I have renamed this project to foot stool, since it is no longer a side tablet (too short). In the last post, I mentioned the possibility of sanding and coating the mycelium for a better finish, and I have decided to do just that. I started hand sanding the stool, which worked for the mycelium itself but didn’t get very far with the hemp hurds, so I switched to a sander. Some of the more even points of contact blended well, but there are still raised areas and deep gaps. When I tried to keep sanding down the raised areas, I ended up reaching a point where the mycelium started to crumble away instead of sanding down, so I had to stop.
I found that milk paint could work for covering the piece after I smooth it out. Milk paint is biodegradable and zero VOC. Lime activates the proteins in milk which cause it to stick to the surface. I will order some, probably in white, to paint with, and since it ships as a powder I can store it before use.
I thought of using a starch based glue mixed with the sawdust from sanding in order to fill in gaps, but since starch based glue is water soluble, I won’t be able to paint over the piece after filling the gaps, so I am not using the glue after all. I started researching alternatives that I could use to smooth out the entire piece now that bits are beginning to pull away, and it seems that there is a sustainably sourced resin coating that could work, but it is not available in the US. I might look into making a bioplastic and using it as a form of joint compound or skim coat, but it will have to be water-resistant.