Q is for Quick-set epoxy

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Q is for Quick-set epoxy

As you can see from the label, this kind of epoxy is usually used in plumbing applications. It's a tube of thick, gray epoxy resin with a core of gel hardener. To use it, you slice off how much you think you'll need and knead it (no pun intended). In moments, the hardener starts to react chemically with the epoxy, making a sticky putty.

This stuff is GREAT for emergency repairs to pipes. It's an epoxy, not a glue. That means it hardens due to the chemical reaction, not as a result of drying. You can spread this stuff on a cracked and leaking pipe, wrap it tight with duct tape and in an hour or so, the pipe will (mostly) stop leaking. That buys you enough time to get out of emergency repair mode and into normal repair mode.

So why is this here in a series of posts about woodworking? Because I find that it's great for use in old screw holes that have been stripped. When the screw no longer stays in the hole, you can sometimes effect an emergency repair by putting in some toothpicks or slips of paper to give the screw threads something to bite into. For a proper fix, though, the kind of long-term repair that won't leave you worried, you need to refill the hole.

I still like Plastic Wood for many space-filling operations, but Plastic Wood has to dry in order to set hard. Not a problem for thin applications, but when you fill in a hole, the big mass takes a long time to dry. Also, for any load-bearing application, Plastic Wood has a tendency to fracture. With this quick-set plumber's epoxy, it sets hard from the inside out. Sure, it looks like hell, being gunmetal-gray and all, but who cares? This is reserved for applications that no one will ever see.

You slice off a chunk of the quick-set, work it to an even consistency and thumb it into the hole. Then, before it sets hard, you use a nail to give yourself a narrow pilot hole. When this stuff sets, it's almost as hard as cast iron. You just need to drill out a new set hole for the screw and voilĂ , you're good for another 30 years.

Another advantage of this quick-set epoxy putty is that, unlike liquid epoxys, you can use it overhead and upside down. It's good stuff - cheap, easy to work with, durable. Granted it's a rock-solid pain in the ass to wash off your fingers, but that's a small price to pay.
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  1. I'll have to remember that pipe-repair trick. Seems I do more plumbing than woodworking, myself. Sounds like a handy temporary fix!

    1. A badly leaking pipe fitting might need a second slathered coating, but it will take a gush down to a manageable drip.

  2. thank you for this tip. I will try this epoxy product and tell you about my use wit it.

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