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Posted 18 February 2008 - 09:05 PM
I have painted for a couple of years now, and I have used all sorts of different epoxies, and I never get a perfect finish. Just want to know if anyone has any suggestions as to how I can get a smoother finish. I always seem to have some sort of uneven part in my epoxy once it dries. The following is what I normally do to finish my lures.
I currently use Flex Coat (High Build), but I have used Devcon 2 Ton in the past as well. I am thinking about switching to Flex Coat Lite, because most of the lures I paint are suspending lures, and I've been told that will help keep the lure from getting too weighed down.
After applying my epoxy I always use my "set it and forget it" rotisorie that I recieved as a wedding gift years ago to rotate my lures. I attach the lures to the outer portion of the wheel with alligator clips. I then turn the rotator on, but I ussualy turn the heat on the rotisorie for about 30 seconds, because it seems to get the bubbles out of the epoxy. After I turn the heat off, I leave the rotary on for about 45 minutes. I let it sit over night and then its finished.
I think what is happening is that when I turn the heat on, it thins out the epoxy, and makes it get clumpy in areas. But if I don't turn the heat on, I have noticed bubbles in my finished products in the past.
Posted 18 February 2008 - 09:18 PM
Allow it to spin for 5-10 minutes and then hit it with the heat. I let my Devcon2Ton spin for a while then take a blow dryer on "low" and "warm" to get rid of any bubbles and help speed the drying process up. I only spend 2 minutes or so on each bait with the hair dryer.
Posted 18 February 2008 - 09:21 PM
I spin mine for at least 8 hours. I am using system 3 Clear Coat, done the same with System 3 Mirror Coat and Envirotex. Usually comes out like glass. I have seen that uneven finished product with 2 ton sometimes. Dries much faster than the above products though. If bubbles occur I hit the plug just lightly with a propane torch quickly. Don't over do it. I find that keeping the environment at least between 70 and 80 degrees makes a world of difference. I explained the spinner in detail below in the spinner post. Good luck. Paul
Posted 18 February 2008 - 09:29 PM
Regarding the clumping, you may well have answered your own question. But the underlying problem is the bubbles. Are the bubbles in the epoxy and could be attributed to your mixing technique OR are the bubbles eminating from the body. Close examination should reveal the answer.
Epoxy is an exothermic chemical reaction, in other words, it gives off heat. If the body is light balsa, this heat will cause the air inside to expand and find a way through your sealer.
The heat you apply would worsen this condition, but would also help clear the bubbles away.
I can see a couple of solutions to this problem: a more substantial sealer and/or warm the lures up, under a lamp, before applying the top coat. This way the air escapes before you apply the epoxy.
Vacuum systems have been discussed in the past, during the sealing process. This would allow deeper sealer penetration and make air escape more difficult.
Try a few searches on key words like sealer, bubbles, vacuum etc. I'm sure you will find an answer that works.
Posted 18 February 2008 - 10:47 PM
Those are all very helpful comments. I have used an air drier in the past, but stopped doingthat after I had noticed some dust particlles sticking to some of my lures. I think if I let the lure set for while before using the heat, it will give the epoxy some time to dry. It really has been hit or miss as to whether or not I get a good finish or a uneven finish. I could never pinpoint what was causing it, but my guess is that when I started using the Flex Coat I started noticing it more, and think that is because it takes longer to set, and if you apply the heat to early, it almost turns into water. I will definately try all of those other options though. Preheating the lure sounds like a pretty good idea too, but I would be too afraid of ruining the paint job. I use Auto Air and I am not sure how that will react to heat. No to sure I want to find out either, after I have spent time painting. Now that I think of it, I am also in my basement where it is about 60 Degrees, so that may be prolonging my dry times too. It's amazing how many little things can screw up a days worth of work.
Thanks for the help
Posted 18 February 2008 - 10:57 PM
Try Envirotex Lite. It takes 12 hrs.+ to become tack free, but I can coat the lures after I put them on the drying wheel, and then turn it on, hit them all with a hair dryer for a minute or so each as it's turning (1rpm) and then let it turn all night. I check for dry spots as I'm hair drying them, and can add a little more epoxy on the dry spots, or just brush them out, and hit the with the dryer one more time.
And I can use the brush to remove any excess I see starting to sag onto the underside or edges of the bait before it sets.
The slower setting epoxy gives me time to coat as many baits as my wheel will hold (8 pieces) although the most I've done is 4 at a time. That way, I have enough room to coat each one on the wheel, without them getting in my way.
If it's cold and epoxy starts to get stiff in the mixing cup, I hit it with the hair dryer, and it becomes more runny and easier to spread. In hot weather it lasts for the entire coating procedure. Even in the cold, if I have some left over, I can reheat it and use it to coat the insides of the joints of the next batch of jointed lures, which makes it easier to coat them when I put them on the wheel.
Coating the insides of the joints is the hardest part of coating jointed lures. Grrrr!!!!
I usually coat in the evenings, and turn the wheel off the next morning, but don't take them off until that next evening, giving them 24 hrs. to set.
If you wipe Etex epoxy down with rubbing alcohol, you can re coat after 24 hrs. without sanding, which I do before I take them off the wheel. Two coats of epoxy, on the larger baits I make, doesn't affect the action or buoyancy of the bait, and it makes them more resistant to "rock rash".
Posted 18 February 2008 - 11:13 PM
So does the rubbing alcohol actually strip down the Epoxy? Can you rubb the uneven areas to smooth it out? I only ask, because I ussualy sand and then recoat. Also, for the lures that the epoxy finished uneven, I would love to be able to refinish them without sanding and having a somewhat cloudy finish.
Posted 18 February 2008 - 11:38 PM
I wouldn't spend hours painting the Mona Lisa to try out a new technique. Rough out a quick test piece. Seal it in your usual way. Splash some paint on it. THEN try the technique.
Another, more effective way to pre-heat, is to set up an open box, so the air can circulate. Set up a hair drier. Control the temperature by adjusting the distance of the drier. You only want to warm the lures through (not just the surface), so just a hand warm airflow is enough.
If you heat is too hot, yes you will damage the paint, but you do not need to get close to those kind of temperatures.
Hope you get it sorted out.
Posted 18 February 2008 - 11:40 PM
I wipe down with alcohol after the first coat is set, 24hrs. I don't use alcohol to smooth the first coat, only to prep for the next coat.
I was told by the tech at Envirotex that it was unnecessary to sand between coats, provided I wiped with alcohol between coats.
If I have a really rough spot after the first coat has set, I will sand with 400 grit, and then recoat. But I only sand the rough spot, not the whole lure, and then do my alcohol wipe down and recoat.
Posted 18 February 2008 - 11:46 PM
I've repainted and recoated light jerkbaits baits like Orbit 80s, which are 5/16th oz. suspending jerkbaits, and they still suspend. I sand off the paint, but not what's in the cross hatch scale pattern, and the spray with Createx, and coat with one coat of Etex Lite.
Posted 18 February 2008 - 11:49 PM
That's the answer I was looking for. Thanks for the help.
Posted 19 February 2008 - 12:14 AM
I ajust the fall/suspend rate of small suspending jerkbaits by changing hook and split ring size. If you repaint/recoat a lure and it no longer suspends, try changing out the hood setup to a lighter/smaller hook and split ring.
In the spring, when I want a jerbait to float down onto a bed and sit there, I put larger hooks and split rings on the front.
They also cast a little better with the larger hook setups, due to the additional weight, but Orbits cast really well out of the box, and they consistently suspend at 3-4' from the factory.
Posted 19 February 2008 - 12:23 AM
Ozark!!! THINNER!!!...HEAT UP THE BAIT BEFORE YOU APPLY THE EPOXY!!! only do one or 2 lures at a time.. SUPER SUPER THIN!!! Really I think Dicknites is the ticket from what Dean has been telling me..... but if you must use epoxy.. Try and get your epoxy as thin as possible.. I have some epoxy you havent tried yet!! PM and I will email you the brand if you want it.. its 15 min work time and THIN!!! DRIES CLEAR NO YELLOW!!! HOLDS UP AND YOU CAN SUSPEND YOUR JERKBAITS!!
Posted 19 February 2008 - 12:31 AM
It may also be a matter of technique. If you're using a good brush and wetting out the bait surface properly, you'll seldom see bubbles in the finished product. I always have bubbles in my Devcon, sometimes it's even milky from all the air whipped into it. But as I brush it out on the lure the bubbles disappear. You never want to feel your brush drag on dry lure surface when you brush epoxy. Keep the brush filled so it goes on smoothly and you'll have fewer problems. I use inexpensive but good quality flat artist brushes and clean them with acetone afterwards. My last set of 5 brushes have lasted 2 yrs and counting.
Posted 29 March 2008 - 10:51 PM
I heard that you can add acetone to your epoxy to make it go on better and less bubbles is there any truth to that?
Posted 30 March 2008 - 01:19 AM
You can add several solvents to Devcon to thin and help it expel bubbles. I use denatured alcohol because it doesn't evaporate as fast as acetone. No need to thin if you work in warm conditions but a little thinning in cool temps will extend the work time a few minutes. It also extends the cure time by an hour or so. Envirotex Lite comes with solvent in it and is quite thin when applied, and has much longer cure time. If you want to thin, mix the epoxy first then mix in a FEW drops of solvent. It doesn't take much!
Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:00 PM
A point about heating baits - If you heat the whole bait, it can expand the air inside and guess where the extra air goes? Into your clearcoat. I just brush Devcon on and put in on the turner for an hour. Rarely see any bubbles. If I do, breathing on them during the first few minutes of turning usually pops them. Some like to pass a torch or heat gun quickly over the bait, but not enough to heat the inside.
Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:31 PM
It sounds like you've got too much epoxy on the lure. The lite build is probably a good choice, but you'll still probably need to wick a bit of the excess off the lure. Here's what I do to get a good even finish: take a brush and lightly run it the length of the lure. Wipe off brush, rotate the lure just a tad and run the brush the length of the lure again. Repeat this until you have run the brush over the entire lure. This will remove all excess epoxy and will leave a nice, glassy coat on the lure. You may still need to give it a touch of heat if air bubbles form, but this should eliminate all clumping. Good luck.
Posted 01 April 2008 - 01:04 AM
It's not necessary to sand between coats using etex and you don't need to wait 24 hours after using the rubbing alcohol. I have topcoated lures five minutes after cleaning them with alcohol for years without problems.
If you continue to have problems send me an email and I will try to help.