How to use epoxy?

600L drum kit epoxy resin

How to Use Epoxy?

CHILL EPOXY SYSTEMS have been designed to be as easy-to-use and reliable as possible. It does not require degassing or any other special equipment and in fact will
thoroughly degas itself during cure, resulting in a perfectly clear, bubble-free casting.

Before You Begin…

It is important for users to familiarize themselves with the following information and ensure that instructions are followed correctly. Particularly those points relating to working temperatures, weighing and mixing.
Unsatisfactory results are almost always caused by unsuitable ambient temperatures or improper weighing or mixing. It is very important to read the Safety and Technical Data sheets before starting a project with CHILL EPOXY products.

Ambient Temperature

Like most epoxy resins, the way that CHILL EPOXY products will cure is very dependent upon the ambient temperature. The system has been designed to work in ambient temperatures between 20°C and 24°C. For best results, an ambient temperature of between 22°C and 23°C is recommended.

The CHILL EPOXY resin and hardener also need to be used and cured at an ambient temperature. Between 20°C and 25°C is recommended to achieve optimum results. If the CHILL EPOXY products are used
over 25°C or falls below 20°C it can affect the performance of the resin.

Humidity

 

Whilst CHILL EPOXY products is curing it can absorb moisture from the air. With higher humidity levels, this moisture absorption can affect the surface finish and therefore, for best results, avoid pouring CHILL EPOXY resins in humid environments (relative humidity of 70% or more). This becomes particularly important in lower ambient temperatures where a slower cure leaves the uncured resin exposed to humid area for longer.

Surface Preparation

In much the same way that CHILL EPOXY can be adversely affected whilst curing by moisture in the air, it will also be affected by any moisture in the surface onto which it is poured. Whatever surface you are pouring onto, it is important to ensure that the surface is as dry and stable as possible. This is particularly relevant when working with natural materials like wood and cork or concrete where moisture levels within the substrate can be high. When working with wood that is either freshly sawed or reclaimed/salvaged from a damp environment, it will be necessary to dry the wood thoroughly – which could take days or weeks indoors – before use.

Failure to ensure that wood is properly dried and stabilized can result in a surface reaction with the resin as well as ‘bowing’ or distortion if the wood starts to dry after the resin layer has been cast.

Moisture in Wood

 

CHILL EPOXY resins have excellent tolerance to modest levels of moisture but can still be adversely affected by higher moisture content in wood and other substrates. Wood with a high moisture content is also liable to move (shrink) as it dries out which can cause ‘bowing’ or distortion of the piece if the wood starts to dry after the resin layer has been cast. Ensure wood is properly seasoned and dried before use.

Sealing Coat – Required for All Porous Surfaces

When working with porous substrates such as wood, chipboard, concrete or ceramics it is highly recommended to first seal the substrate with a thin layer of CHILL SEALER (2:1) ratio. Doing so will seal and stabilize the surface, greatly improving the flatness of the final pour. The sealing coat must be allowed to fully cure and then ‘keyed’ before proceeding. The sealing coat can be applied with a disposable brush.

Embedments

Just as with the surface preparation, it is important to ensure that any materials that are going to be embedded within the resin, such as pennies, crushed glass, bottle tops, corks, leaves, etc. are thoroughly dry. Any embedments may also require being glued/fastened down to stop them floating in the resin once it is poured.

Curing Time

Depending on the ambient temperature, CHILL EPOXY will take around 48hrs to become touch-dry. During this initial 48hrs it is essential to keep all dust and
dirt away from the uncured pour. Once the surface is ‘touch-dry’ it is much less susceptible to contamination from dust but it will still be quite soft and easy to mark and so you should avoid touching or using the surface for as long as possible.

The time it takes for the resin to cure fully will depend very much on the ambient temperature; at 22°C you should allow at least 72hrs before demoulding (if casting into a mould) or attempting to do any work on the resin (such as sanding or polishing).

CHILL EPOXY will take around 7 days to reach full hardness.

 

Trapped Air – Heat Gun or Blow Torch Required?

 

CHILL EPOXY includes advanced technology to help it to expel air that has been entrapped by the mixing and pouring process and so in many cases the resin will fully release any trapped air to leave a beautiful bubble-free finish. After pouring, it usually takes the resin around 5-10 minutes to expel trapped air. Factors such as ambient temperature, mixing action, pouring thickness and the substrate you’re pouring onto can all influence the appearance of trapped air (bubbles) within the resin. After around 10 mins, if you find that you can still see trapped air bubbles with this resin then lightly passing over the surface of the resin with a heat gun or blow torch on a low setting will help to dispel any bubbles. In both cases only ever use a light pass and wait for any heat in the surface to dissipate before repeating.

Safety Precautions

Work in a well-ventilated area. Whenever weighing, mixing, pouring or checking the state of the cure of the resin, you should be wearing suitable protective gloves and eye protection as a minimum precaution. Always wear gloves when you are ‘testing’ to see if the surface has cured. Do not touch or handle the surface without gloves until you are sure that it is fully cured.

How Much Resin?

The very nature of a “live-edge” on a piece on wood makes it difficult to calculate exactly how much resin you will need for the project. There are some practical methods that can be used to actually measure the exact
volume an irregular shaped cavity – such as pouring rice or sand into the gap and then measuring the volume – but in most cases it is probably more a case of estimating the volume of the gap and then allowing a little extra. Areas that are to be filled with resin (for example the gap between the two live-edge planks on a river table) should be measured approximately in length, with a depth to find the cuboid volume, as follows:

Length (in m) x Width (in m) x Depth (in mm)

The resulting number will be the volume of this shape in litres.

For example:

1.5m (Length) x 0.15m (width) x 30mm (depth) = 6.75l

In simple terms, 6.75 litres of resin can be approximated as 6.75 kilograms of resin. We would always suggest slightly overestimating the amount of resin you think you will need. It is likely that the wood will absorb some of the resin. It’s always better to have mixed too much rather than too little. Especially when colouring the resin, to ensure a consistent colour.