What is Epoxy?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

Epoxy has nothing to do with email or anything electronic! Epoxy is an extremely useful adhesive that every homeowner should be familiar with, for it can repair almost anything. Much more useful than super glue, epoxy is a glue and a filler at the same time. This means you can fill voids in most anything without shrinkage. If you like to tear things apart and see if you fix them (true geek), you need this!

Epoxy is made of two liquid components, a resin and a hardener, which when mixed together in equal proportions, start a curing process that produces a very solid and permanent bond. And unlike super glue, you don't have to worry about gluing your fingers together! Epoxy is found in all hardware stores and everywhere adhesives or glue is sold. Look for a package that looks like a double medical syringe, for that is how it is usually packaged. Pushing the plunger down uniformly will usually produce equal amounts of resin and hardener that you then mix together with a small stick or toothpick. Now you have the world's best all-around glue for many materials, including plastic, metal, wood, brick, and concrete. The mixture does not have a strong or offensive odor, and can be applied with anything you have handy. A flat screwdriver works well most times, and a small putty knife works well on flat surfaces, but be sure to wipe off the excess before it glues your tools to the workbench!

Epoxy does not need to dry like other types of glue, which means there is no shrinkage. It's the perfect material to fill an open knot in wood, or to repair or attach something that is a bit uneven, or to bond different materials together, like metal and wood. Fully cured epoxy is hard, but can easily be sanded or cut with power tools. A little practice will make you confident to tackle many home projects. If you mix only the amount you need, a cheap package of epoxy will last a long time.

Epoxy is sold under many brands, but is all basically the same stuff. Your biggest decision will be to determine how much working time you want before the material sets up. Some epoxy will harden in a minute or two, which is really handy for certain projects, especially if you must hold the two parts in position while the epoxy sets up. Other projects will require epoxy with extended curing time, even up to 30 minutes. This is perfect for projects that require careful positioning or clamping. Smart homeowners and hobbyists keep both types in their shop, ready for anything. Be careful that the open containers of epoxy don't leak, and the uncured resin and hardener will last for months if properly capped.

One of the neatest epoxy products I've seen is a syringe that has a long zig-zag nozzle on the end that automatically mixes the epoxy as you push it out. This is an ingenious way to package epoxy for small projects that require precise placement of the glue or for repetitive assembly jobs or making crafts. Of course, once you open this package, you must use it all immediately, for the glue will setup in the nozzle if you wait too long. For the price, this is the handiest item to have around anywhere. If you find it, buy three or four of them. For the big jobs you can also buy epoxy in two metal cans, always sold in pairs. The procedure is the same, mixing the resin and the hardener in equal parts.

submitted by Crazy Wayne