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Sticky epoxy?

Hello all, I’ve recently started using resin (devcon 2 part epoxy)
in my work, and have come across a frustrating problem. Sometimes it
seems that the resin never dries, not even after weeks (I use the 20
minute variety). I read on the net that this is due to improper
ratios of hardener to epoxy, or perhaps incomplete mixing … but, in
the meantime, I really want to finish these pieces! Does anyone have
any suggestions about how to dry this possibly faulty epoxy mix?

Thanks so much!

I don’t think it will ever harden, if it’s the wrong mixture.
You’ll have to soak it out with Attack and start over. How are you
mixing it?

Don’t use those syringe dispensers, you can’t get equal amounts with
that. Mix with one toothpick, throw it all, and apply the epoxy
with a fresh toothpick.

Maybe one of the other systems would work better for you – Colores,
where you actually measure the parts, or a light curing system like
Durenamels (have I got that name right?) Gesswein sells it.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I don't think it will ever harden, if it's the wrong mixture.
You'll have to soak it out with Attack and start over. How are you
mixing it? 

Too bad! I actually sanded the pieces down quite a ways, and put
more on, hopefully that will work out better. - I have been using the
syringe dispensers, can’t seem to find the 2-ton variety without
them. Is Colores fairly equivalent to Devcon?

Thanks again!


Doesn’t sound so good for the home team. My best suggestion is to
clean it all off, and start over. If you can, or the stones to be
set are not porous, or dyed, or pearls, I would soak the pieces in
rubbing alcohol to remove the old epoxy, and clean it off. This can
some times take a few days. I just use an old jar, put in the
rubbing alcohol, close the lid, and put it to the side. Check it
every day. The old epoxy should become like jelly, and dissolve.
Kinda weird, but it works.

Make sure to dry your items, once ALL the old epoxy is removed.
Check any areas you may have scored, or filed to give them more
"purchase" to make sure all that old epoxy is gone. Your best tools
for this is toothpicks, pins or cotton swabs dipped in the rubbing
alcohol. Once cleaned, you may wish to re-score or file those
areas, gently.

I do not recommend the quicker epoxies, as they do not always hold
up as well to temperature, pressure or other environmental changes.
I do recommend the Epoxy 330, amber. It is a long set - 8 hour -
epoxy. Made by Hughes in MN. (usual disclaimer, no relation other
than very happy customer) You can find it at Rio, IJS, Thunderbird,
and many other jewelry suppliers. As always, make sure all parts to
be glued are clean, dry and fit well. For Crystals, or other smooth
surfaces, I always make sure to score, file or in some way make it
rougher for that additional ‘purchase’.

Mix your epoxy to the instructions. I also make sure to spend a few
extra minutes mixing it, for the 330, it will turn kind of a gray
color. And it’s way easy, with the long set, to take that few extra
minutes on the front end to save grief, time and frustration in the
long run.

Making sure to carefully handle the pieces to be glued, so that no
finger oil, or contaminants get on the surfaces to be joined, add
your epoxy - a plain old tooth pick or straight pin works very well

  • place the epoxy on both sides, put together, and set aside to dry.

For drying I use old Styrofoam meat or bakery trays, cups filled
with rice, or egg cartons. All work well to keep the jewelry pieces
stable, and in the correct position so that things don’t slide, or
move from where they are supposed to be.

Leave overnight, and in the morning, Viola! It is done, and dry.

The only time I have ever had ANY trouble with this epoxy, in over
15 years, is when it was extremely humid. I didn’t have a
dehumidifier then… Now, I do. So, 3 pieces that I had trouble
with in 15 years, of the thousands, is not so bad.

AJ Cullum
the Royal Exchange Jewelers

I often use the Devcon 20 Min, from the syringes. I find they are
very accurate. I do mix for at least 1 minute before I apply the
epoxy. Sometimes heat will cure epoxy, set your pieces under a warm
lamp and see if that cures it.

If not, then you will have to soak the piece in acetone and start
over. There is a small glitch in what you did. Try again. I find
Devcon very reliable and easy to use.



I have found lacquer thinner to work better to release and clean up
epoxy. Sometimes when epoxy is tacky after a day or so, that tells
me the mix wasn’t right or the environment was correct for the epoxy
to set up.

Here is a tip for the warmer months, take a can of pop, turn it
upside down and mix the epoxy in the concave bottom, the cool
temperature of the pop will keep the epoxy from setting up to fast.


We use M.E.K. (please don’t ask me to spell it) to get broken glass
out of watch cases when the glass was put in with epoxy. It will
melt plastic! It stinks but works well. A paint store will have it.


I’ve noticed that epoxy has a short lifespan once the tubes have
been opened, and the symptom that my epoxy has gone bad is a failure
to harden. I buy the smallest tubes I can and replace it when it
shows signs of not hardening properly.

Janet Kofoed

Jerry, another epoxy question… Can it get too old and then show
the same symptoms? Does it (should have) an expiration date?


    We use M.E.K. (please don't ask me to spell it)... 

For those who may need to spell it for the paint store proprietor:
methyl ethyl ketone.

James in SoFl

We use M.E.K. (please don't ask me to spell it) to get broken

G’day; MEK = methyl ethyl ketone. This is a very volatile liquid
that doesn’t STINK, but smells strongly much like acetone, or nail
polish remover, It will not melt plastic but soften it.

Cheers for now,
JohnB of Mapua, Nelson NZ

    I've noticed that epoxy has a short lifespan once the tubes
have been opened, and the symptom that my epoxy has gone bad is a
failure to harden. I buy the smallest tubes I can and replace it
when it shows signs of not hardening properly. 

Right on, Janet! And I’ve also noticed it has a pretty short lifespan
even when it hasn’t been opened. Needs to be fresh to be dependable.