Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seeking A Cure

I've run into a little difficulty with the aprons. Although I followed the directions scrupulously, as I documented in my last post, the epoxy has still not cured fully, two days later. It's still just a bit sticky. 

A careful re-reading of the somewhat disorganized instructions provided with the epoxy indicates that the likely culprit was excessive moisture in the air as it was curing. While it was a comfortable, dry 62 degrees in the garage when I finished applying the epoxy at about 11:30PM, the temperature plunged to under 50 and the humidity increased considerably as a weak storm front moved in. The induction period is supposed to prevent excessive humidity from causing stickiness, but obviously in this case it did not.

In response, I did what I have done successfully in the past when faced with this problem: I heated the pieces thoroughly with a hair dryer on its hottest setting. While this did help a great deal, taking the pieces from very sticky to slightly sticky, a second application of heat had no further effect. So I brought them in and put them in a warm, dry, safe place on top of the fridge, hoping they would finish curing there. But the next morning, this morning, brought no change.

In retrospect, what I should have done was to apply the heat immediately after I was done applying the epoxy; the instructions do suggest this, but they give the impression that this is only necessary in extreme conditions, which is apparently not the case. So I hereby amend my previous instructions: always apply heat after applying WoodEpox unless the weather is reliably warm and dry, and even then it would help at least to speed things along.

Now, back to my predicament. I suppose that despite the stickiness, the epoxy is cured enough to do its job, and in any event once it's finished the stickiness won't matter. It might even help the paint adhere. 

Still, I'd like to see if I can eliminate the stickiness, so I can pass the information on to you. Also, as a practical matter, it's going to be a pain in the neck to sand if it stays like this. The instructions suggest that a temperature of 90 degrees is ideal, so I cast about for a good, efficient way to heat the pieces to that temperature for an extended period. I didn't want to stand there with a hair dryer for several hours, and I also didn't want to burn out the hair dryer.

I thought of the oven, but the thermostat is broken on ours, and in any event most oven thermometers don't go below 150 degrees, which is too hot for epoxy. Besides, I don't think that it's a good idea to put epoxied wood where food is supposed to go; while epoxy is extremely low in toxicity, it's still toxic to some degree.

At last, I remembered that our clothes dryer has a stationary rack insert for drying things such as tennis shoes. So I've got them sitting in there, running at low temperature. I'll do that for a few hours, then let them sit in there overnight.

If that still doesn't work, I'll see what effect Abosolv has on the stickiness. Abosolv is the proper solvent for both LiquidWood and WoodEpox, and it just may work if heat does not.


  1. Pasadena is nothing but extreme. The variable weather is no exception. Throw out the rule book, hope and pray:-)

  2. I guess you're right. I have pieces of my house in my dryer. If that's not extreme, what is?


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