BrianBM

Epoxy Notes and Questions

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Devcon 5-minute sets up so fast that mixing more than enough for one or two flies is a waste. I tried to extend the working time by letting the mixing cup, one of those little aluminum disposables from a hobby shop, sit in a dish full of ice water. It didn't really work.

 

Has anyone tried keeping the 5-minute in the fridge? It'll need more effort to mix, but if it's cold and also thinned with alcohol, will you get a longer working time?

 

I went back to Devcon 2-ton, which really needs 24 hours for a complete cure, with this in mind. A note of thanks to whomever told me that isopropyl alcohol thins epoxy; it sure does. I overdid it with the first batch and now I'll have to wait and see how long it takes to cure.

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One thing about thinning epoxy; it causes porosity in the material. The alcohol never fully mixes with the epoxy, so after it cures, the alcohol evaporates out of it, leaving a porous matrix. This means your epoxy is no longer waterproof. Depending on what you're doing, it could or couldn't be a problem.

 

As for using temperature to delay the set time, definitely doable. I think HL here has put rod building epoxy in the fridge or freezer to extend it's working time and give it a greater window for bubbles to rise and pop. These epoxies typically have a much longer life than devcon. I've applied low build as much as a 45 minutes after mixing it, though I was definitely pushing my limits.

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Ah ha....thank you. The flies have been rotated long enough to let the epoxy set in place, they can sit outside all night to continue curing, and tomorrow I'll see if the use of alcohol has either discolored the epoxy or made it less than transparent.

 

For my purposes, sticking to the 2-ton will do. The flies I've been tying are small. If bluefish don't snip them off, I'll probably break off the points with a low backcast.  :)

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I have always done my candies in 2 steps. First is 5 minute, it only coats the hair, that's it. I can get quite a few done. Once they're cured I use 2 ton to build the body. 

 

Regarding cooling, I don't think it will help much with 5 minute. My rod building area is in an unfinished attic. Temps are routinely in the 50s to low 60s in the winter. The epoxy is a little harder to work with, it starts setting up at about the same time but takes much longer to cure. Obviously, cooling the epoxy like Brian is asking about is different than working in a cold room but I haven't noticed and increased working time. Once you starting mixing that chemical reaction provides its own heat and it seems to overcome the cooler beginning temps rather quickly.

 

I had a one minute epoxy. That stuff was pretty easy to work with. You could do 2-4 flies per batch, same 2 step method as above. That was my preferred way to make candies.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

How quickly does the 5-minute epoxy yellow? Does the second coat of 2 ton reduce or slow the yellowing?

Edited by BrianBM
A six letter word meaning "to slow" is banned.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

5 min starts yellowing the second its done curing. The 2-ton coating makes a little bit of difference but it still yellows. But more importantly, the fish don't care.

Edited by Drew C.

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Purely on the basis of working time, I'll stick with the 2-ton. Eight more Mikkelson Epoxy Baitfish this a.m., time to give them that first coat.

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On 7/4/2020 at 6:09 PM, BrianBM said:

How quickly does the 5-minute epoxy yellow? Does the second coat of 2 ton reduce or slow the yellowing?

I found the 5 min starts to yellow just a little after a month. But after 12 months the flies are yellow as hell. And the 5 min stuff stinks. 
 

I do use the 2 ton for volume work. It never sets as well as the UV stuff, but it’s strong.

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I did a batch of lavender-colored Mikkelson Epoxy baitfish. Some are 5 minute, some are 2-ton, and now I am starting on flourescent yellow over white. They'll stay uncompleted until an order arrives from Bear's Den, I'm out of Krystal Flash and other stuff. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Brian,   Curious to know if you and others posted in this thread have an aversion to using UV resins as opposed to the mixing and messiness with two part epoxies, not to mention time saved?    Some make the argument for strength but I have some UV flies going on three years and they look just fine.   Never had a problem with them cracking or breaking.   That jewelry resin I found to replace Solarez has virtually no smell, is easy to work with on a bodkin, even in heavier amounts,  and it's one application and done.   Doesn't yellow.   I must be missing something unless it's one desire to be a traditionalist and keeping to the original recipe of the fly designer ?   Another nice thing about the UV is you can put the smallest dab on your bodkin to use to hold things in place before the final coating.   Lateral stripes are a breeze to put in place y with just a dab and then overcoat for the final application.    I must be missing something?  Please enlighten.   Thx,

 

HT

 

Trying to get close to FySully's description of 1-1/2" to 2" ties.   These are about 2", one on a No 4 and the other on a No. 2.  

 

UV1.png.9f640cb984b859d1b723660bfcc90ae5.png

UV2.png.7a3f4de862d1a80ca515e5262c6105c2.png

 

Edited by HillTop

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HillTop, I have no aversion to UV materials at all. I happen to have a fair amount of epoxy on hand. It's nice to sit in the back yard tying flies, the breeze takes care of the smell. I know I'll lose most of the flies in one of two ways.  Two thirds I will smash with sloppy, low back casts on my neighborhood's stony beaches. The other third will be cut off by the one bluefish within five miles of where I'm standing and casting. Satan always notices fly anglers, and if the fly looks good and you worked unreasonably long to tie it, Satan will find a bluefish to send to you. I don't care if you're casting in a freshwater bass pond, Lake Superior, the upper Snake River, a sand pit or a coal mine. There's going to be a bluefish.  :)

 

 

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I’m not sure it’s possible to delay the chemical reaction within the two parts of epoxy? I was going to suggest going with 30 minute as it gives more time and would be fine since you’re using a drying wheel it seems. 

 

I would just mix up small batches in order to satisfy each fly and just mix per fly. Not ideal for mass production though. 

 

Also, UV light is what causes yellowing in epoxy, so if you’re tying your flies far in advance of fishing them I’d suggest putting them in a box so no light penetrates. From my experience, I feel like most of my epoxy flies would go between 2-6 months before yellowing but I would be thorough about really only letting them be exposed to light when fishing or traveling while the fly was attached to my rod. 

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I'm aware that UV is what leads epoxy to yellow. The 2-ton is what I've settled on, but as long as I'm experimenting with flies AND a mediocre caster, it hardly matters. Flies are disposables, and the ones I fish have a shorter life than most.  :)   I also found some ancient Flex-Coat in the basement, left over from my rod-building (decades ago), and I have no reason not to use that as well.

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I took the 2 day bob pop seminar 25 years ago before he converted to light cured acrylics.  You needed 5 minute for flies like surf candies or ultimate shrimp as you control where the epoxy goes right up until it sets/stops moving around.  30 minute was good for other patterns where the horizontal shape is fairly consistent and can be put on a turner.  Both 5 and 30 minute in the squeeze bottles in Devcon or Zpoxy were favored because you can easily control that equal amounts of resin and hardener are side by side on the post-it before mixing begins.  There was one guy on this forum that got exceptional results with gorilla brand 5 minute epoxy.  I've only seen it in the double plunger tubes which can get messy and is not as easy to control.  Anyhow the gorilla brand epoxy was not supposed to yellow/amber up as quickly as the others.  I don't fish the candies as much as I used to and have a drawer full of amber ones but I took a picture of this fly that was still drying on my kitchen counter since being fished a few weeks ago.. (they still work).  It is a ~10 year old fly that spent most of its life in my console that I did with the Gorilla 5 minute stuff.  It does not yellow at all like the others. Not that the fish care..

 

20200707_141135.jpg

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