Tintable Epoxy

Was wondering if anyone out there has used any epoxy that was tint-able and if so what kind did you use? Im looking to add some color to some woodwork im thinking about doing. Any help on this would be great.

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I do tons of work with epoxy and yes pretty much all of them can be colored. I like using Jacquard Pearl EX Powder Pigments ( http://www.amazon.com/Jacquard-Pearl-Powder-Pigments-32-Color/dp/B000BGSZFU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1434599003&sr=8-2&keywords=pigment) They all give you metallic look, they are also some pearl pigments that you can add to other colors.

If you want a solid color I would recommend Alumilite dyes ( http://www.alumilite.com/store/p/1012-Alumilite-Dye.aspx ). Their resin is also top notch I have both the crystal (12 hour cure) and water clear (15 mins cure).

I have also heard you can use acrylic paint to dye resin, I have not tried or had the need to.

If you are wondering what resins I use ill rate then from best to worst (from my use). All my resins get cast and turned on a lathe at 2.6K rpms so they have to be tough and not soften to much with heat.

1 - West Systems ( http://www.amazon.com/West-System-Epoxy-Hardener-Pumps/dp/B00RDBDCNQ/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1434599468&sr=8-8&keywords=systems+west )

2 - Alumilite ( Link above) (about as good as WS, WS can take heat a little better… This resin is a favorite for people who cast knife blanks and pen blanks)

3 - Any bartop resin from lowes or home depo (They tend to be cheap but work decently well but cant handle much heat and get really soft)

4 - Polyester resins - they cure to hard and if you plan on using them on the CNC they might work but tent to shatter when there is to much stress.

My shop so you can see the stuff I do:

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Ok cool and thanks for the info. What I’m trying to do is for instance make a cutting board with a red resin inlay with a Cubs logo cut into the board about 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep, sand flush then seal with salad bowl finish.

I would make sure to use a long cure time resin like 12+ hours. When using it with wood unless you have a way you vacuum the resin to get the bubbles out you need to give the bubbles time to reach the surface, the wood likes to hold the bubbles. If you can vacuum the resin then inlay the resin and pressurize it while it cures at 60 PSI that would be your best bet. But you can get good results by mixing the resin (12 hour cure), letting it sit for 15-30 mins, then pour it slowly where you want it. Be careful because it will thicken up if you wait too long but you want to catch it where it is warming, also don’t be afraid of having to do more than one pour.

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That’s a lot of great info, I bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks!

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@PaulKinlaw, I’m finishing up a big desk project and I use epoxy to fill knots and checks (stress fractures) and wormholes in the wood. I use System Three T-88, which dries fairly clear on its own (slight amber tint), has a 30 min cure time (sandable hardness in about 6 hrs; much quicker and it tends to still pill up in the sandpaper). I’ve been mixing in actual metal powders, statuary bronze and/or copper, about 325 mesh grade.

Sorry for crap cellphone pic but here’s a piece of pecan with the result; shot was right after sanding/polishing and wiping with some mineral spirits to get some shine and check for scratches, so not even with a finish yet:

With respect to cure time and bubbles, a heat gun does absolute wonders. The metal makes the epoxy more viscous, but apply heat until it starts to flow (you’ll see the surface ‘relax’ like the surface tension has let go) and it fills cleaner and the bubbles come out pretty well. If you see the epoxy ‘sizzling’ like bacon grease on a pan you’re heating too much and forcing the cure…a bit of practice and the heat can really improve your timeline vs.using the super slow cure stuff. (The thinner table-coat type epoxies recommand a quick pass with a blowtorch to pop bubbles, I kid you not!)

Look for metal powders that say they’re for ‘cold casting’ if you want to try this…they may mix in and look dull (the copper almost looks like molten chocolate as it goes in) but the brightness comes back after sanding. I tend to fill a bit over flush, sand back coarse (the 100 and 150 grits I usually use on wood anyway), 220 sand everything, then in the epoxy regions at least I hand-sand with a cork block and a piece of 320, 400, and even 600 to polish the epoxy face and bring back the metal shine.

You can’t sand that far on wood you intend to stain as of course you might be ‘closing off’ the surface too much, but I’m finding it is working for me if I just plan an oil soak (BLO and MS to reduce viscosity), let that cure a week, burnish one last time with 600 to knock any surface oxidation off the copper one last time, then I’m finishing with a wiping varnish (Pratt and Whitney #38 with MS, about 50/50, so it wipes on in 3-6 coats with a rag at about 1 hr intervals and penetrates vs. building a thick surface).

The metal powder won’t give you a ‘solid metal’ finish, it is a bit granular if you look up close. It might also react a little with the amines in the epoxy and have some different colors (the bronze goes grayish). I like the more organic, veiny look. If you’re after more of a pure color decorative inlay then dyes might be more appropriate, or the Jacquard mica-based powders already mentioned.

There’s another product called “Inlace” that a lot of people use that also looks like little rock chips (turquoise in mesquite seems to be a popular combination but I personally find it gaudy). And one other crazy idea, do a google search for a ‘glow table’ - someone used glow-in-the-dark powder in a polyester resin vs. epoxy in wormwood. Looks like for that idea you really need to either pore-seal or mask where you don’t want the glow, to make sure you only get it in the desired holes/channels.

p.s; @AaronJones your stuff looks great! I’d definitely go with West for larger epoxy solids (cast then machined) but it might be overkill for just inlay work in a channel…the little bit of natural amber in the epoxy just won’t show once dyed if you aren’t looking “thru” it…

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That pecan looks amazing i love the curly waves in it. You are right you can get great results with quick cure epoxies, the slower ones just give the bubbles at the bottom time to float to the top. The heat gun ( i use a mini torch) pops the surface bubbles. If you are filling small cracks this is the way to go. Also adding pigment helps hide bubbles that get caught in the cured epoxy.

As for sanding i also start at about 120 or 220 grit depending but i go all the way up to 5000 grit then i use http://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-M8532-Mirror-Diamond-Compound/dp/B0002SQVGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435284001&sr=8-1&keywords=Meguiars+Mirror+Glaze+%2385+Diamond+Cut+Compound+2.0 to get the glass finish. It might not work with wood in the background though but that is easily fixed with a few coats of poly.

I dont really care about cure time but im looking to start with just adding colors to the epoxy then work my way up through the metallic maybe later. This is just a huge experiment for me with the epoxies to see if they start to sell. Once i get a couple finished ill post a pic of what im doing. But all the information on this is FREAKING GREAT. Thanks all.

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I experimented with tinting epoxy resin and using it as an inlay material. First, using acrylic paint as a dye did not work very well. The acrylic paint did not want to mix evenly (it seemed to congeal in long strings). The result was very uneven color.

Next I tried grinding up pastel chalk and miking the resulting fine powder into the epoxy. This worked remarkably well. You just need to be sure you grind the powder very fine and use a lot of powder. Lighter colors require more powder than the darker colors. To get a bright white I needed to mix in about equal parts chalk and epoxy.

But the end results were very good. Be sure you eliminate all the air bubble in the resin by mixing it well but not “whipping” it. The use of a heat gun after the resin starts to set also helped reduce bubbles. It is also to be sure to overfill since the epoxy appears to contract when it is curing.

I also found that giving the epoxy 2 or 3 days to cure is recommended before sanding. Even then you need to be careful when using a belt sander, if the epoxy get to hot from the sanding friction it will turn gummy and make a mess of your sandpaper.

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Very cool. I tried using some of the cheap epoxy/resin from home depot with some of the tinting powder and it didn’t work that well. Maybe i didn’t use enough. What did you use to grind up the chalk?

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I used the very high tech method of pounding it with a hammer to break in to small pieces then dumped the small pieces in a shallow bowl and used the rounded handle of a screw driver to grind it till it was fine powder

I use Smooth-on tints. I usually order them up with the epoxy.
I was just checking out their site and saw that they have added glow in the dark powders. :slight_smile:

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Surfboard supply is a good application to resin tinting. http://www.foamez.com/glassing-surfboards-surfboard-pigments-tints-c-3_34.html You can see they suggest mixing the tint in the hardener side first, then adding that to the resin body.

If you do that be sure to pre-portion your hardener and resin so you still get the proportions right. (maybe your link indicates that, I didn’t check). @PaulKinlaw, try the T88 or great plains or anything but big-box epoxy. It’s not much more expensive but it’s way better to work with.

My desk is all ready to assemble, the project “retreated” to include repainting, carpet, and moulding as well. Soon, I hope…

Hey folks,

Evercoat makes tints especially for epoxy resin. I get mine at West Marine (because I work there).

http://www.westmarine.com/buy/evercoat--resin-coloring-agent--P004_120_004_002

Chris

Tempera powder paint works great. Super cheap on Amazon. I use it with West Epoxy System and it comes out great. To make more opaque colors you need to add a bit of the white powder. It is by far the least expensive and the colors turn out great.

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Is it really possible for this product to be compatible with all sorts of polyester resin?
I want to add Resin Coloring Agents to our products

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I would definitely check with the manufacturer of your polyester resin, but I would think it should work as it works with gelcoat and epoxy.

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Wow, this is an old thread. I have used 5 minute epoxy with acrylic paint and it does very well. I’m working on a video now to try different techniques. I should have it finished by the end of the week. I’ll be posting it on my YouTube Channel: Paw Paw’s Workshop when I’m finished. Keep a watch for it. Here is a link to my channel

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i would have never thought of acrylic paint with epoxy. Does it still harden as it should?

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