some 1/8 inch plywood
and a glue gun. I wrapped the whole thing in plastic wrap
and duct tape, just in case there were any leaks. Total Boat sent me this kit a while back. I was going to use it on this project. I figured the wood would float in the epoxy. I glued it down with super glue. I mixed up a batch. I used almost all I had left. I poured it over and popped the bubbles with
a torch. Then, I noticed something was going awry. It started to smoke and bubble, so I set it
outside. It went terribly wrong. As you can see this was a complete and utter
failure. I think this is the first piece I have ever
made that I will not be able to recover and repurpose into something else. As you can see, something went horribly wrong
with the epoxy. I discussed it with the Total Boat representative. We came to the conclusion that this is not
the right type of epoxy for this type of work. I poured it too thick. Not only that, it was about 90 degrees Fahrenheit
in here when I poured it. A combination of factors caused it to generate
too much heat and it cured too quickly. It basically boiled and then cracked. Bottom line, it was not the right type of
epoxy for this type of work. They do have a different type of epoxy that
is more appropriate for this thick pour. I am kind of bummed that I put so much work
into making these rays. I liked how they turned out. I think the concept is sound. I just did not use the right epoxy. I am not giving up on this idea. I am going to set it aside for now. I might come back to it at a later time. If you made it this far, thanks a lot for
watching. Swim on back to Cammie’s Garage.


  • William Ellis says:

    That would have been beautiful. Too bad you had a problem. Since they live underwater, make sure you use waterproof glue (lol).

  • Peter O'Connell says:

    A leaping manta ray sculpture could be pretty cool

  • ghost airsoft says:

    Dude that was amazing iam glad that u showed us that even though u failed it helps remind me that not every thing is going to work out the way u want especially since I've been having that problem over and over again but good luck and DON'T GIVE UP

  • Mark McCluney says:

    Hoo boy. All that lovely destroyed. Been there mate. Oh well, mistakes teach… Thanks for sharing mate, good vid all the same.

  • Michael Potase says:

    OUCH!!! That was looking awesome. Thanks for sharing both your success and failures.

  • Tim Porter says:

    Would have been fantastic.

  • Jim Fershee says:

    Nuts! Great idea and sometimes mine don't pan out for what seems like the simplest reasons failing instead of the complicated ones. I'm glad to hear you say you're not giving up on this idea!

  • Andrew H says:

    Yeah, i was wondering when you did that pour if it was going to be too thick….
    just a suggestion: if you do multiple shallow layers, leaving each pour to 'mostly cure' (semi-solid but tacky) before pouring next layer it will not only allow the layers to cure properly (heat dissipating gradually) but also allow you to position the rays at different levels, looking more realistic….. (this way you may even be able to use the same type of epoxy)
    Shame it bubbled over, was looking like it would've been great

  • Laurie McConnell says:

    I like the resin idea. It’s too bad it didn’t work out. Another idea is to make a similar base or ocean floor out a lighter wood, make some 1/8 or 1/4” plexiglas sides that rise above the surface maybe 3/4” pour some white sand and carved shells on it and place the rays on dowels at different, varying heights and drill holes to mount the rays above the sand. Should look like the videos your wife took.

  • Samantha Leane says:

    Was going to look awesome 😢. Casting resin may have been the go and smaller level pours. Hopefully you can salvage with cutting the rays out and sanding back. Best of luck with 2.0 😊

  • davebauerart says:

    The rays looked cool, I hope you revisit the concept.

  • Jon Wills says:

    Bad luck! It was awesome!

  • Deb G says:

    I have had a problem like that. Popped the piece into the freezer for about 15 minutes, then checked it. It had cooled down so I took it out. It began to heat up again so I put it back in for another 15 or so. Took it out and kept an eye on it. It didn't overheat again. Although it did cure much more quickly, it looked fine.

    I was using Alumalite clear slow set. Usually 3/4" is about the maximum thickness I can pour it. Any more and it goes exothermic. I've saved 2 different pieces using the freezer to cool them down.

  • Billy Burt says:

    Bummer, Cam! The stingrays and base looked great. Looking forward to seeing it redone one day. For what it's worth, Liquid Diamonds will let you pour thick castings without pressure or bubbles.

  • Thomas Tieffenbacher/DocSavage45 says:

    The cutter you used ? Turboplane? Haven't been in my shop/studio for a few days so I know where my mentor Murphy went. LOL! Thanks for being human!

  • Robert Cullity says:

    Ditto what Michael said a couple of days ago. Looking forward to your next project. Rob

  • Kiros Wright says:

    Love underwater creatures!!! How much easier was it to make compared to the large Manta Ray?

  • Jolien Brebels says:

    They were very cute! Too bad about the epoxy!

  • Andy Pugh says:

    Bugger. Those rays looked great!

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