Trying to Achieve a Flawless Finish
8 replies to this topic
Posted 01 April 2008 - 04:14 PM
If you're interested in trying to achieve a flawless finish (meaning as flawless as possible...lol, 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 bait...you 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. 99 times out of a hundred if you have bad patches which are still tacky after 24 hours, you failed to mix properly. Once in a great while, I've gotten a bad tube of Devcon. Devcon seems to have a finite shelf life. Try to buy the tubes that have the least amount of yellow in the one tube. It seems to be the "freshest" stuff and goes on a LOT easier and does not have the abbreviated working time that the very yellow tubes have. I've had no such problems with Envirotex lite.
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 I 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. Of course the final coat is the one where you won't have the luxury if ignoring them because you can't sand them out afterward without scuffing the final finish.
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.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 05:03 AM
Great tips here Vince, I particularly like the one about 'baking' the Envirotex for 15 min, before application. pete
Posted 16 April 2008 - 07:47 PM
Excellent advice. I allow my etex to stand for a whole hour. Bear in mind in the UK we have low temperatures and high humidity which have an effect on cure times
Posted 22 May 2008 - 08:04 AM
Good stuff Vince, I always follow the 10 minute rule for E-tex. I'm one of the guys who always cleans my epoxy utensiles for reuse, but I clean up with rubbing alcohol rather than acetone etc, which makes for much more pleasant, and safer, recycling. I do it as part of my routine, and once in the habit of cleaning immediately after use, it takes only a couple of minutes, and a minimum of effort, after a short learning curve.
Posted 29 September 2008 - 10:50 AM
A comment about cleaning brushes: Never wipe a brush loaded with epoxy on a paper towel, then reload it with epoxy for the next lure. The brush WILL pick up fibers from the paper towel. It's OK to use a paper towel to clean the brush before swishing it around in solvent at the end of the day. The solvent will release any loose fibers. But then dry the brush on a lint free cloth.
Posted 10 October 2008 - 11:22 AM
An hour:eek:,i only live about 30-40 miles from you phil must be massively different weather conditions in yorkshire as opposed to dry sunny lancashire:lol:,i leave it for 20 minutes or so before i use it,I find it unworkable after an hour
Posted 30 November 2008 - 03:25 PM
Good information.........thank you.
I personally never let the etex sit, if you want it thicker make sure it stays cooler. If you want it thinner, put in the micro for about 5 seconds.