Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

How to remove excess two-part epoxy

I’ve attached a pearl to a bead cap/post with two part epoxy. There
is a little blob showing through at one spot. Any ideas about how I
can safely remove it?

I would use 3m wet sanding pad. Start with med grit and work up to
the higher grits.

Wild guess - tip of very small hot needle - maybe customize the tip
end of an electric soldering gun as used in electronic wiring. But
Not too hot - warm it to its temp then let it cool a bit. Epoxy
quickly melts to soft and sticky above about 160 F, could then pick
it off with tiny scraper - dental tool maybe.

I don’t know any solvents. Anyway - you don’t want solvent getting
into the joint. Be careful about the heat too-

Marty who uses lots of epoxy but on a grander scale (boats)

Sorry folks, but I am going to step in here and dismiss the previous

Abrasives would scratch and ruin the pearl. A hot pin would leave a
nasty brown burned area of epoxy.

Just use a cotton swab and acetone. If you need to get into a
tighter place than a cotton swab can get to, use a manicurist’s
cuticle pusher orange stick either by itself or with a small bit of
cotton on it. I find the orange sticks very useful in the shop. They
are easy to file or emery and shape to your needs andholdthier shape
beautifully. Much harder wood than an ordinary wooden dowel.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

If the glue is completely cured and has seeped between the cup and
pearl, run the item under hot tap water (around 150F to 175F). The
heat (never ever use a torch for this trick) will soften and render
the glue a little rubber-like then with a fingernail or toothpick
peel it.

The glue should peel off in one rubberlike strip. I have done this
hundredsof times. This will not compromise glue or pearl. After
cooling the glue will immediately harden up.

If there are any unsightly glue spots use nail polish remover to
smooth those out.

Sessin Durgham
Rio Grande Technical support

Just use a cotton swab and acetone. 

Acetone is the correct solvent for cured super glues. Not so much
for epoxies.

Get a can of “Attack”. That works with epoxies much better. Use with
ventilation (same with acetone too.).

I always use an X-acto knife.

In a Rio Grande video Mark Nelson used a craft knife/X-ACTO knife to
remove it. It just came right off.


If the glue is completely cured and has seeped between the cup and
pearl, run the item under hot tap water (around 150F to 175F). 

Um. I don’t think that’s just normal hot tap water any more, Sessin.
My home hot water heater (I happen to know this because I just had to
replace it) recommends 120F. I have it set at 125, which is hot
enough to be uncomfortable to my hands (never mind the shower…) if
not mixed with a bit of cold. at 150 to 175, you’re talking scalding
hot, risking significant burns. That may be what you need for this,
but it’s not likely coming straight out of the tap at that temp. The
steam cleaner jet, though…


Sorry, but I must quibble a bit about using hot water to warm the
entire joint as it would soften ALL the epoxy in the joint, not just
the bit that needs to be removed. In my experience, the epoxy will
not return to its former hardened strength when it cools. That is why
I suggested a TINY hot needle point to apply heat extremely locally
to the offending bit and I cautioned to not use excessive heat so as
the keep the heat from spreading into the rest of the joint and, as
well as to prevent any scorching or browning. The heat required to
soften the epoxy - approx 160 F or a bit more - is not hot enough to
scorch anything.

Some further reasoning from experience ;

In my boatbuilding practice it is sometimes necessary in making
repairs to remove tiny bronze screws which I had earlier installed.
When putting screws in I always put a dab of epoxy in the hole first
as a sealer and for extra strength. To remove screw without
excessive force and thus damaging or stripping the slot or twisting
off the shank, I first touch a hot soldering iron to the screw head
just for a moment. The heat is conducted down the shaft, the epoxy
is degraded, and the screw comes out easily, even if I have waited
long enough for the screw to cool to original temperature. The
cooled epoxy does NOT regain its grip on the screw.

Acetone will work, but very slowly. Attack (mostly methylene
chloride) or paint remover (partly methylene chloride) is much
better. Read and heed the warnings. Provide good ventilation for
yourself, but not for the Attack - it evaporates rapidly.

Al Balmer

If it were me I would soak it loose in acetone, clean it up, start
over and do it better than last time. Less glue.

Hello Martin,

I like your idea of the hot needle, and especially impressed with
your technique of removing epoxied screws! It’s always interesting to
hear methods from people in other fields.

Thanks for sharing,
Jeff Herman

And thanks for your reply, Sessin.

Thirty years of epoxy certain carries some weight and I defer to
your experience. You mentioned using “330 epoxy” and truth to tell
don’t know the difference between that and what I have been using
which has usually been West System or Gougeon Bros cold cure on my
boats - maybe different behaviour with heat. I have used heat lamps
to generally and gently warm an application to speed curing - but I
will vouch for my experience that high heat (much above melting
point) weakens the bond after it has set and I would have to re-glue
a joint if it had been so disassembled rather than expect it to cool
back to its original strength. SO, maybe different formulations are
that different.

Anyway, there is always a risk in translating between different
types of work, different scales and different formations under the
same general heading of “epoxy”. I did open my original post saying
it was a “wild guess” and maybe it was too wild - but starting from
where I am, that’s the best guess I had on hand and while it might
not be the best guess I think it would work OK. But I must admit, I
don’t build boats out of pearls so maybe we’re talking apples and

Thank you,


Thanks for the feedback and cool tips.

I’ve uses 330 epoxy in this manner for about 30 years when I was in
production doing wholesale and retail (0 returns of glued items).

Some users put that glue in an oven at 160F to cure. I don’t do
that. I use a lamp just occasionally when in a hurry.

Also when doing the running water tip you are only warming the
surface glue and the heat never penetrates the 3-4mm of glue that is
holding the pearl. It peels reluctantly and goes right back to rigid.
I learned this trick from an old gluesmith :wink:

Have a great day

Sessin Durgham
Rio Grande Technical support