Yardape

Clearcoating issues

23 posts in this topic

First I would like to say you guys ROCK! I have been lurking for a while and soaking up everyones knowledge I have to thank you. I have been painting hard baits for about a month for the most part successfully except my clear coats. I have been using etex exclusively. My issue has been consistency. I mix correctly because I always get a hard finish but sometimes it looks wavy or some spots are dry even though I painstakingly make sure I have complete coverage. I ensure thin coats ( 2 or 3 depending on how it looks after 2) I turn the baits then use a butane tourch after about 4 hours of turning are any of you getting perfect finishes with etex? I have read all threads about clear coats and have ordered dick notes and sc9000. What am I doing wrong?

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It's not always easy to diagnose problems but two questions I have: what do you use to apply the Etex and why are you torching it? Etex is formulated with a solvent to make it flow and level at room temp. I've had best luck with epoxy when I applied it with an artist's brush and then put it on a turner until it was sag free, with no heating. I've tried heating epoxy before application and when it's on the lure. IMO, there are just too many ways to screw up! When you heat it, you make it temporarily liquid again but you greatly accelerate its cure rate at the same time. I suspect that's why yours is not leveling properly. I usually coat with Devcon and mix the devil out of it, until it's milky with small bubbles. But the fine bristles of an artist's brush pop all the bubbles while brushing it on and you end up with a perfectly clear topcoat.

Edited by BobP

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I am appying with an artist brush. I am using the torch to pop the small bubbles still on the bait.. I read that the carbon dioxide produced by the torch will eliminate the bubbles.?I do not hold the heat on the bait, just quickly wave over it. I will try not using the torch, it makes sense that I am turning the etex into liquid and excellerating the cure time which is not allowing the epoxy to re-level out on the bait. Thanks

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Hey Yardape and welcome to the site. I'm like you in that I've only been painting for a short time. (2 months) Like you I started out using Etex and had some of the same problems your describing as well as a couple more. After reading a lot of opinions about different top coats I decided to try Dick Nites top coat and man am I ever glad I did. You can dip it, brush it or thin it and spray it. I chose to dip my baits and have not had a single problem. It is cured enough in a couple hours that you can handle the bait with no problems. I'm sure curing time depends a lot on temperature and humidity and we have a lot of both of those here in Texas. There are several folks here that can tell you a lot more about Dick Nites than I can, but I'm betting that once you try it you'll like it as much as me.

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Never used etex, but have used epoxies to topcoat.

If you're getting bubbles you're not brushing it enough. You need to do a fair amount of brushing, it's got a plenty long cure time to work out the bubbles. Once you get the epoxy on there, work over the bait from head to tail with the brush until the bubbles are gone. When the brush get globbed up, just wipe it off on something hard and clean, like a piece of glass or something.......not a towel or cloth, you'll get fibers in the brush.

You're probably going to be told you're mixing the bubbles into the epoxy.......for me was never an issue, unless you get a whole lot of really fine bubbles they'll brush out.

When you get your Dick Nite's, if you decide to brush it on, DON"T WORK IT LIKE THAT..........it flash dries too quick and you'll make a mess. Just get a quick coat on, dip the brush again and move to another part of the lure.

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The torch isn't your problem.............I use a torch all the time to remove bubbles. My guess is you are having one of two problems;

1. You may be turning the lure too fast or too slow which will cause the clear coat to pile up in some areas and thin out in others.

2. You are having a contamination problem. After you primer the lure, don't touch it with your bare hands. Oils on your hands will keep the etex from covering evenly.......it will brush on even but then as it dries it will migrate away from areas you have touched.

3. If you accidentally touch the lure after priming, clean it with rubbing alcohol and a clean paper towel........just dip it in the alcohol and then whipe it all clean. Wear latex gloves after that so you don't get any oil on the surface of the lure. Between coats, I will often clean the epoxy surface in this same manner before applying the second coat.

RM

Edited by RiverMan

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I am never touching the the bait without gloves then I make sure to only grab the hook hangers or bill. I am using a rotisserie motor that turns 4 rpm. Thanks for the help guys

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Yardape,

Riverman's right, most problems come from contamination, but if it's actually bubbles, with a skin over them, it doesn't sound like a contamination, it's air getting trapped. The dry spots you're talking about, with just about 100% certainty, is contamination from some type of oil.

When I was using epoxy, I never really had issues with bubbles, but when i did a quick pass with a torch or heatgun would pop them easily. You shouldn't have to heat it much at all.

I completely missed the part about the wavy finish before.......that definitely sounds like a rotation speed issue. From what I gather, etex is quite a bit thinner than devcon, so you might need a little faster motor to turn them with. I turned with a 6rpm. 4 might be a little slow...the purpose of turning isn't actually to level out the epoxy, it'll do that on its own. The purpose is to keep it where you put it as it levels out. spinning too slow will let it run back and forth while it's curing, and eventually you'll have it partially cured, with the still uncured stuff trying to move around.

Edited by clamboni

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I clear with flex coat which is similar to e-tex. Let the e-tex set up for 10 min before brushing it on the bait. Both clears are very thin and runny, if you apply it right after mixing then it will run no matter what speed the lure is turning. That was my early problem with flex coat and after letting it set up the problem has been solved. I can still coat 6 baits from a mixed batch.

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The information below is not accurate in the case of Etex.

Bubbles are pretty normal and there are ways to get less bubbles, but they go away simply by gently exhaling or blow gently through a straw (manufacturer says you can torch as well, but immediately, not in four hours). You should not be brushing and brushing and brushing and brushing. It does self level and brushed on in even coats, its fine.

Your advice is probably accurate with the other epoxies you have dealt with.

I have topcoated baits with etex more times than I care to admit; several hundred 2-3 ounce baits.

Never used etex, but have used epoxies to topcoat.

If you're getting bubbles you're not brushing it enough. You need to do a fair amount of brushing, it's got a plenty long cure time to work out the bubbles. Once you get the epoxy on there, work over the bait from head to tail with the brush until the bubbles are gone.

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I have been using ETEX:yes: for a coating for some while but after hearing about D2T I thought about giving it a try for a final top coat. I have tried DN with success but thought with all the positive committs about D2T thought I would also give it a try. Many of my lures are used in saltwater on some toothy critters.

Thanks

Rotorhead

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Yardape- sounds to me (and others) like you have the Etex too thin from heating it maybe???. If the lure has flat sides and sharp corners, you get this resul t- go here and see pictures.pete

http://www.tackleunderground.com/forum/hard-baits/16131-keeping-flat-baits-flat.html

Pete,

I just had knee surgery, so I no longer have meniscus issues! :lol:

Seriously, no epoxy likes square edges. The film pulls on itself as it cures, and any sharp edges will get the epoxy pulled thin, or off completely.

Even small carved features can persent problems.

Just remember what Pete's chart shows, and make your edges as rounded as possible.

You'll have to experiment with your own lure shapes to find what works for you.

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Thanks for all the help, I'm in my learning curve point in my painting (do you ever get out of it?) but with the help I've gotten from this site I'm sure the curve isn't as large as it would be without you guys. Just recieved my Target coatings em9300 and I'm on my second coat dipping my baits, wish me luck I will post on my findings with this new clearcoat

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I will be trying to use D2T for a top coat tonight. What is the best way to thin it and what would you use acetone or alcohol. Should the final mixture be about as thick as milk when you apply it.

Thanks

Rotorhead

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don't thin it unless you're doing a really big lure. You should have plenty of time to work with it without thinning. It should be a little thinner than honey when it's mixed.

Just brush it on and don't be afraid to brush it more, that's the key to a good finish in my experience. If you get hairs or dust or bubbles, you can either brush them out, or if you notice them after it starts setting up, you can heat it up A LITTLE with a hair dryer and carefully pick it out with an exacto knife. Heating it will thin it and allow it to flow into a smooth finish. You might have to keep it warm for a couple minutes but don't heat it much.

If you're working with a bigger lure and really do need to thin it.........I've used acetone before but I really think it affected the hardness of it after cured. Seems like denatured alcohol is the preferred solvent to thin, but it's really preferred by most not to thin at all.

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don't thin it unless you're doing a really big lure. You should have plenty of time to work with it without thinning. It should be a little thinner than honey when it's mixed.

Just brush it on and don't be afraid to brush it more, that's the key to a good finish in my experience. If you get hairs or dust or bubbles, you can either brush them out, or if you notice them after it starts setting up, you can heat it up A LITTLE with a hair dryer and carefully pick it out with an exacto knife. Heating it will thin it and allow it to flow into a smooth finish. You might have to keep it warm for a couple minutes but don't heat it much.

If you're working with a bigger lure and really do need to thin it.........I've used acetone before but I really think it affected the hardness of it after cured. Seems like denatured alcohol is the preferred solvent to thin, but it's really preferred by most not to thin at all.

I agree with the above. Heating your sealed lure slightly beforehand may help epoxy flow onto the bait too.

With all clearcoats there is a learning curve, just like there is with every other aspect of lure building, and often we use slightly different methods to achieve the same end. With that in mind, I use epoxies for sealing my lures, and on top of my foil baits. My final clearcoat on all my lures, big and small, sharply and intricately carved or smooth and relatively featureless, is Dicknite's Topcoat. This part is not just my opinion: It is by far the best performing clear coat I've ever used. Said another way, nothing I've used protects my lures, and keeps them looking their best, better than Dicknite's Lurecoat Topcoat.

I want my lures to perform as well as my fishing experience and lure making can make them, I want them to look good, and I want them to last as long as I can make them last. I use the best split rings and hooks I can buy: The hooks vary among premium brands according to lure type and probable line usage. The split rings are Owner: Their true-sized # 3 is 45 pound test; their small size, 2, is 37#, and their 4 is 50#, and they are all sized the same as regular, not HD stainless rings. They're expensive, but the best.

A little more specifically on-topic, if you are going to heat epoxy at all as a clear coat, the lure must be thoroughly sealed, particularly balsa. Unsealed wood when heated even a slight amount will cause bubbles to form in your clearcoat.

To mix any clearcoat thoroughly and relatively bubble free, here is what I do: I use the bottom of an aerosol can, cleaned with a slovent of any ink as my mixing surface. I measure, by volume, not weight, equal parts. I use a piece of wire bent into a circle as my mixing tool. The ends of the wire are tied to each other with enough loops and twists, big enough and with enough wire to give a good gripping surface. The wire conforms to a portion of the concave can bottom, ensuring that nothing gets missed.

Slide the wire against the can bottom's surface slowly into the epoxy. I begin to mix, using both circular and back and forth motions, and I mix aggressively, particulary E-tex, which must be thorough. Mix and mix and mix, Never removing, or lifting the wire from the can bottom until you are finished. With a little practice, you're on your way to minimizing mixing bubbles. Brushing and exhaling should remove the rest. I place my upsidedown can into a glass jar for stability. I clean all my tools as soon as I'm finished coating, which is easily done with alcohol or acetone. Even stiff epoxy can easily be cleaned from the can bottom by pouring alcohol on top of it and scraping with a rounded circuit board lure lip. The epoxy will stick to itself on the scraper and can be easily removed with a paper towel and alcohol.

In addition, I find that my old 1rpm dryer works on E-tex and Devcon equally well.

I normally let my E-tex sit for 10 minues before using it, during which time it will thicken slightly, and most bubbles will either self-expell or move close enough to the surface to be exhaled out of the puddle by moving the can slightly side to side. Some don't wait 10 minutes. That's okay too.

David Sullivan and I have written extensively on Dicknite's topcoat use and storage in Hardbaits, and a little searching will easily yield everything you need to know. David and I both think that DN is just about a no-branier to apply, much simpler and faster than epoxy, as long as you don't try to apply it like epoxy! Paint the lure wet with DN, and you are done. If, five minutes after you finish, you find you've missed a spot, then just catch it on the next coat. I personally think that the "storage issues" about DN are way overblown! David uses a "Tap the Keg" method, by threading a sheet metal screw into can, while I decant into smaller containers and seal them after filling replacing any dead air space in them with Bloxygen Finish Preserver (available by ordering from Woodcraft, and other outlets). I use this on my "working" 1/2 ounce jars also, giving them a shot before resealing them. No air, no finish degradation. I can clearcoat half a dozen lures and clean up and put up much quicker with DN than I can epoxy, with less mess. This is important when my wife says, "supper in 10 minutes!" There are no measuring mistakes to make, and I use 100% of the product now. My wife likes the smell.:lol:

Your method for mixing epoxy may well be different from mine. But I can mix mine free of bubbles 8 times out of ten, and remove whatever bubbles are there after mixing the other 2 times.

I hope this answers a question or three.

Dean

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Dino.

Please email me when the CLIFF NOTES or Audio Tape is available for your post on this thread..

The Rookie :teef:

I'll remind you of this tomorrow when you ask me a question that is answered in this post.

:nuhuh:

Dean

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Mix in a disposable plastic cup with a plastic paintbrush handle. Mix in a circular motion scraping the sides and bottom to assure all gets in the mix. Try to stir in only one direction and never stir briskly. Mix for at least 30 seconds. Blow your breath into the plastic cup after mixing until the majority of the bubbles have disapated and lightly blow on the bait after applying the epoxy just prior to putting on the drying wheel. I apply my epoxy with a epoxy brush I buy from a local craft store.

I think a lot of the problems associated with epoxy is that you try to paint it on like painting a wall. The best way I have discovered to apply epoxy is to really put it on heavy starting at the front of the bait and continuing to the tail. I then take another "dry" brush and continue to brush from front to back and wiping excess on a paper towel always making sure that you don't remove too much expoxy.

I also only mix enough epoxy to cover 2 baits maximum at a time. You can determine the amount it takes to do this in short order and mark the plastic syringe in appropriate increments to take away some of the guess work. Another thing I do after putting the epoxy in the bottom of the plastic cup and before I begin to stir is to put 4 or 5 drops of denatured alcohol into the cup with the epoxy.

Never touch a bait with bare hands prior to applying epoxy. Always wipe baits off with a clean cloth before starting to clear coat. Never try to apply epoxy in a cold enviroment. Best working temp I have found is 70 to 75 degrees. I always apply epoxy underneath a strong bench light so I can see any thin coverage spots on the bait before putting on the wheel.

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Hello Baitmaker!

Your advice,

Try to stir in only one direction and never stir briskly. Mix for at least 30 seconds.

and tips work for Devcon 2-ton and other quick cure epoxies, but Envirotex-Lite will simply never get mixed unless it is mixed briskly, especially in the larger quantities in which E-tex is normally mixed, because of its much longer pot life, which allows one to coat several lures at a time. E-Tex's own instructions advise that their product should be whipped, and with the longer mixing time required it is easy to end up with an even distribution of very fine bubbles after thorough mixing that can be quite frustrating to get rid of...much easier not produce any to begin with. My method of using the round wire on the concave can bottom worked so well with E-tex that I began using it for all of my epoxies, including for small amounts of bubble-free 2-ton for gluing lips. Because the mixing tool matches the shape of the mixing surface, the chances of leaving any epoxy unmixed is greatly reduced. Total clean-up is quick and easy, and there is no more buying of cups just to throw away. (think green!)

Good fishing,

Dean

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I was referring to Devcon 2t epoxy. I haven't used the Evirotex in years simply because of the bubble issue and from my experience it didn't seem to get as hard as the Devcon and took too long to cure.

For a beautiful clear coat on a lure there is nothing that I have tried that equals Devcon 2t. You can take an average paint job and make a masterpiece with the depth you get with the 2t.

There are other alternatives but the 2t epoxy is the toughest and best looking I have personally had experience with. Clear lacquer provides a durable clear coat but you have to be careful with bubbling water based paints and the odor is unbearable.

There is a new product I have started to experiment with from Target Coatings which is a waterbased urethane. It is easy to apply by dipping and it appears to be similar to Evirotex but I haven't put it to the torture text yet so I am witholding my endorsements. It also doesn't appear to have the depth beauty of Devcon 2t.

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