Glues and epoxies

Hi all. I would like to know what you are currently using for
epoxying gems to metal (as in inlay work). I need to find a new and
stronger glue for a project I am working on. Thanks.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

I have successfully used two part "duro"epoxy .most hardware stores
have it .it usually dries clear and it can be thoroughly mixed in 30 seconds .

Hughs’ Epoxy 330 has been my choice for about 20 years now.
Previously I used a Duro product which set up clear, but seemed to
lose its grip aftewr a couple of years. I have seen pieces I did with
330 after almost 20 years and the bond still seems very solid. It is
also good for dyeing; I use the powdered aniline dye which was
available from Greigers before they closed.


Daniel: Could you share with us name of the material that you have
decided isn’t strong enough? It would save some of us from buying it,
using it and having unhappy clients. Thanks!


I have been most impressed by the generosity of those participating
in this forum. So now I would like to contribute. Daniel Spirer asked
about expoxies. I’ve used Epoxy 220 for a long time and have never
had a failure. Gesswein carries it as does Rio Grande. I would get
the 1oz tubes; it’s two part. Freshness is important. The technique
is as important as the epoxy. I do a lot of lapidary work. I warm
the metal and the stone on my dopper. It’s something from Raytech
that is used to warm wax and dops and is powered by a 100 watt bulb.
The epoxy is thick when mixed and when used with warmed stone and
metal becomes very liquid and will flow easily. The working time is
longer than 330 epoxy. I also use the dopper to cure the epoxy and
allow at least an overnight cure. Another point, even if you need only
a small amount, mix larger portions to get an adequate mix (equal
amounts). Another tip I’d like to offer is “Fruit of the Earth” Aloe
Vera lotion. My hands are often in water in lapidary work and in
washing off polishing compounds. I also live in a very dry climate.
This stuff is the best I’ve found

Many brands available, depending on your exact needs.

Hughes Associates epoxies 220 and 330, amber- and water-clear
respectively, have been around for decades. Devcon’s products include
2-ton, 5-minute, plastic steel, and plastic bronze. The latter two
are opaque, best where they will be obscured with other stuff.

Dan woodard, Indian Jewelers Supply co.

Fred Woell recommended an epoxy during a course. It’s inexpensive and
was shipped right away. Stated on instructions…CF-3009 is a
rapid cure general purpose epoxy adhesive which has excellent
resistance to mechanical impact and shock and good electrical

Available from:
2310 E. Central Ave, ubit 10 
Duarte, CA 91010

Dear Charles, You are right on recommending Duro epoxy glue…within
its limitations. It does indeed dry clear, but it has been our
experience that it will darken with age thus making it questionable
for some applications. We have been thinking about going to the U.V
curing watch crystal glues. Meanwhile wouldn’t it be nice if some
adhesives engineer would help us in the jewelry industry: I’ll bet
that some of the space age formulas could dance circles around the
stuff we have been using. Chances are that many suppliers don’t
appreciate the fact that many of us would be happy to pay a bit more
for good stuff. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.

Hello Daniel, I am using Pattex super glue made by Henkel and Power
glue by Bison. I don’t remember which one but one of them is so very
strong that I wanted to separate the two pieces I glued by mistake and
I ended up with two pieces of stone in my hand but separated the wrong
way. The glued surface is still intact. I have put the pieces in
aceton, I heated the stones nothing helped to get rid of the glue. In
the instructions of the second one they mention that it is used also
for jewelery. Kind regards from Istanbul, Oya Borahan

Try Polishing and Jewelers supply In Providence RI ,tel: 401-454-2888
They sell colored epoxies and many types of epoxy glues used
specifically for glueing jewelry.Ask for Bob as he knows more about
it than most others… Also , his glue suppliers can formulate glues
with specific properties provided the order is large enough.He also
sells the syringes and needles as well as the air operated glue
applicators used in production factories. A trick often used in the
costume jewelry field when glueing stones is to use a glue that is
the same color as the stone so that the glue blends into the
background. Daniel Grandi : model,moldmaking,casting and finishing in
gold,silver bronze/brass and pewter .
visit the workshop on the web.

The Hughes 330 epoxy has long been the favorite of rockhounds and
lapidarists. It is water clear, does not darken, and lasts for many
many many years.

I have a number from a company that makes an epoxy for conservation
and restoration of fine art. I was told by a jewelry inlay artist that
it was the best he ever used. I called the company but never ordered
because it was so expensive but they claimed it was beyond anything
commercially available–also dries clear and stays clear for many
years. The number I have is 702-331-0582. I believe the product is
referred to as HXTAL-NYL-1-EPOXY. I have no idea if they’re still
around. Bill Navran

Hello Daniel,

Like most others on the list I too use Hughes for my inlay, I also
mix in a small amount of dry powder kiddies finger paint for colour
matching the inlay material or for enhancing inlaid opal.

Our Opal triplets however are assembled with a UV curing dental epoxy
which allows us to guarantee them for life against separation and
will be replaced free of charge if they ever come apart for any
reason. Unfortunately this stuff is about 100 times the price of
Hughes but it does produce a bond that you can confidently guarantee.
I doubt your jewellery gets the kind of abuse that meal times impose
on repaired teeth.

I suggest you have a chat with your dentist, he may sell you a small
amount for some experimenting and testing. Direct sunlight is an
excellent source of UV radiation.

HTH. Tony.

Hi folks ! I’ve used both Epoxy 220 and 330 (manufacturer: Hughes) for
about twelve years now. I still have some of the original pieces I
made with them, so it’s been a good test of their durability. I used
to do pieces that were heavily dependent on the strength of the
glue,so I tested them pretty thoroughly. Engineer husband helped me
devise tests of shear strength (more or less, sideways application of
force), etc.

I’ll outline their properties.

The 330 is clear, and has stayed clear for as long as I’ve used it.
However, 330 is not as strong as 220. 330 sets up pretty fast. 5-10
minutes working time, full bond in 24-48 hours. 220 is amber colored,
and is stronger than 330. The color means you can only use this where
you won’t see it. 220 sets up slower; you have about a 20 minute
window to assemble your parts. Full bond in 24-48 hours.

For both: Setting time AND strength are GREATLY increased by putting
under a lamp. I use an ordinary swing arm desk lamp with a 100 watt
bulb. I set the piece on something non-flammable (usually an old
cookie sheet), pull the lamp over so the metal shade practically
hides the piece. The bulb is only1-3 inches (2 1/2- 8 cm ) away from
the piece. Curing time is somewhat dependent on room humidity. I test
with a toothpick after about 1/2 hour to an hour.Glue should be rock
hard. As a general rule, if it’s raining, I don’t glue. When I have,
there’s always been something funny about the bond. Set, but not as
strong; spongy-looking. If your pieces will be able to drift off each
other, you must clamp. Keep going back to check! When you leave the
room for a snack, that’s when your pieces will drift and then set
rock-hard. I use office supply black binder clips, which come in many
sizes. Also you can use ordinary wooden spring clothespins, being
careful that the wood doesn’t actually touch any glue. You can also
use scotch tape, which can be peeled away from the cured epoxy, but
it isn’t drift proof. Also, the tape adhesive may melt (be more
careful with your heat lamp), but it’s easy to clean off with
alcohol. I clean up still-wet tools with alcohol (denatured, or any
kind), it’s not the perfect solvent for wet epoxy, but I always have
lots around, and the smell brings back lovely memories of my
scientific illustrator days spent drawing little critters preserved
in it. If your piece has oozing, let it set up part way, then clean
up edges with toothpicks. If it’s smeary use alcohol and a cotton
swab.Then return it to the heat. If your pieces do not set (in 2
hours at the most with heat), your mixing proportions for resin and
hardener were off, and you’ll just have to redo the job. For blending
resin and hardener, I like to use a painter’s palette knife,
trowel-shaped. When fully cured (do wait 48 hours for this), it can
be sanded. “Rings and Things” (sells mostly beads and findings, fimo,
etc., 1-800-366-2156) has their own epoxy formula which is also very
strong, and comes in big bottles at a reasonable price if you have a
lot to glue. It is amber colored. Mixing characteristics are
different ( they give you instructions), and it has a much longer
"open" time to assemble your parts. Abovementioned engineer husband
has brought home many industrial epoxy samples for me to try, but I’m
still happiest with the three described above. (By the way, they can
all be colored if you need to. Lapidaries have told me, but I don’t
know any details) The industrial ones I’ve tried had mostly weird
applications that were irrelevant to me, such as using underwater, or
had an unattractive color. There might be wonderful formulas out
there for special uses. Call Hughes- they make many formulas, not
just “ours”. Good luck. Lin Lahlum

Hi Tony,

 Like most others on the list I too use Hughes for my inlay, I also
mix in a small amount of dry powder kiddies finger paint for colour
matching the inlay material or for enhancing inlaid opal. 

Another source of colorant for the adhesives used for inlay is the
stone itself.

Save some of the ‘dust’ formed when grinding the stone or create some
by grinding a piece of same stone. If the stone is ground wet, let the
sludge dry before crushing it & mixing it with the adhesive.