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Devcon vs Envirotex Lite...a fight to the death

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Old 01-27-2008, 12:36 PM   #1
vc1111
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Default Devcon vs Envirotex Lite...a fight to the death

The following is my opinion only. I'm hoping to share it and garner your opinion and knowledge based upon your experience. Please feel completely free to add your ideas, opinions, and experience after reading this...

A great epoxy finish can make a mediocre bait look good and a great bait look amazing. It is one of the most noticed, admired, and talked about things when it comes to fishing lures. (So are bait eyes, but that is another most interesting and almost phenomenal topic, which I'll bring up later.)

Even if you do not build baits, you might still consider learning how to apply epoxy. It can make your "store bought" baits look better and last for years beyond their normal lifespan. Don't let the following discussion fool you. Although builders strive for perfection in every finish, applying epoxy isn't brain surgery. Anyone can learn to do it, and you have nothing to lose because your store-bought baits are going to get roughed up unless you protect them with a better finish.

Baits are cheap...until you buy a couple hundred or more over time. Many commercially sold lures have absolutely terrible finishes. Some very popular baits and some very expensive baits almost seem to be built with planned obsolescence by way of a cheap, flimsy, non-durable finish...so read on. I won't name names, but some very popular and rather expensive musky lures, for example, have a finish that is downright shameful.

Few things are talked about more than which clear coat is best, when bait building addicts get together. Everyone has their favorite and the purpose of the this thread is not to change anyone's mind as to which should be used. I would like to share my experiences and discuss what I see as advantages and disadvantages.

The foundation of the discussion goes something like this: Devcon is easier to use and can be mixed, applied, and cured quicker. It sets up nice, flow out well, and is stronger and harder. Envirotex is softer, but clearer, less prone to fogging, and won't yellow when exposed to UV rays under fishing conditions.

I've used both and still do.

I consider Devcon to be a harder, tougher finish overall. It is less prone to delamination over foil finishes and it is far less fussy to apply. It is also less prone to showing dust in the finish, which is something that drives building addicts to a slow and painful insanity. Devcon is extremely strong, but it can chip if the bait suffers a powerful enough impact at the right angle and it can show scratches and hook rash more readily than "Etex". If a fish torques the hook hanger hard enough, it can chip near the point where the screw eye enters the bait.

But...Devcon 2 ton is the only stuff I will use to secure lips to the bait, period. It will hold that lip secure under the harshest of fishing conditions. If you can find a fish that can rip a Devcon-secured lip out of a fishing lure, you do NOT want that fish in the boat with you. It is also one of only two materials I will use to secure screw eyes to the bait (Gorilla glue or similar products are the other material I use for securing screw eyes.)

Envirotex is far more beautiful finish. It is almost perfectly crystal clear and when layered properly, produces a deeper finish. It is just plain beautiful stuff. It is far less prone to UV yellowing, and does not show hook rash or scratches on the bait as quickly or as obviously as Devcon. (The Devcon scratches and hook rash do however, disappear when the bait gets wet.)

Envirotex is also much more difficult to use. It is "runnier" and takes much longer to "set up"...about 2 to 2 1/2 hours on the lure-spinning wheel versus Devcon at about 20 minutes or so. As a result, Envirotex will slow you're building process down a lot. You must be patient with the stuff, and there is far less margin for error. If you put it on too thick it will sag or create high spots and wavy lines in the finish. It probably should be allowed to cure for at least 24 hours before applying a second coat, or you'll risk and incomplete curing process. Allowing 48 hours or 72 hours for the first coat to cure would probably be even better to assure proper curing between coats. One can easily see how this slows the process of completing a bait.

Additionally, Envirotex seems to be a dust particle magnet. It almost seems to have a static charge that attracts dust particles when applied in "normal" thickness, which is the thickness you get if you mix it and begin applying it immediately (more on that in a moment).

Both Devcon and Etex are difficult to sand. Any errors in application, any dust boogers or dirt or paint particles that drift through the finish during application, are hardly easy to sand out afterward. But errors can be removed from both with patience, time, elbow grease, a keen eye for detail, and the appropriate grade of sandpaper.

Envirotex is a softer finish. It has some "give" to it and this is what prevents it from chipping and being prone to scratching and hook rash. But because of its softer finish, it is also prone to taking on the shape of whatever is laying against it if it is subjected to higher temps even after it is cured. In other words, if you leave it laying against something in the sun, for example, it might take on the impression of what its pressed against.

Which do I prefer? Lol, I've been building baits in one form or another for about 13 or 14 years, and I've been chopping wood for hard baits since early 2005 and I'm still not sure. I like them both and I hate them both.

For looks, I'll take Envirotex any day. Its just a prettier finish overall. If I'm going to subject a bait to the rigors of fishing, I'd turn to Devcon for its toughness and strength.

At this point in time, I'm trying to make peace with Etex. I've tried it several times in the past and put it aside because its too slow and too fussy to deal with. But as Jules said in Pulp Fiction, "I'm trying, Ringo, I'm trying." I love the look of the stuff, and I'm trying to see if I can blend the two types on the same bait to see how it will work out in the long run.

I've had the pearl bellies on just a few of my earlier baits yellow a bit, using Devcon. Now you'd never notice it if I showed you the baits, but I do. Only another certifiably-insane lure building addict would understand how that makes me crazy.

For now, here's what I'm doing: I'm sealing the baits with Minwax sanding sealer and then applying a coat of one or the other before priming. I then secure the lip with Devcon 2 ton epoxy. I am experimenting with a few baits to see if I can get away without resealing around the edges of the lips with a second coat of Devcon. Not sealing around the edges of the lip a second time makes me a bit edgy as to whether or not the lip will remain sealed, but I'm trying it anyway because I'm trying to eliminate what might be an unnecessary step in the process.

Beyond sealing the lip with Devcon, I'm currently using strictly Envirotex.

I've discovered a few things about Etex that I'd like to share...



If you mix it and allow it to sit for about 20 to 25 minutes, it goes on much thicker. It also behaves much better; not so prone to running. But this is a very delicate balance. Put it on too thick and it will give you a very slightly "wavy" finish instead of a perfectly smooth one (which doesn't bother me all that much), and it is prone to sagging on the drying wheel.

On smaller baits, such as bass and walleye baits, where a thinner epoxy coat is required, just apply either type of epoxy immediately after mixing it. Too thick of a coat of epoxy of any type may have an adverse effect on smaller baits. Also bass and walleye baits do not have the risk of being pierced by musky teeth.

Unlike Devcon-finished baits, you cannot just slap Etex on your bait, stick it on the drying wheel, walk away, and forget about it. You must monitor the bait on the wheel for about 45 minutes to perhaps an hour. If it sags on the bait, you must remove the bait, remove the excess Etex, and return it to the wheel.

Allowing the Etex to sit for 20 minutes prior to application to the bait also seems to remove that seemingly static charge, which attracts dust particles form the air somehow. Letting it sit seems to yield a much more booger-free finish for some reason.

My man, Tigger, tells me that he heats his Etex in a microwave before application. I haven't tried that yet, but I may. If you look at his baits, you quickly learn to listen carefully when he talks about finishes.!%

You must rotate Etex quickly after you pass the heat gun over it...
I hold all my baits in a small pair of vice grips. I clip them in by the tail hook-hanger for certain paint applications and when applying Devcon or Envirotex. I've noticed that when I hit the Envirotex with the heat gun to remove the bubbles, you must immediately being to rotate the bait in your hand (by way of rotating the vice grips) for a minute or so to prevent sagging. It isn't that tricky, but you must rotate the bait for a few seconds and let the Etex cool a bit before taking it to the drying wheel, because it will want to sag. It does flow out nicely though and will "level out" for you. I try to keep the bait parallel to the ground so that the Etex does not run toward the head or tail section of the bait.

Enough for now. Hope that helps our newer builders and I welcome all opinions, whether it be from the newer guys or the old salts.

Last edited by vc1111; 05-25-2008 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 01-27-2008, 01:29 PM   #2
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vc1111, I feel like I learn something everytime I sit in on one of your classes.
You have that ability to make one understand.
I have learned a lot from your posts and I try to apply this to my bass lures.
I use the Devcon 2 ton. Have never tried the Envirotex.

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Old 01-27-2008, 02:38 PM   #3
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I don't have a lot of experience in lure making but here is my $0.02. I tried the 30 minute (is there a Devcon epoxy with a longer set time?) Devcon a couple of times and I felt rushed to get it on the bait and on the drying wheel. It seemed to go on thicker than the Envirotex Lite so I felt I had to take more care in applying it evenly. It also seemed to be more difficult to get the bubbles out of the Devcon than out of the Envirotex. I can't comment on how well they hold up since I just started lure making.

Thanks for starting this thread Vince. Good stuff.
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Old 01-27-2008, 03:13 PM   #4
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i prefer extex over devcon, tried devcon once, didnt like it, sets to fast, but etex and Nu Lustre(another epoxy ) take longer, for a perfect blend between the 2 , i have settled on nu lustre 55 made by circa, alot thicker then etex,yet not as thick as devcon, doesnt yellow, has some flex like etex, takes the same time to set up as etex, i pre heat both bottles in a warm bath before pouring, no probs, not a dust magnet either, tiny bubbles can be torched away, hope this helps someone

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Old 01-27-2008, 03:32 PM   #5
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Vince, you hit it right on the head....it seems that this dilemma is always a hot topic among builders and there are definitely pros and cons for both. I have tried every finish coat out there except for Crystal Sheen which I know many Musky bait builders use and Dick Nite's which I don't think will stand up to Musky teeth. I use Devcon strictly now for the toughness quality and the fact that I have used it so much that I know how to apply it, but I have used Etex and like it for the super clearness quality. Too bad there isn't one that has the properties of each....I keep searching.

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Old 01-27-2008, 04:16 PM   #6
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Is there a clear coat you prefer for different materials?

Is one better on wood?

Is one better on plastic?


I know I am behind the pace set by the others on this board but I am getting really close now to starting. lol
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Old 01-27-2008, 08:29 PM   #7
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Goolies, Devcon 2 is the 30 minute stuff.

By the way, for anyone interested in trying to build or protect commercially sold baits...do NOT use 5 minute epoxy by Devcon to clear coat lures. It sets up way too fast and supposedly yellows badly. A lot of guys do use it for installing Lexan lips though, and they seem to like just fine for that.

Rod, I know Devcon is just plain hard to beat and I'm also so used to using it, but I built a few last year with Etex, so I'm going to try again this year.

Weatherby, both Devcon and Envirotex are both good on wood or plastic, but if you're going to try one or the other for the first time, I'd definitely go with Devcon because its so much easier to work with. Envirotex is much more prone to runs because of the time it takes to set up. And when you're ready to try just ask any questions you want, my friend. I'll be glad to do what I can to get you going.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:24 PM   #8
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I agree 100% with Vince epoxy makes old lures look great (how does that stuff bring out the colors!) and new lures even better. I have never tried Etex before, so I don't have a opinion on it.

Weatherby, Don't be afraid to give it a try. I was nervous at first, thinking I would ruin my paint on them,etc. I am in debt to Vince for his help in protecting my baits. Just from PM's he talked me through it and was something I was glad I did. For $2.00 you can do 2 coats on about 6 lures. And the more you do it the better you get with knowing how much to mix, using the hair dryer, etc.

Vince, once again a great thread. Keep the info coming for us newbies. Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:16 AM   #9
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Man Vince you hit square on the head!!!!!!!!!! Bravo. I just came up from the basement after coating some baits. All I could think of is I hope they look ok in the morning! LOL Thus the issues of envirotex. This last week and a good one this morning .............. The fears of discovery when you flip on the light with Enivrotex.
Today I started the day by checking a bait that had the finish coat applied the night before and found the a ridge line was formed by access epoxy and that I had some "fish eyes" Not the ones on the bait but when you have some contamination on the bait and the finish will not bridge over that spot. It is a circle of dry uncovered clear coat. This is the one thing I hate the most about the envirotex. The long set time. It gives things a chance to go south. As Vince had mentioned........... after applying the envirotex I had started doing that monitoring window time frame to watch the etex as it has its early spin cycles. If I see the epoxy starting to tumble I can take a whif with a brush and remove it from the bait. I really believe the static attraction also. I can watch the bait and see at times things jump right to it. Mostly on dry very cold air days.

My basement is very cold down there. 61 degrees. I have to heat the etex up so it will work better for me. I will only put it there for about 11 seconds or so. just to get it to 70 to 80 degree range. I also find with the little warmer temp of the mixture the micro air bubbles rise fast to the surface and can be removed easily.

Etex in its time frame........... As Vince had mentioned previously. I am learning that you must let the mixture set for at least 5 minutes or a tad longer. This makes a big difference in the sense of the reaction taking place. When I first started using it I would mix and start to slap it on the bait. After 24 hours the bait was still 100 percent dry. This will start to cause a chain reaction. I thought I could just apply another coat over with no problems down the line............ butt I was wrong. The other top coats will not cure also. If I am doing walleye baits I like to coat them right after 5 minutes of setting. These coats will go on alot thinner in nature. This is a good thing not to throw your smaller lures out of whack with a heavier bodied clear coat. For the musky lures I will coat those a little later. The etex starts to act more like the devcon in viscosity. There is a point about 30 minutes after mixing the etex when it starts to act funny while applying to a bait. It starts to get stringy. The reaction of hardening has begun. No sense in proceeding with the coating at this point. Finish the one you are on. A little heat from a heat gun will let it lay down nice with no problems. I will usually only coat 6 lures at one time. It tends to be more like 4.

After the bait has been coated....... I have started to think that having the cooler temp in the basement is not such a bad thing after the bait has been coated. The etex starts to thicken as the colder air gets ahold of it. I am thinking that this might reduce the running. It seems also to increase the amount of clear material on the lure. Not sure. I could be also that I started to learn from the mistakes and discoveries of using this material. It is incredible the clarity of the etex. It is like liquid air for sure.

Devcon, I use it to put in all my lips on. Very easy to work with. I will use it also on my smaller walleye baits at times. The stuff is very hard. The hook rash is less with this material also. The only thing I have noticed with it is that with the bigger musky baits it can get chippy. I did do a little experiment with the UV from the sun on it. I was suprised how it yellows a bit. Not a super bad thing but I did notice it. Maybe I will do a little sample to show it and attach at a later date.

The clear coat is madness all of its own for sure. Sometimes I want to take the bait off and smash it on the floor for not coming out right. Butt then I remind myself that it is a fun hobby and their are many other things greater importance going on in the world. After having that mind set about the etex I think I have made peace with it and it has been more user friendly for me.

Great post Vince!
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:21 PM   #10
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I have a question,,,This is about the smaller bass lures. If you coat a lure with Etex and air bubbles cause a lot of craters in it, can you cover the Etex with Devcon2 after about 24 hours?
Or should you put another coat of Etex on to cover the craters?
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:11 AM   #11
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Jim, I believe you could. I have taken devcon lures and coated them with etex later and they came out great. You can put a second coat on them with the etex. I know with the smaller lures you have to watch out to throw them out of whack.
Sometimes what I will do with the those little craters is mix some 5 minute devcon and dab them or rub them with my finger to work it into the airpocket. I will then let it dry and wet sand it the next day till it is smooth. I will use 320 grit. Then I will recoat it again usually with very good results. You may still have a white dot .......... but it will be covered.
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:15 AM   #12
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This is all good info..certainly alot to learn about sealing...I have a question about releasing air bubbles...Some of you mention using a torch and some use heat guns or hair dryers. I realize a torch is very hot, direct heat and the others less hot and with a broader air flow. Question..is one better than another and which works best for Etex vs D2T...Have any of you used a torch on D2T? The reason I am asking is when I use D2T on foils and the fact that I rub-in every scale for depth and better detail, it seems my D2T goes on so thick over the scaling, I can't remove the air bubbles with a hair dryer and I am getting a foggy looking finish. Any thoughts or tips on this?
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:16 AM   #13
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Fug, its another one of those trade-offs, from my experience anyway.

Devcon clings well to foil, but it seems to add a slightly fogged effect, almost every time.

Etex, on the other hand doesn't fog nearly as much, but I've had it delaminate from the foil under fishing conditions. If you're going to use etex, bury that foil under several coats and hope for the best. I only had one problem with it, but that's usually enough of a sign that something is wrong between the etex and foil.

The Devcon seems to fog no matter what you do with it. I've heated it, tried putting it on in two thin coats, or one thick coat. It doesn't seem to make a difference. You might try clearing it first with Krylon Clear Glaze and the hitting it with Devcon to see how that works out as far as the fogging problem. I'm considering trying that myself to eliminate the fogging issue.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:01 PM   #14
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I've coated 3 cranks in the etex lite (2 coats) and really like it. I think I will be switching over. I really like the much longer working time as well as the much thinner thickness when compared to D2T- better for smaller crankbaits. It does also seem softer and also clearer than the D2T.
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:33 AM   #15
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Pretty much dead-on information, I use both and agree with your observations on their use. One thing , epoxy does have a shelf life so I always try to buy from someplace that moves a lot of epoxy and don't get the one on the hook thats covered with dust or displayed close to a window or direct sun.
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:43 AM   #16
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I saw that this thread popped up again, and I figured I'd post something of an update.

I've now pretty much switched over to using envirotex exclusively for the finish portion of the building process. I also use it between layers of paint and as a secondary sealer (after I've dipped the bare wood bait in Minwax sanding sealer).

I guess you could say I've made peace with the stuff and I've learned a lot about its idiosyncrasies and how to deal with them effectively.

Here's a few more things I've learned about the stuff in the process:

It definitely has an electrostatic charge after you first pour it and mix it. I just purchased another batch of the stuff (I bought the half gallon size kit). When I poured the first shot out of the bottle, the clear portion actually had so much static charge to it, that it reached across the bench in a long string and began trying to stick itself to the work light on my bench! This static charge seems to dissipate if you allow the mixed batch to sit for a while, as I mentioned above.

Therefore, I would recommend AGAINST immediately beginning application of the stuff (right after you finish mixing it) as is outlined in the instructions that come with the stuff. If you're doing table tops or other rather large projects (as compared to doing 6 or 7 baits at a time), those instructions are probably appropriate...but there is a reason for that...when you mix a larger batch, the chemistry is different. The larger the batch you mix, the more heat it generates within the container and the faster it "sets up." But that is not the case when you're clearing/sealing baits...you need only a batch about the size of a medicine cup to do about 4 to 7 musky baits...you could probably do nearly a dozen bass or walleye baits with that same amount. Bottom line: Let it sit for a while before application...about 15 to 20 minutes perhaps...and the electrostatic charge is gone...you'll have far, far, fewer problems with dust. A bonus is that it tend to "thicken" a bit, as I mentioned in my first post on this thread, and it is much easier to apply.

Contrary to an awful lot about what is written about this stuff, I mix it with almost no concern as to creating bubbles in the stuff during the mixing process. I've read a ton of info about trying to avoid getting bubbles in it as you mix...stuff like "Don't 'whip' it, just mix it slowly," or "Mix it with a plastic stick, not a wooden popsicle/craft stick."

Heck, I just mix it, period. I let it sit and 98% of the bubbles disappear, while I'm waiting the 15 to 20 minutes or so before application. The other 2% I can easily eliminate by simply passing the heat gun over the container of mixed envirotex immediately before I begin brushing it on my baits.

The shelf life of Envirotex is long...
I just finished using stuff that I purchased over a year ago. That's an advantage over Devcon, which seems to yellow in the tube even while its sitting on the shelf at Walmart!

Now, the envirotex hardener will take on a bit of color over the course of a year. But it seems to have no effect at all on the finish or hardness. It does tend to set up a tad faster as it ages...which is actually a small advantage...you need only allow it to sit for 12 to 15 minutes and it begins to thicken up nicely before application to the bait.

Overall, then, I'm glad I made the switch. I still need to build a better wheel, since mine is three years old and a bit on the wobbly side, but the envirotex is , in my opinion, a somewhat better overall finish for lure building. It slows down the building process, but if you have a number of baits in various stages of the building process, you really don't notice it at all. You just finish the same number of baits in a different way.

Hope that helps and as I said at the top of this thread, all of this is just my opinion and my experience. Yours may differ and that's okay. There are a number of ways to achieve similar results when building lures.
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Old 06-18-2008, 02:57 AM   #17
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I've learned with the etex that it's better to use not enough hardener than to use too much. If you use too much it won't completely cure. On my last batch just today I probably did a 60:40 mix (less hardener) and after about 10 hours the lure appears dry to the touch. Probably should use a scale for the small batches I mix (usually just enough for 1 small bass crank).

and what's the minimum # of coats of etex you would use for a bass crank?

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Old 06-18-2008, 08:22 AM   #18
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For me it depends on the wood I'm using and the lip.

A short subtle lip generally creates a subtle action, which could be dampened a bit too much by applying to much clear.

Also some wood, like cedar, is so dang bouncy it will take a lot of coats with seemingly no effect on the action of the bait. Thus with cedar, I'll put up to four coats on a bass/walleye bait and not worry too much about affecting or dampening the action.

As a rule of thumb, I like two coats on a bass bait just to protect it from its own hooks and any rocks the bait might encounter.
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:43 AM   #19
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great thread !
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