How to apply epoxy...

Discussion in 'Tackle Making' started by vc1111, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. ..or at least...this is how I do it.:D

    Questions about this arise repeatedly. I posted this previously on another board and thought I'd share it here for all my OGF friends...

    If you're interested in trying to achieve a flawless finish (meaning as flawless as, seems like theres always a flaw if you look hard enough)...try to slow down when applying the final topcoats.

    Put down a clean piece of paper for a work area. It can be an old magazine or the backside of something you copied, but its always good to have a clean work area and a clean spot to place the lure before you begin.

    Wash your hands thoroughly first. Your hands very often contain dust of one type or another which will fall onto the sticky surface and show in the final finish.

    Clean your brush of all dust particles by fanning it with your finger or thumb till you can no longer see dust flying off the bristles. Also remove any loose bristles so they can't get dragged into the epoxy during the application process.

    Mix the epoxy on a clean non-porous surface. Some guys like the bottom of a soda can. I like medicine cups because if you buy them by the hundred count, they are cheap and disposable...about 4 cents a piece...for four cents, I don't have to slow down and clean anything when I'm done and if I'm mixing envirotex instead of Devcon 2 ton epoxy, the medicine cups have markings on the side which help you achieve a perfect 50/50 mix every time.

    I prefer use acid brushes for applying the epoxy. I crimp the tip near the bristles with a pair of pliers to lock down the bristles and fan the brush to remove loose bristles and dust. I do not clean the acid brushes. I toss them when I'm done, because for the cost (about sixteen cents if you buy them in bulk), I don't have to repeatedly expose myself to the toxic solvents required to clean any type of epoxy. For me at least, it is not worth the health hazard, which you will repeatedly encounter if you make baits in any quantity at all...say 50 baits a year times only two coats per are inhaling highly toxic chemicals 100 times per year...unless you wear a mask and how much trouble is that?

    I prefer to avoid mixing on paper or any other surface that might have tiny loose particles on it, because the tiniest of particles will usually show in the finish after it dries.

    Mix thoroughly. I use wooden sticks similar to popsicle sticks and despite the idea that it may throw a few bubbles into the mix, they work great. The heat gun remove all bubbles anyway. I know others prefer plastic mixing sticks of some type but I have easier access to popsicle sticks so I use them and toss them after using both ends several times.

    After application of the epoxy, take a moment and turn the bait over as you hold it under a light and carefully examine it for any fish eyes, missed spots or dust boogers. If you find dust, you can at times just remove them by wiping them off with your finger or rolling a toothpick next to them to sort of roll them onto the toothpick.

    If you find minor dust or epoxy specks in the finish during the first one or two coats, you can usually leave them as they are and just sand them lightly with fine grade sandpaper prior to the application of the next coat.

    Once you apply the epoxy LEAVE IT ALONE and put it on the spinner or spin it by hand by holding the bait by the tail with a vice grips. Don't keep brushing it and trying to spread it...It will only get progressively worse and it will almost always flow itself out nice and level after normal brushing.

    Try to apply the next coat before the previous coat has fully cured...once the first coat has dried to the point where the bait can be carefully handled. By doing this, the next coat will chemically bond to the first giving you the best possible bond between coats. I've had occasion to have to sand out aberrations in a finish and have noticed that allowing the epoxy to fully cure between coats creates a distinct separation between the two, which could create the possibility of delamination of the latter coats, especially with envirotex under certain conditions and most especially if the first coat is applied over foiling. With Devcon, I try to apply the second or next coat after 4 to six hours.

    With envirotex, which I use almost exclusively these days, I find that leaving it sit with a cover over the medicine cup (to preclude dust settling on the surface...I use a piece of scrap Lexan as a cover) makes it gel slightly. Because it is a bit thicker after allowing it to sit for ten to 15 minutes, it behaves much more like Devcon...goes on evenly, less prone to run, and far less prone to show dust and foreign particles. It will only slightly abbreviate your working time, but it will go on a bit thicker and require less coats to achieve any desired level of protection. By allowing it to thicken just a bit, I find that I can usually get by with three to four coats instead of four to six thin coats and the finishes are clearly superior and have far fewer flaws. It is probably the best tip I can share about envirotex. I've found that applying envirotex immediately after mixing encourages separations and fish eyes. I know there are times when you only want one thin coat, but even then I let it sit for 10 minutes and try to apply it sparingly while still covering the bait completely.
  2. Cutt'em Jack

    Cutt'em Jack Musky Madman

    Nice post. Sure helps with the learning curve for us newbies. Think you could add to this post for cures for certain problems? I know I get thin spots on the edges of baits or a fisheye somewhere. I would like to know how you guys handle certain problems that you encounter when working with epoxies.

  3. Cutt em, good question. The edges of bait cannot be to sharp or the epoxy will have a tendency to back away from the edge leaving a spotty or serrated look to the edge. I try to round those edges a bit during the carving/sanding/shaping process to avoid this, when I can. When I get a sharper edge (meaning an edge similar to the corner along the length of a fresh piece of lumber), I let the epoxy set up a bit and try to put it on that edge and dab it a bit so it sticks a bit more firmly.

    If necessary, you may have to just cure the problem with repeated coats only on those areas and sand a bit and proceed with the other coats till your finally done.

    When I get a fisheye or a dimple in the epoxy, I just let it dry and then sand just enough to scuff a bit around those areas so that the next coat will have a tendency to stay on those areas. The dimples and fisheyes will usually be leveled with one an usually no more than two additional coats.
  4. I know that you guys fish for the toothy critters and put several coats of epoxy on to protect it. If you were making bass cranks, would you put on more than one heavy coat of Devcon?
  5. Great tips Vince, You hit them all! Nice post!

    Jim I think one coat should be fine for the bass cranks.
  6. Thanks Tig

    Yes, great posts Vince