Epoxy 101

General

  • Why didn't the epoxy cure?

    There are two common reasons why the epoxy didn't cure:  incorrect measuring and incomplete mixing.  Measuring and mixing is really easy with most System Three® epoxy systems because they mix at a 2:1 or 1:1 volume ratio, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention to what you’re doing. First , read the label or Technical Data Sheet to see what the correct ratio is for the product you are using. Customers will call our Technical Support line suggesting that something is wrong with the epoxy because it didn’t cure properly. We know of no situation where properly-mixed resin/hardener has gone bad or has been contaminated and wouldn’t cure. In the majority of cases, it turns out that the batch was either incorrectly measured or insufficiently mixed. Epoxy chemistry just will not allow it to work any other way.

    If you’re working on a project that requires you mix many small resin batches, develop a measuring technique that is sufficiently accurate and stay with it. Doing it the same way each time will minimize the chance for error. 

  • The Part A resin has hardened and turned white. Can I still use it?

    Yes. The white solid or haziness is a mass of resin crystals. Crystallized resin will not cure properly. To bring the resin back to a usable state, heat the bottle up in a water bath above 125 degrees F until the resin clears up. It will then be ready for use.

  • What is the shelf life of your epoxy resin products?

    We will guarantee the performance of our epoxy products for three years from the date of manufacture, printed on the bottom of the containers, provided they are stored properly. They will probably last much longer, but they should be tested first after the three-year period. The resin may crystallize or the hardener may darken but this does not affect its performance. Crystallized resins should be reheated in a water bath that is 125 F until the resin clears up prior to use in your application.

     

  • Can I tint or color System Three epoxies?

    Yes, we offer a pourable Epoxy Pigment Dispersion specifically formulated to be dispersed in System Three epoxy resins. They are available in 7 standard colors and can be blended with each other to create additional colors. Please check our our blog and product page for more information on these color pigments here.

    All other dyes and colorants should be tested by the user to ensure it cures to their satisfaction.

  • Should the contents of Silvertip Yacht Primer be stirred?

    Yes. The pigments in Silvertip Yacht Primer Hardener Part B are prone to settling and should be thoroughly mixed prior to using with the Part A. Please see the Paint Application Guide and Technical Data Sheet for more details on application. 

     

  • What fillers can I use with System Three epoxies?

    Please check out Section VII C - Modifying Epoxy with Fillers in the Epoxy Book for guidance on fillers.  

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Measuring & Mixing

  • How do I measure by volume vs by weight?

    Liquid products can easily be measured by volume; paste and solid products must be measured by weight. To measure by volume, the use of disposable cups with graduation marks on the side is adequate. Pour the Part A resin and the Part B hardener on top of each other, in the same container. For measurement by weight, a gram scale (for small batches), or a postal scale(for larger batches) is necessary.

  • Why did my epoxy heat up soon after I mixed it?

    Many of our clear epoxy adhesives, coatings, and laminating resins will heat up, or exotherm, if left in the mixing container too long because of the chemical reaction.

  • Epoxy got hot. What happened?

    Most of our liquid epoxy products need to be poured out soon after the two parts are mixed together to prevent premature curing, called "exotherm."

     

     

Adhesive Bonding with Epoxy

  • What materials will your adhesives bond together?

    System Three® epoxy resin adhesives will bond (glue) all woods, most metals, concrete, masonry, glass.  They will also bond some plastics like nylon and Mylar. Following a flame-treatment surface preparation, they will bond to many other plastics including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, acrylic and polycarbonate plastics. Generally, epoxy adhesives are the best choice for bonding dissimilar materials together. If epoxy bonds to Material A and to Material B it will bond the two materials to each other. The best thing to do is to try it and see for yourself.

  • What materials will adhere to epoxy surfaces?

    System Three® coating/laminating resins present easy-to-bond to surfaces.  When these surfaces are cured and prepared properly, nearly any film-forming coating or adhesive will bond well to them.  Follow the surface preparation directions on the product you intend to use over the top of the System Three epoxy product.

Product Safety

General

  • Do I need to wear a mask when working with your materials?

    Wearing an organic vapor respirator is necessary in the following situations:

    Spraying Silvertip Yacht Primer,

    Spraying WR-LPU

    Spraying, brushing, or rolling S-1 Penetrating Sealer

    Most of our products do not contain hazardous volatile materials, so wearing a vapor respirator is not necessary.  However, when sanding any of our products when cured, it is highly recommended you wear a dust mask or respirator, as any airborne dust particles can be irritating.

  • Are your products REACH Certified?

    Yes.  If you need documentation, please contact Technical Support, support@systemthree.com, and reference the specific product.

  • Are your products compliant for RoHS?

    Yes.  If you require documentation, please contact Technical Support, support@systemthree.com, and reference the specific product.

  • Safe for fish?

    Q:  Can you build an aquarium out of System Three products?

    A:  Yes.  You can build it out of wood and fiberglass using Silvertip™ or General Purpose™ Resin systems.  And then you can bond the parts together with one of our adhesives like Gel Magic or T-88.  But because our products have not been tested for aquatic leaching potential, you must then apply a finish to the completed unit that has been tested for its safety to fish.

     

     

     

SDS

Surface Preparation

Preparation

Sanding

  • Sanding guidelines for applying multiple coats of product.

     

    • Recoating or applying multiple coats of one of our 2:1 epoxy products (General Purpose, SilverTip, Clear Coat, MirrorCoat, etc.) can be done without sanding if done within 72 hours of the previous coat. Beyond 72 hours, sand the previous coat with no higher than 120 grit sand paper to ensure the next coat adheres or properly levels out. 
    • For S-1 Sealer and Cold Cure products, the recoat window is 24 hours. 
    • For all System Three adhesives (Quick Cure, T-88, Gel Magic, MetlWeld, etc.) sand in between coats for best adhesion if a second application is desired. Please follow all instructions on substrate surface preparation prior to applying System Three adhesives.
    • For fairing compounds, putty, and pastes, please allow to fully cure then abrade or sand if additional product is to be applied.

     

  • How long should I wait to sand?

    See Technical Data Sheet or container.

Product Application

EndRot Kit

Adhesives

  • Which product do you recommend for gluing oily woods such as teak and rosewood?

    We recommend the G-2 Adhesive for oily woods. Surfaces to be bonded should be free of oils for optimal adhesion. With a clean cotton rag liberally moistened with lacquer thinner, vigorously wipe area to be bonded. While surface is still moist with solvent, wipe with a dry rag and allow to dry completely. If necessary, repeat wiping until surface dries to a whitish color indicating extraction of surface oil. Once dry, sand using 120 grit to open up the grain. Bond within eight hours of cleaning.

Marine Spar Varnish

  • How do I thin down or lower the viscosity of the Marine Spar Varnish?

    The Marine Spar Varnish can be thinned with mineral spirits at up to 10-15% by weight.

  • Marine Spar Varnish Over Sanding Sealers

    System Three® Marine Spar Varnish can be used over some sanding sealers but it will depend on the formulation of the sealer. Most lacquer-based sanding sealers are not recommended because the sanding aids are wax-related. We recommend testing the varnish over any other sealers in a small section to ensure you get good adhesion between the two coatings.  Also, for future reference, the Spar Varnish does not require sanding in between coats if applied within 12-24 hours of the initial coat. 

                                                   MarineSparVarnish_GlossGallon_2015_300dpi_1000x1000.jpg

RotFix

  • What finishes are compatible over RotFix?

    We know that System Three® finishes, WR-LPU and Marine Spar Varnish 
    are compatible with RotFix™.  Nitrocellulose lacquer, waterborne finishes, and 2-part polyurethanes will work as well.  As far as oil and 1-part polyurethanes, you will need to test for compatibility.

  • RotFix as a paint primer

    RotFix Sealer is a great product for consolidating or hardening soft or rotted wood.  It's also useful as a general purpose wood sealer.  If you have wood to paint, and it's a little soft, but not rotted away to require a full repair,  Rot Fix epoxy sealer will act as a primer for paint.

     

Sculpwood Putty & Paste

  • Can Sculpwood Putty or Paste be colored?

    Yes.  There are a few options:

    1)  Dry pigments can be added into the mixed products in any proportion. 

     2)  Liquid dyes or paint colorants can be added into the mixed at up to 2% by weight.

     3)  System Three® Epoxy Paste Pigments can mixed into the Part A at up to 10% by weight and then mixed 1:1 with the Part B.

     1600K16.jpgPastePigment_Red_2oz_72dpi_1000x1000.jpg

  • Can you stain over Sculpwood Putty or Paste?

    Unfortunately, no.  The resin content of the products is high enough to effectively have them function somewhat as sealers, and the stain will not penetrate like it will into the bare wood.

    The suggested workaround is to mix dry pigments or house paint colorants into the paste or putty as you combine the Part A and B.  This can approximate the color of the stained wood around it.

  • How soon can SculpWood Putty be applied over the RotFix Epoxy?

    SculpWood Putty can be applied over the RotFix immediately after application.

Mirrorcoat™

  • How much Mirror Coat do I need for my project?

    Mirror Coat requires a total of 4.5 ounces per square foot (1/2 ounce for the seal coat and 4 ounce for the flood coat) of mixed resin and hardener. Therefore, you can multiply the square foot area of your project by 4.5 to calculate an estimate coverage. 

  • Can you apply Mirror Coat over previously varnished wood?

    Yes, Mirror Coat can be applied over previously varnished wood provided the varnish is sufficiently cured, clean, and sanded. 

  • Can fine scratches or defects be buffed or sanded out of your products?

    Yes.  System Three® offers a sanding and buffing kit for sale on the website.  Contents are shown below.  The video shows its use with Mirrorcoat®, but it also works well on WR-LPU and coating epoxies like Silvertip™.  Click on the image for detailed information and to purchase.

    Repair_RestoreKitContents_300dpi.jpg 

     

    A white paper literature piece can also be downloaded from the website here:

    Guide to Buffing and Polishing

  • What are the causes for fish-eyes or craters in Mirror Coat?

    MVI_2492.MOV.00_00_35_10.Still002.jpg

    From our experience, cratering or fish eyeing almost certainly indicate that one of three things occurred during your application:

    1. Insufficient drying and/or incompatibility with a stain or oil: Pre-testing is always recommended when using products from another manufacturer.

    2. Sanding too smooth can cause the epoxy to draw away from the surface. For example, sanding higher than 220 grit will make it difficult for the Mirror Coat to overcome the surface tension of the substrate. 

    3. Lack of coverage: We specify pouring the MirrorCoat at 4 oz/sq ft to allow enough coverage on the substrate. Any less will result in a lack of adequate coverage.

     

  • Can fine scratches be buffed or sanded out of Mirrorcoat?

    Yes.  System Three offers a sanding and buffing kit for sale on the website.  Contents are shown below.  The video shows its use.

    Repair_RestoreKitContents_300dpi.jpg

    A white paper literature piece can also be downloaded from the website here:

    Guide to Buffing and Polishing

  • Mirrorcoat Heat Resistance/Temperature Tolerance

    The rule of thumb with cured Mirrorcoat® and how much heat it will tolerate is this:  If an object is not too hot to hold in your hand, you can set it directly on a Mirrorcoat surface which is completely (more than a week) cured.  If it is hotter, you must place a coaster or hot pad underneath the object.

    If you happen to put an object that is too hot on a Mirrorcoat surface, and it leaves a ring, the ring can many times be removed by passing a hairdryer back and forth over the affected area.

    20180223-MVI_5721-4.jpg20180223-IMG_5746.jpg

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WR-LPU

  • How long before I can apply the WR-LPU over epoxy?

    Allow epoxy to cure at least 7 days at 70F or above before applying WR-LPU. Please see the Technical Data Sheet and the Paint Literature for more information on application. 

  • How do I thin down or lower the viscosity of the WR-LPU Topcoat?

    The WR-LPU Topcoat may be thinned with clean deionized or distilled water at up to 25%. 

  • Custom colors for WR-LPU

    WR-LPU waterborne polyurethane topcoat comes in 12 standard colors.  We will match any color sample you send us for an upcharge with a minimum order of 1 gallon.  Small 4 oz. samples of all 12 colors are available for a nominal charge from the website.  These can be intermixed in any proportions to obtain the color you want in order to have it matched.

  • I want to paint a design on my wood/epoxy paddleboard but I do not know what kind of paint to use or when to paint.

    You can paint your design under or over the epoxy coating.  If it's underneath, ordinary house paint will do.  If it's on top of the resin, we would recommend our WR-LPU.

     

     

     

Miscellaneous

  • What is the best product for laminating longbows or recurve bows?

    Here are two excellent options(please follow the links for detailed information and pricing):

    1)  Use System Three® T-88, our original structural epoxy adhesive.  The viscosity is high enough so you don't need to be concerned about starving the joints.

     

    2)  Use Silvertip Gel Magic™, our non-sagging, gelled epoxy adhesive, with toughening technology to withstand increased vibration and impact resistance.

     

    Both will form permanent structural bonds when the parts are laminated in a jig.  The cured bows will still flex without cracking.

  • What is your best product for gap-filling?

    Depending on your specific application, there are any number of options.  If you want a clear product, or one that can be colored, a pourable, self-leveling epoxy like Mirrorcoat® or Mirrorcast™ will work very well.  For vertical surfaces, a non-sagging product like Gel Magic, primarily used as an adhesive, is easily mixed and spread, filling gaps without shrinking.

  • How can I repair wood rot?

    System Three® offers the End Rot® Kit, a group of products which kill rot, repair the wood, and keep the rot fungus from coming back.

  •  What is the proper surface preparation for gluing wood to metal using G2?

    Make sure that the surfaces are clean, sanded, and free from contaminates.  Best results are achieved by adding some silica thickener to the G2.  Also, apply only enough clamp pressure to close the joint.  Over clamping will squeeze out the G2, resulting in a weak bond. 

  • Can I coat urethane (poly iso) foam with epoxy?

    Silvertip, General Purpose, or Cold Cure epoxy resin will coat the foam without attacking it.

  • How much area can I cover with a bead of adhesive from a cartridge?

    LINEAR FEET OF ADHESIVE OR SEALANT PER CARTRIDGE

            DEPTH      
      INCHES 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 1.25 1.5
      0.25 24.1          
      0.5 12.3 6.0        
    WIDTH 0.75 8.0 4.0 2.7      
      1.0 6.0 3.0 2.0 1.5    
      1.25 4.8 2.4 1.6 1.2 1.0  
      1.5 4.0 2.0 1.3 1.0 0.8 0.7
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