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fishordie79

Epoxy is Draining my Soul......

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Hi everyone, 

 Before I began I must say I searched the forums for a solution to the issue I am having and found one post that had a good suggestion that I followed but I am still plagued by this issue. I am a beginner at this but have gotten pretty good at balancing and airbrushing but for the life of me I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong when applying epoxy. After the epoxy application my baits end up with parts of the bait with too much epoxy, parts with none, parts that have fish eyed, etc. After browsing the forums tonight and finding what I thought to be my problem I painted a big glide bait I made and made sure that my hands were gloved (non-powdered) at all times. I never touched the bait with an ungloved hand. I put the bait on the drier, started the motor, then applied a thin coat of epoxy to the entire bait. I stood over the bait for an hour, gently brushing over every single fish eye and spot that formed and then, when I was satisfied, walked away. A couple of hours later I came back to find the epoxy had once again began to cure unevenly and I nearly lost my mind. Hours and hours of work learning to carve, balance, airbrush, and every time the epoxy stage drags me through the mud. I have no idea what I am doing wrong. Of the four baits I have completed to this point only one has come out semi-acceptable. I just don't get it. I watched hours of bait makers on YouTube and did hours and hours of research online and got pretty good pretty fast at each stage of the process but when it comes to applying epoxy I just have no idea what my problem is. The one thing I have not tried yet that I did see suggested in the forums is to apply an aerosol based clear coat before applying epoxy. I don't know why this would be necessary as none of the bait makers I have been watching for months do this. Attached are some pics of a couple of the baits I have made thus far that, although they look good in the pictures, had epoxy topcoats that did not turn out well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.......

Thank you all!

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Edited by fishordie79

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 Hello Mark and thank you for responding. I have tried two different brands of epoxy with the same result. The first is called Dipon, which I believe is manufactured in Germany. The second is called Resin4Decor which is apparently a high grade epoxy resin. See images below. I purchased both of these from amazon.de (Germany) as I am a US ex-pat living in Germany. I should also mentioned that I have tried applying the epoxy with both brushes and a gloved finger but have gotten the same result with each method, and I am using Createx paints with Createx 4030 reducer.   

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Edited by fishordie79
Added images.

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I made the bait pictures below last night and immediately after applying the epoxy it began fisheyeing and curing unevenly. So I let the epoxy cure a bit, used a new brush to wipe as much of it off as I could, and then let the remaining epoxy cure. This morning I applied another coat of epoxy to the bait and it went on evenly and remained that way. Of course there are some divots where the previously applied epoxy did not coat evenly but I figure I will keep applying thin coats of epoxy until those divots are filled in. Then maybe the bait won't have been a waste of time. 

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Edited by fishordie79

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2 hours ago, fishordie79 said:

 Hello Mark and thank you for responding. I have tried two different brands of epoxy with the same result. The first is called Dipon, which I believe is manufactured in Germany. The second is called Resin4Decor which is apparently a high grade epoxy resin. I purchased both of these from amazon.de (Germany) as I am a US ex-pat living in Germany. I should also mentioned that I have tried applying the epoxy with both brushes and a gloved finger but have gotten the same result with each method, and I am using Createx paints with Createx 4030 reducer.   

why don't you try  dipping in polyurethane coating!

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Hi bigblue2,

 For a couple of reasons. First, I personally like the look of epoxy finish better. Second, I fish for pike often. From what I have read it takes several coats of polyurethane to reach the same thickness that you can when using one or two coats of epoxy. Not sure if this is a fact but if so it means that I get more of a protective barrier to shield the wood from those 600+ razors in the pike's mouth. Also, I have about a gallon of epoxy and it wasn't cheap:)

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If the second coat of epoxy is going on nicely - it sort of points out that there is an incompatibility of the last coat you're spraying and the epoxy.  It doesn't matter how you apply the epoxy, finger, brush, pour it on.... if those two surfaces doesn't like each other it will always fish eye/ripple.

I'd recommend trying to spray an acrylic clear coat over the entire bait.  Let it dry for a good 24 hours - then epoxy.  Don't touch the surface before epoxy and don't even wipe it down with anything... blow air across it if you feel the need to clean it. 

That has helped me..... I still get spots here and there... but it's drastically improved the finish.

  J.

 

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At first blush it sounds like you are doing most things right.  I’m unfamiliar with the epoxies you are using but they both look like craft pour-on decoupage or casting type epoxies, which contain solvents to help expel bubbles and level out.  Envirotex Lite is a similar epoxy used successfully here in the U.S. by bait builders.  This kind of epoxy is naturally more prone to fisheye than glue type epoxies because of the solvents.  Envirotex (aka ETEX) works well but your brands?  Unknown.  I assume you are measuring components per the instructions and mixing them Really Well.  That’s critical.  If your epoxy is thin and slow to begin hardening after mixing, use  multiple coats or wait 10-15 min after mixing to begin brushing so the epoxy will expel some of its solvent and increase its viscosity. This works with ETEX.  We don’t know how long to wait for your brands, so you need to experiment.  Alternatively, you can try a SLOW cure glue type epoxy, which is formulated to be thicker and cure faster than decoupage epoxy, and it usually contains no solvents.  They have a brushing time of only several minutes but cure more consistently with fewer fisheyes.  I think there’s a way to use your epoxy to produce the finish you want but it requires a regimen of application techniques peculiar to the brands you chose.  So you have to work out what that is.  Good luck with it.

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First of all, fantastic looking lures and paint jobs!

Second of all Ohh man! I feel your pain!  I was in a very similar boat.  All the work it takes to carefully design, shape, weight and painstakingly pain a bait only to have it ruined by a final epoxy layer,  that hurts.  I also make lures for pike and musky, and I do love epoxy. Stick with it!  I have found for me that to get the best results, I have to make sure the room I do the epoxy in is at least room temp, if not slightly higher.  I used to do my epoxy in the garage where I make the baits, but the cooler environment played havoc with my epoxy and all the problems I had.    What helped me (besides learning all the contamination issues), was warming up the bottles of epoxy in warm water for a while before I applied it.  And making sure that wherever they cure on my turner, that room is at least 20 degrees Celsius.  Lots of guys will turn on a light near the baits to keep that area a bit warmer.  That seemed to help me a lot.  The epoxy on the last few rounds of baits I did have turned out really well.

Good luck, and stick with it.  Many people will recommend other finishes, but I agree, epoxy done right looks amazing on a lure. 

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Great point BobP.  The epoxy I use is ETEX as well as Ecopoxy UV resin.  Both are slow curing and I have time to mix the epoxy for several minutes, then let it rest for 10 min or so.  It really does seem to help the epoxy cure more evenly.   I use a disposable 1 inch foam brush that you can get from dollar stores to apply the epoxy (not that I think it would solve your problems).

This is a post that has been brought up several times in the past and is my go to checklist for getting good results.

 

Edited by eastman03
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1 hour ago, eastman03 said:

Great point BobP.  The epoxy I use is ETEX as well as Ecopoxy UV resin.  Both are slow curing and I have time to mix the epoxy for several minutes, then let it rest for 10 min or so.  It really does seem to help the epoxy cure more evenly.   I use a disposable 1 inch foam brush that you can get from dollar stores to apply the epoxy (not that I think it would solve your problems).

This is a post that has been brought up several times in the past and is my go to checklist for getting good results.

 

Great reference material.  Thanks.

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First of all let me say.....what a great community! I got into this bait making thing because I love fishing, being creative, and I wanted to do something that I could share with other fishermen. Thank you all for the responses!

@SlowFISH I think you are very likely correct. I just checked on the bait after about 12 hours and it looks magnificent! I think that first thin coat of cured epoxy sealed the painted surface and allowed the subsequent coats of epoxy to go on smoothly. I will definitely be trying the clear coat method on the next build. Thank you so much for your input!

@BobP The epoxies that I am using are both rated very good here and, as you suggest, I am allowing them to sit after mixing to the point that most bubbles pop and the little remaining ones float to the surface. I use syringes to measure and mix for at least three minutes. Thank you so much for your input! 

@eastman03 Thank you! When I first started airbrushing I had a hell of a time trying to figure out the right amount of reducer to paint, how to use stencils properly, etc., and to hear another bait maker say that my paint looks good is extremely satisfying. The lures that I have completed thus far were all done in a room that was about 18 degrees Celsius so I will look into both of your suggestions where warm water and a lamp are concerned. This is one of the most satisfying (although frustrating at the same time:) endeavors I have ever undertaken. I will definitely be sticking with it and hope to converse more with you in the future. 

@mark poulson Thank you for the original response! I saw your name in several of the posts I looked at in the forums and I thank you for helping folks like me get better at this awesome hobby!

Edited by fishordie79
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do you use 2 cups  to mix.!

( mix in one cup and pour into another cup to mix everything that can hang on the side of the first cup)

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So the last bait I did, after allowing the epoxy to cure a bit and then applying a couple more coats, turned out perfectly! I really think that my epoxy has an issue with the Createx paints. I am going to try the clear coat after paint method and see if the first coat of epoxy goes on smoothly next time. Thanks to all!

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