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🎶 HELP! I Need Somebody 🎶

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Every so often we receive a message from one of our makers that starts with the word “Help,” and goes on to detail how they ran into issues with their wood and resin project. Often they are looking for advice on how to salvage their project, or their form, that has been damaged in the process. These stories are hard to hear, but project fails can happen to even experienced makers if they are not diligent about the process. We are sharing a couple of examples here so that hopefully others will learn from these mistakes.

A vast majority of problems can be traced to improper use of epoxy resin. The first decision to be made when starting a project should be what type of epoxy should be used for your particular application? You do not want to use tabletop epoxy on a deep pour, and vice versa. A while back we received a message that said, “We had an epoxy fire and it burned up our first tray. It was my fault. I mixed tabletop too deep.” It went on to say, ”The propane tank we used to get out the bubbles caught on fire so that was the worst part.” As you can imagine, not only can you ruin a project with the wrong epoxy, but misuse can be extremely dangerous.

Once you have decided which type of epoxy to use for your project, it is important to read the manufacturer’s directions carefully so that you mix it properly. Epoxy resin comes in two parts — a resin and a hardener. You must always check the mix ratio for your brand, for example, whether you mix it in a 2:1 or 1:1 ratio. Always measure using either a scale or volume containers because if you are off by too much your project may cure too fast or not cure at all. This reminds us of a message we received a couple of years ago that read, “HELP…I wasn’t paying attention and did a bad mix on a deep cast. It’s now super sticky and I can’t get it out of the mold. It was a 2 to 1 and I did a 1 to 1.”

It is imperative when mixing the resin and the hardener to mix them thoroughly. If possible, use a paddle mixer, but even if using a stick be sure to get to the edges and bottom of your bucket. Any unmixed liquids can result in a failed project. We recommend erring on the side of over-mixing as it can’t do harm, while under-mixing can.

Another huge factor when working with epoxy resin is temperature. Once again, always read the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular epoxy and the optimum temperature to work under. Shop temperature is very important. If it is too hot in your shop you should use fans to cool it down. Similarly, if your shop is too cold, your epoxy will not get warm enough to cure. We've found an extremely informative article on the effects of humidity on epoxy that you can also find referenced on our Facebook page.

As we saw in one of the examples above, using heat to get rid of bubbles in your epoxy can be dangerous and a cause of project failure. Never use a blow torch and if using a heat gun don’t focus too long on certain areas. Adding a lot of extra heat can cause the epoxy to cure too fast.

Once again, even experienced makers who have been doing pours for years can have mishaps. However, if you take the time to follow instructions and make sure you are working under the proper conditions your project should be a great success! Happy making!

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