Part Fifteen

Fixing Un-Cured Epoxy
By George E. Emanuel


Epoxy is a wonderful material for fly tying as it adds durability and a certain sparkle to the heads of many of our most productive flies, particularly those used in saltwater.

We can ad sparkle compounds to it and get a glittering effect as well as the above mentioned durability.

We apply it often in a single heavy coat, and the resulting sags sometimes add a certain creative flair to our offering, though accomplished through no purposeful intent at the outset of the session.

Regardless of how skilled or unskilled we may be as tiers, especially when it comes to epoxies, we frequently are less than absolutely precise in our measuring and preparation of these two part miracles.

Epoxies dry or actually "cure" as part of a catalytic process. They cure through the internal generation of heat. If the temperature and duration are just right, we have a complete cure. If either is off by much, we have an incomplete cure, and tacky mess.

Think of it as baking a cake, that isn't quite done!

Many factors can influence the proportions of each of the two parts as they are prepared, which can lead to an incomplete cure.

The first, improper measuring, can be caused by careless mixing, an un-expected or un-seen air bubble in one or the other of the parts, and a few other less prevalent things.

The second and perhaps more frequent reason for an improper cure is poor mixing.

After you have gotten equal amounts of part "A" and part "B" onto your mixing pallet, make sure to blend them together well. I say mixing pallet because I find it easier to mix epoxy on a flat surface as opposed to the little measuring cups sold for the purpose.

Mix the material for the entire length of time specified by your manufacturer on the label of the product.

Make doubly certain after carefully measuring your proportions that you incorporate all of the material into the "mix." No sense being extra careful measuring and then not using "all" of the material. This is made much easier by the "pallet" approach.

Now that you have gotten everything mixed properly, and you have with due care and diligence applied the material to your creation, you are aghast to discover that in spite of your best, most precise, and careful efforts, that your epoxy refuses to dry beyond an irritatingly tacky state.

What next?

Well, don't panic, as I intimated earlier it happens to all of us at one time or another, no matter how careful we think we have been.

There are many wonderful products out there, which have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with fly tying, until some resourceful individual finds a way to use them in our craft.

One of these is Sally Hanson's "Hard As Nails". This is a clear compound sold to coat and repair women's finger nails. It contains nylon, which is of no particular interest to us, though I suppose on fingernails it is a desired additive. (You can find it almost anywhere nail polish is sold.)

Hard As Nail

If however, we use the little brush which is conveniently attached to the bottle cap to apply a thin coat of the material to our previously applied epoxy head, it will dry, "Hard As Nails," and forever repair our previously too tacky, to use, fly.

It also has uses in fly tying which are the subjects for other tips in the future.

So, when your epoxy doesn't completely cure, don't worry, apply, "Hard As Nails" and take it fishing.

Who knows the fish may even prefer the "polished" look of your creation!

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas too! ~ George E. Emanuel (Chat Room Host Muddler)

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