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Experimenting with epoxy


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17 replies to this topic

#1 Big Daddy Hubbard

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 03:14 PM

I hope this post will generate a lot of responses, as I do not have a vast knowledge of working with this amazing stuff. I have been tying for sometime now, but have just recently become heavily involved with experimenting with epoxy. One thing I can tell you is that this stuff is amazing. It is an essential on any bench. It can be used to secure bodies to hooks, build bulk, and provides a great finish to your flies. I worked with it quiet a bit this weekend and learned to overcome most of the draw backs associated with the stuff, especially dripping and sagging. Drying motors prevent this from happening if the coat of epoxy is smooth and uniform...but what to do if you have no drying motor? Well, the answer is simple, but requires a bit of work.


I have made myself a homemade drying wheel. Now, in the past I hadn't used enough epoxy to warrant having a drying motor, but it will be my next purchase. However, I found myself trying to figure out a way to dry my poppers and prevent any drips or sagging. After a little thought, it hit me. I cut out a 12" circle from a cardboard box I had lying around. I poked a hole in the center of it and through the hole, I inserted a small wooden dowel(app. 15" long). After applying the epoxy to my poppers, I stuck the hooks in the edge of the cardboard. I then turned the wheel slowly, but evenly, by hand. After about 6 minutes, the epoxy was dry enough to be set aside and allowed to cure on its own. This served as a practical drying wheel, and I must confess, I was a bit suprised by my ingenuity. Turning the wheel evenly and keeping it vertically straight required a careful eye and a little patience, but the flies dried perfectly. So, for those of you who are considering experimenting with epoxy, but don't want to shell out $$$ for a drying motor, try this method. If you like the results of your epoxy work, do yourself a favor and get a drying motor...I'm going to do just that!!!




I encourage anyone with a preference for epoxy work and drying equipment to jump in and share your advice!!

#2 Dble Haul

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 03:44 PM

One thing that I occasionally do with epoxy is sprinkle some gold or silver glitter into the stuff as I'm mixing and prior to application to the fly. It makes a neat finish, especially for baitfish patterns is salt water.

A little goes a long way.....don't sprinkle too much!
Mark

#3 Big Daddy Hubbard

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 03:45 PM

OH YEAH!!!! Added some green to the epoxy to coat some frog poppers with...just to add a little sparkle...turned out great.....

#4 ridderbos3

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 05:32 PM

i was messing with some epoxy this weekend, making some foam head bass poppers. I was using permatex 5 minute epoxy. 24 hours later they were still a bit tacky. I would use the stuff more if they would dry completely hard and not tacky. I just put a coat of sally hansens hard as nails on overthe epoxy and that worked. (that tip is for BDH)


Am I doing something wrong in mixing or something, how can I get the epoxy to dry solid and not tacky? dunno.gif I mixed it evenly, I made sure that the rpoportion was exactly the same as I was dispensing it.

john headbang.gif

#5 jbrowning

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 05:52 PM

Hello John, I noticed that some of my epoxy flies would come out tacky and even though it looked like I was using equal amounts. I started adding just a little bit more hardener and that solved the problem for me.

That is my .02 cents worth.

Jim

#6 ridderbos3

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 06:07 PM

okay, now to figure out whcih one is the hardener. The epoxy comes in a syringe.

#7 Jim Hester in MD

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 06:22 PM

John, if you're sure you were mixing in the correct proportions then I would try changing to a stronger type (longer set time). I use Devcon 2 Ton epoxy whenever possible, which has about a 90 minute set time. I have used other brands & various set times, and occasionally would get a batch that just would not harden completely and would remain sticky, and I'm sure I mixed the 2 parts equally & completely.

I know at times humidity will affect the setting, and I've seen a few cases where the epoxy would finally get hard after several days, but would still have a slight tacky feeling. I've only had such problems with the shorter set time epoxies, and have never had that problem with the Devcon 2 Ton. I don't use 5 minute epoxies much, mainly because I'm usually working with a large bunch of flies at one time, but when I do I also make sure I use the Devcon brand.

I have no idea what causes that sticky problem, but I feel it has something to do with the shorter set times, and also feel that some brands are more prone to problems than others.

One other thing you might also try is to add a few drops of ethyl alcohol (camp stove fuel) when you mix. The alcohol will thin the epoxy a little and will aid in getting the 2 parts well mixed. The alcohol will also extend the set time & weaken the mix slightly too, but for tying purposes is not enough to make any difference.

Acetone can also be used for thinning epoxy but the alcohol is a whole lot healthier to work with. wink.gif

#8 chemprof2001

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 10:36 PM

John,

The resin is usually the least colored of the two materials. The hardeners contain either/or (and/or) amines and sulfide compounds, which have a tendency to oxidize a bit, with which they yellow. I've never used Permatex, I've usually stuck with Devcon, since that's the cheapest available brand around here. I've had very few problems with the epoxy not curing completely.

Mark
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#9 MSUICEMAN

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 09:38 PM

Another thing to think of is the ambient temperature. Most all epoxies are meant to cure at room temperature. Moisture also can be an issue, but usually this does not come into play less the extrema. As a rod builder, I do not advocate changing the recommend mixing ratio, as some bad bad things can happen (though not disastrous in fly tying).

Another thing to think about..... most epoxies will yellow over time. Some faster and more than others. Just the nature of the beast. The general rule of thumb, the quicker the cure time the more and faster yellowing will set in. On dark background or using as an adhesive it is not a problem. But if you are dead set in having a glossy finish over a dark background, I would look into several of the rod building finishes (permagloss, glasscoat, etc.) that being said, you will NEED a dryer for them, as the curing time is much much longer (like multiple multiple hours). The end result will be a sparkling finish.

steve
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#10 Big Daddy Hubbard

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 03:14 PM

very true!!...room temp is very important...I try to keep the temp in the studio a pleasant 70...comfortable and conducive to drying.....

#11 Dble Haul

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 03:38 PM

My solution to dealing with epoxy that is still a bit tacky...

I let all of my epoxy flies dry a minimum of overnight at room temperature (after setting on the drying wheel). The next day, if any of them are in the least bit tacky, I apply a thin layer of Hard as Nails. This seals the deal nicely, and also adds extra durability and gloss.

Works for me. biggrin.gif
Mark

#12 Big Daddy Hubbard

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 03:41 PM

good tip ,Mark! Have had several members say the same thing...have beeen fortunate...no probs with drying....yet.....

#13 DFix

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 02:38 PM

Ah, Epoxy....rather like Golf - not for everyone!

I shall write a primer on Epoxy, its uses, features and drawbacks. Until then, work with these several pieces of info.

Five Minute epoxy:
tends to go bad even if unopened.
may not mix evenly EVEN IF one proportions correctly, due to short work time and user's rush to mix.
may not always 'kick' - as some of you have discovered; attributable to age, conditions, etc.
is not waterproof.
will yellow and deteriorate if not coated with a longer setting type of coating, or a lacquer-based hard finish (Sally Hansen, etc.)

'Two Ton', or 'Extended Time' epoxy
requires attention to cure time when used in fly manufacturing. Will sag and droop until it 'kicks' if left in one position.
IS waterproof, in most cases.
Can and should be used to coat Five minute epoxy fly bodies - see above.

Neither is GOOD for coating rods. Both are EFFECTIVE in building rods, dependent on application.

For those who wish to use a fairly inexpensive rotary motor - get a rotisserie motor; make a square shaft to fit the chuck; mount a piece of your favorite whatever on the shaft; plug motor in; turn epoxy bodied flies.

All for now. Stay tuned.

#14 Big Daddy Hubbard

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 02:40 PM

Dave, thank you for following up with that info...great summary of important stuff to know! I think I speak for the whole community here when I say that we are looking forward to your involvement with the Tip forum.....great insights inot the traditions we hold so dear....

#15 chemprof2001

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 01:40 AM

Actually, the 5-minute epoxy is water proof, but the surface it is bonded to must have some teeth (rough spots). Even the 2-ton, or longer curing epoxy will lift off surfaces, if it doesn't have enough teeth to the surface when exposed to water for a long time. This should tell you something...the standard way for a polymer chemist to get a film off a surface is to submerge it in water and let the water slowly seep under the edges and lift the film off the surface. Therefore it becomes important to be careful with the edges of the material you put down. I did my share of work with epoxies when I worked at Dow Central Research. None of the stuff you get at hardware stores/homecenters is suitable for rod wraps, etc. (Yeah, I build/repair rods too.) The purpose for this stuff is really as an adhesive.

One quick hint...if you are shopping for epoxy (and buying the stuff in the clear plastic tubes) if the hardener looks real yellow to you, give it a pass. The stuff has been on the rack too long and the amines/sulfides in the hardener have oxidized making it yellow...means even if you mix it 1:1 it may not cure properly (besides being too yellow from the start).

Mark Delaney
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