Working with epoxy resin

June 10, 2015

There’s no great secret to working with epoxy resin. It just involves being careful, measuring accurately and working smoothly and efficiently. The epoxy resins Ironbark Composites generally works with and supplies are two-part resins – a resin and a catalyst or hardener – and today we’re going to share a little advice on how to get the best results for your project.

First up, make sure you have a well-ventilated workspace, safety equipment, plastic containers and mixing sticks, such as ice-cream sticks or tongue depressors. A good respirator isn’t a bad idea either because there are chemicals and fumes involved, rubber gloves because it can be messy work and goggles or protective glasses. Epoxy resin in an eye is far from ideal!

Secondly – and this really is a no-brainer – read the instructions. Carefully! Not all epoxy resins are the same and some need components mixed in different ratios or take different times to cure and harden. Take your time before you start and read the instructions so you know the correct ratios and measurements of resin and hardener.

Think about covering your workspace with plastic sheets or even waxed paper. Epoxy resins generally don’t stick to either material and you can dispose of them when the job’s finished. Wax paper and plastic sheeting are also ideal to place under your project while it dries.

Make sure your work area is free from dust, hair and fibres. Hair and pet fur has ruined the finish on many an epoxy project.

Measure accurately into your plastic containers and start with minimal amounts. To ensure you get precise measurements think about buying application pumps which dispense pre-measured amounts of resin and catalyst. Mix the two ingredients thoroughly with your mixing sticks. Follow the instructions! More hardener doesn’t make a harder or better finish. It actually compromises the end result. Mix up small amounts of resin so your mixture doesn’t cure in the plastic container before you finish.

Apply your epoxy resin using the method suited to your task. Depending on the job at hand, you might be brushing on the resin, pouring it into moulds, using a vacuum bagging device. Whatever method you’re employing, follow the instructions.

Once you’ve applied your epoxy resin, keep your workplace at a comfortable temperature and leave your project alone until it cures and hardens. Don’t try to speed up the curing process with a hairdryer or similar – you’ll just ruin the finish.

If you’d like more information about epoxy resins or to buy the products for your next project, contact the epoxy resin experts at Ironbark Composites, shipping across Australia, India, Singapore, China and New Zealand.