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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 07-03-2007, 09:03 AM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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Cheap (local) epoxy for mosaic pins.

Just a little nugget of experience that I thought I would share. Stop me if you've heard this one...

I did about 10 test attempts at creating mosaic pins, with little luck.

The problem always seemed to be with my epoxy being too thick. Since I didn't want to wait around for an order of "the good stuff" to get to me, I bought every type of epoxy I could find locally - all with terrible results. Until I tried the cheap no-name stuff from Hobby Lobby. It is called "Ultrafast Epoxy Cement" and was $3. (http://www.craftsetc.com/store/item....at=10&Search=Y)

It is cheap, has very low fumes, is very fluid, takes color well (I used india ink) and it sets in what I call "a useful way". For the first 2 or 3 minutes, it is very fluid. Then over the next 1.5 minutes it turns very hard, very fast. Within 15 minutes, it felt like stone. I let it sit 24 hours anyway just to be sure. But since it sets so fast, it makes keeping the epoxy in place after you get it sucked in the pin a lot easier. You can basically draw the epoxy through the pin like normal, then put your thumb over the tubing end and wait one minute. Then you're done.

I also found a nice trick. I used the standard vinyl tubing as a straw for drawing the epoxy up the pin, but I made one modification. Instead of just slipping the tubing on one end and putting the other end in the epoxy, I first put a wrap of electrical tape around the top and bottom of the pin. In addition to the 6" "straw" that most use, I put a small length (about 1/3") of tubing on the bottom of the pin. So the pin is kind of suspended in between two lengths of tubing. The electrical tape and extra tubing save you from having to clean or cut off the ends, giving you more usable pin!

Not as good as the expensive stuff I'm sure, but useful if want to play around making some pins and don't want to order anything. (assuming you have a Hobby Lobby near by)

They also carry K&S metal rods and tubes you can use for the pin itself!
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2007, 11:25 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Very interesting, Paul. The cheap glue will probably be just fine for this application as long as it doesn't shrink excessively over time.....


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  #3  
Old 07-03-2007, 11:28 AM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Rogers
as long as it doesn't shrink excessively over time.....
Yeah, that is my only concern. I actually set up a test of two small slabs of ebony with a 1/16 gap filled with this stuff. I'm checking it with my caliper every once in a while to see if there is any shrinkage. So far (5 days) it hasn't moved a thousandth. *fingers crossed*
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  #4  
Old 07-03-2007, 12:51 PM
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NJStricker NJStricker is offline
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Paul,

My brother is a chemist and the companies he has worked for make adhesives for custom applications. One of their ways of testing the long-term durability of adhesives is a freeze/heat test. They have expensive freezers and ovens to do the testing, but the idea is to expose the adhesive to several cycles of extreme heat and cold (they also use UV radiation for some applications) in an accelerated attempt to see how the materials stand up to exposure over time. You may not want to put the ebony in an oven, at least not at very high temperatures, but you could stick it in a freezer and see how much shrinkage occurs (in the cold and again when the material returns to room temperature).

Nathan
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  #5  
Old 07-03-2007, 11:41 PM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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Nathan,
Sounds like a plan. You would be suprised how hot ebony can get before it ignites. I have used it as a socket material for firedrills and had it so hot that it scorched the oak block it was epoxied to (also, the epoxy failed). But once it gets going, good luck putting it out!

I think I will give it a few heatgun/freezer cycles and see what it does!

Thanks for the tip!
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  #6  
Old 07-04-2007, 06:00 PM
Terry_Dodson Terry_Dodson is offline
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Do you have any pics of the mosaic pins? I am thinking about trying to make some myself and read somewhere that you could mix acetone with the epoxy to make it thinner, do you know if this would work?
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  #7  
Old 07-04-2007, 09:28 PM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry_Dodson
Do you have any pics of the mosaic pins? I am thinking about trying to make some myself and read somewhere that you could mix acetone with the epoxy to make it thinner, do you know if this would work?
I do indeed. The picture is pretty bad, because I have yet to build a light box. It really is that black in the epoxy areas there though - not just a trick of the camera. And I have yet to find a void, so I'm pretty pleased so far.


...and here is way I have the tubes set up.


As to acetone - I don't know if it would work or not. But with this stuff, I didn't really need any. It was thin enough to begin with.

Last edited by Paul Gibson; 07-04-2007 at 09:29 PM. Reason: added note
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  #8  
Old 07-04-2007, 10:06 PM
Terry_Dodson Terry_Dodson is offline
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Thanks for the pics, What size mosaic pin is that, and it looks real good from here.
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2007, 08:28 AM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry_Dodson
Thanks for the pics, What size mosaic pin is that, and it looks real good from here.
Thanks!
It is 1/4". An aluminum tube with a brass tube inside, followed by copper rod and small brass tubes. All K&S stock from Hobby Lobby.
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2007, 08:50 AM
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Mungo Park Mungo Park is offline
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Paul:
Looking good. I think you are onto something.
I used rod building epoxy mixed with testors model paint for color there are a zillion colors to pick from. The color works well if you do not add too much or the epoxy stays tacky. If you can find fishing rod building epoxy it is very fluid, and is very durable over time.
My problem is finding the rods, where did you get yours? The pins i made are very simple since I could only find one type of pin and tube.
Cheers Ron.
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  #11  
Old 07-09-2007, 08:39 AM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mungo Park
My problem is finding the rods, where did you get yours? The pins i made are very simple since I could only find one type of pin and tube.
There is a hobby store near me called "Hobby Lobby" (http://www.hobbylobby.com/) that sells rods, tubes, and sheet made by a company called K&S (http://www.ksmetals.com/) - I'm betting any store that stocks a lot of model train and plane stuff would carry them though. I had to do a lot of fiddling to find a design that fit tight, but not over tight - but with some more experimentation, I bet a lot of combinations are possible.
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2020, 08:15 AM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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13 year mosaic update

I was digging around for pigment suggestions for mosaic pin epoxy coloring and, low and behold I find my own post from from 2007! I thought people might be interested in how this epoxy/ink combo has held up over the last 13 years.

It has held up great! I still have that knife so I snapped an updated pic (after polishing off the oxides and dirt). The pin looks pretty much like it did when I made it. No shrinkage.

I will say, in the spots where the aluminum and brass outer tubes were touching there was increased green oxides on the surface. Probably a galvanic response. But it wiped right off.

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  #13  
Old 07-19-2020, 10:00 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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I'll add that store Like lowes and Home Depot carry some tubing and rods.
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  #14  
Old 07-21-2020, 06:50 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Save your lips - go to Harbor Freight and buy one of those cheap brake bleeder pump kits (coupon is good to use here). Simple to set up and you can get a nice easy vacuum pull with just a couple of squeezes. Plus you don't have to figure out how to get the red epoxy off your teeth.....


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  #15  
Old 07-21-2020, 02:32 PM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crex View Post
Save your lips - go to Harbor Freight and buy one of those cheap brake bleeder pump kits (coupon is good to use here). Simple to set up and you can get a nice easy vacuum pull with just a couple of squeezes. Plus you don't have to figure out how to get the red epoxy off your teeth.....
Ha! Yeah, I guess the wording in the original post was a little vague on that point: but yeah, I used (and still use) a little hand held vacuum pump that came with a brake bleeding kit.

Grainger is a great source for the tubing too. For small diameter nickle silver wire, you can find spools for pretty cheap online.

Hitting a slow cure epoxy with a heat gun to thin it works really well too (picked that one up from Sandy Jack). I think the reason that original experiment worked well is the addition of the ink accelerated the cure, which in turn increased the heat and thereby thinned the epoxy. Heat gun works the same way, but in reverse.
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