View Full Version : Sealing Plugs with epoxy

04-16-2016, 09:37 PM
Eric Roach did a comprehensive test on different sealing methods, which is searchable and worth the read.

In 2013 I had several plugs (maple) that I built spilt on me in one outing because my perch was rather deep and my bag sat in the water. Beyond that they were sealed in spar urethane and min spirits, which was my method for sealing the plugs I turned.

After that instance, I switched to a more labor intensive method which was to heat the plug bodies then seal using envirotex lite. The result was a rock solid body, and no split plugs since.

I liked the method of epoxy sealing and the odor was not as obnoxious as the spar / MS. Certainly more expensive, but I've also stopped using the etex as a top coat because it doesn't hold up. So it's a good way to use up the remaining material as a sealer because it does bond well with direct wood contact.

The issue I was concerned with was more in line with the work time. I had to hussle to seal 6 large plugs with this method before the material would begin to tack up and not penetrate the wood.

This winter I gave Smith's CPES a shot, which is more expensive but the long working time allowed me to mix a large batch and seal a lot of plugs without heating the bodies first. It uses a considerable amount of material. 120ml did 8, 8" plugs but it has the viscosity of water so coverage and the through hole received ample coverage.

Extra material when covered (mixed) stays usable for up to a week. I found that in two days the plugs sanded dry, but after a week the plugs turned rock hard like they did sealing with the envirotex lite.

The Smith's has a strong odor, but again the my primary goal was to be able to seal a large batch of plugs with epoxy in one run. Or if I got tired to cover and resume in a day or two. The other benefit was that the Smith's will cure in cold weather (at a longer time frame) but optimal temperature wasn't a requirement.

In other words, I was able to seal a batch then move the whole lot to the shed outside to hang and set up over the course of a week.

A large batch of epoxy sealing for me is two dozen plugs or more.

I do not have evidence at this time that the Smith's will stop the plugs from splitting when submerged for long periods of time, but I thought I'd share my initial impression as it's fresh in my mind.

Do I recommend this product now? No, full testing not complete

I rate myself as a very low output hobby builder, which may help some reading these threads.

04-16-2016, 10:36 PM
I'm really digging the epoxy sealing especially hardwoods

Were you cutting the etex with alcohol?

I just did 18 plugs and had left over etex and didn't have any issues with working time.
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04-17-2016, 06:11 AM
Were you cutting the etex with alcohol?

No I wasn't Chris, I will moving forward to use up the rest of the etex I have.
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Diggin Jiggin
04-17-2016, 08:13 AM
Like Chris said, cut the thicker epoxies with denatured alchohol. Thins it nice so you can just pour it over and thru the blanks.

I've used pretty much any epoxy I've had around the house and all seemed to work fine. I've been using up some old aftcote rod building epoxy...

04-17-2016, 09:43 AM
Matt once you cut the epoxy with alcohol the working time is incredible, has a water:light syrup consistency and you can do a lot of plugs with one batch.

One thing is at first the etex and alcohol don't want to mix, so takes a little effort to get to mix in, but once you do the mixture has a long working time maybe 30-45 minutes

I've been hearing my plugs in the toaster oven at 175 for 15-20 minutes and able to get two batches done with the same mix
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Eric Roach
04-17-2016, 10:35 AM
I'm a low-yield builder as well and I like to complete them as fast as possible.

Waiting for the solvent to evaporate after sealing is easily the longest part of the building process, so I'm now sealing with an epoxy called Low V that contains 100% solids and no VOCs. With a little bit of heat to help the curing process, they are ready to prime within 24 hours.