OzarkAssassin

Epoxy opinions???

25 posts in this topic

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.

Any suggestions????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And......

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!!

The Rookie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Jed V.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is an old post but I thought the following info would be interesting to you all. The reason for wiping the epoxied lure down with alcohol is to remove something called amine blush. It is a waxy/oily/maybe even tacky substance that appears on the surface of epoxy after it cures. Alcohol removes it. Almost all epoxies get this. Only one or two brands of a specific marine epoxy do not get it. If you have got a good smooth level first coat you shoudnt need to sand....just wipe with alcohol before the 2nd coat. You can substitute with most any good solvent. You all seem to have the right habbits for sucess....I just thought you might want to know why it works............

I am not an epoxy expert......in fact I dont use it on my lures....but I did build a fiberglass over wood boat many years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

In my short experience in coating baits, I've found that heating after applying my clear coating to the balsa (urethane in my case) creates tons of bubbles.

I hand turn my baits (for now) and have dried them in front of my space heater with horrible bubbly results that I end up sanding out. I like to dry them with no heat now.

I can also agree that blowing on the bubbles will pop them, but you have to be careful not to accidentally fling a drop of spit and ruin the finish all together :lol:

I've also successfully use a lighter for about 1/2 a second to pop some bubbles out of my urethane finishes. This doesn't work so well because you can't really control the heat direction coming off the lighter. I prefer the breath method.

Edited by Tacklejunky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer the earlier question about thinning Devcon, yes you can thin with various solvents. I've tried acetone, lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol. All work but denatured alcohol works the best for me. It flashes out of the epoxy mix slowly enough that it extends the brushing time by a few minutes but when it's cured, the epoxy seems as glossy and hard as regular unthinned epoxy, to me at least. And it cures in about the same time as unthinned epoxy takes. I dip my brush in DA and shake A FEW DROPS into the mixed epoxy, then blend it in. Not too much! Now that we're coming up on summer, I'll mostly apply Devcon unthinned. I don't run a flame over epoxy to expel bubbles but I know some guys who turn out beautiful baits do so. I think the key is to use a flame sparingly and quickly. And it needs to be a clean flame, like you get with an alcohol burner. I just breathe on mine to pop the occasional bubble. I believe you can make this whole thing too complicated. My basic rule is: The more things you do to a bait, the more often you'll screw it up. KISS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well what I have noticed in the last several batches where I was using D2T it really helped to be mixing for a small batch on the bottom outside of an aluminum can versus mixing in plastic measuring cups or paper.

I wipe out the bottom with acetone to remove the date and information and then add a couple drops of acetone to the epoxy before I stir. The aluminum doesn't seem to be affected by the acetone and it is smoother than the mixing cups I was using and allows me to stir the epoxy without generating the bubbles into the mix. Also right after I have mixed the epoxy I use the dryer on the epoxy itself before I ever start and it helps to remove the bubbles before they are stroked on the bait. I have been much happier with this approach, but it is for small batches.

Now if I would just quit knocking them off their holder and onto the floor / rug after I have applied the epoxy, which basically ruins them :mad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now