Sunday, January 20, 2013

Major Makers of Light-Cured Resins Smooth Learning Curve for Fly Tiers

   Creating heads on musky flies used to be a time-consuming, low-productivity affair.  The urethane material I used was excellent but the drying was just so…slow…..  A guide friend was using a light-cured resin & I knew that someday I’d take the plunge.  I settled on a specific product brand largely because it had good reviews and it was the only product then locally available.

   Luckily, I was happy with the results.  Use of the product did produce some questions for which I didn’t have answers.  But, I kept tying musky flies with those big heads & stick-on eyes.  One day I noticed parts of the cured resin had become detached from the thread of the head.  This occurred again just prior to sending flies to a friend in Maine.

   Then, all those former questions turned into a quest.  Light-cured resins are a great boon to fly tiers, but there is a learning curve to their use.  My goal here is not to provide product reviews but to smooth out that learning curve for others & to keep my previous missteps from becoming yours.
 
   I emailed the 4 big players in the light-cured resin (LCR) market:  Loon Outdoors, Wet A Hook Technologies, Bug-Bond, and Clear Cure Goo.  I asked 22 questions, folks, 22!  That’s a lot to ask busy people to answer.  Initial contact was made with all 4 players and three have currently answered the questions.  If a response is received from the final company, it will certainly be added to the post.  I hope to provide readers with complete representation of these innovative materials.  Each company uses spectrums of either UV light and/or visible blue light to cure their products.
  
   My general tips are posted, followed by the responses to the questionnaire.  Contact information for the companies is also provided.  Many thanks to the kind and enthusiastic people who contributed to this post. 
   Blog Note** I’ve had a couple requests to add other potentially valuable information to this post.  However, that information starts to extend beyond this post’s intended format of briefly providing resin characteristics and user-tips for each LCR product.  However, if there is additional product information available, I will add a ‘Blog Note**' to indicate it & can email this information upon request.  In addition, there is a comment section available for all at the end of the post.  The post’s contributors are certainly welcome to provide more information as long as it remains positive and informational about their product or LCR’s in general.   

Twitch’s Tips
* Companies will reformulate their products to improve them.  So, if a review from 2008 reported a particular company’s resin cracked easily, this may no longer be the case!  Research products on-line, but note how recently the information was posted.
 
* The companies are reformulating products, adding product lines, and -likely- still learning about the characteristics of their own products.  Be aware that their websites may not be completely up-to-date with all of these new details.  If in doubt, contact the company with questions.

* Each company website varies greatly in the amount of advice it posts for the use of its product line.  One company goes into great detail about product use, yet another company offers trace information but informed me that they are preparing a FAQ section for their website.  If you can’t find the information you need on one website, visit another!  All of these products share some of the same characteristics, so another website may provide hints about how to use your product.  And, consider contacting the companies to ask them for more information to support your use of their products.

* If your product doesn’t appear to be curing well or quickly enough, don’t automatically blame it on the product.  Are your light batteries strong?  Are you using the right light?  Are you applying too thick of a single layer of resin on the fly?  Many more factors can affect the quality of the cure.

* I can’t say this will always work, but when the resin head of a fly became ‘dull’, I added another thin layer of resin to the fly and it became clear again. 

* Light-cured resins come in thick and thin viscosities.  A ‘low viscosity’ product is thinner.  You can also change the viscosity by warming or cooling the resin in a water bath to make it temporarily thinner or thicker. 

* Using the thick or thin viscosity product does not, technically, affect how well it bonds to other material.  However, the thick viscosity product (which becomes even thicker in cooler temperatures) may not flow around the fibers on your fly as readily.  It may not sink into crevices behind eyes as easily.  Warming this product or using the thin viscosity version on the first application will help the product ‘hug’ the individual fibers and sink into the crevices of the fly material much better, creating a better bond when the product is cured.

* Use a bodkin in the uncured, resin-filled gaps behind stick-on eyes.  This will help eliminate air pockets and allow more product to contact fly material – improving bonding success.

* Each product-maker uses different container designs to hold their resins.  Would you prefer to use a syringe, a squeeze bottle, or a bottle that contains a brush?  Which best suits your tying needs?  There are pros/cons to all.  Contact product-makers if you have questions.

* The tackiness felt on the surface of the cured resin is actually a superficial layer that includes uncured resin.  A reaction called ‘oxygen inhibition’ is going on.  This is normal!  It won’t affect your fishing but it can be annoying in the fly box.  You may wipe off this layer with alcohol (see questionnaire responses for other comments).  For a non-fishing article about light-cured products with similar characteristics, click on this link:  http://www.henkelna.com/us/content_data/113819_lcproc.pdf

* When using alcohol to wipe off the oxygen inhibiting (tacky) layer, wipe it toward the hook eye, not on the other fly materials.

* I have set my flies in the sun after being cured with my UV lamp & the tackiness doesn’t go away but it does lessen. (however, most fly tiers have alcohol readily available ;)

* According to what I’ve read on the questionnaire responses and elsewhere, sometimes synthetic fly fishing materials can react with top coats like Sally Hansen, or with light-cured products.  I am uncertain if the only result of these reactions would be a color-change.  Top coats like Sally Hansen can occasionally react with light-cured products.  The result is a color-change, but the fly remains fishable.  Click on website links for more information about this and about their own top coat products.

* The areas where your light does not penetrate are the areas that will not be cured.  If it is taking longer to cure the product, first try changing your batteries!  Keep your batteries fresh!

* If a light requires something other than AA or AAA batteries, it might be expensive to purchase batteries locally for the light.  On-line purchases for these batteries can be much less expensive, but buyer be aware:  Read product reviews first about package expiration dates and if other customers are happy with their batteries’ operation.
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UV CLEAR FLY FINISH ~ by Loon Outdoors (Ashland, OR)
*Cured by UV light*
Brett Zundel, Director of Sales 
Email response:  Jan. 2013
208-362-4437

1)  Is it correct to call your light-cured resin an adhesive?
There's nothing wrong with calling our UV Clear Fly Finish (UVCFF) "Adhesives", but it could be misleading.  Like all light-cured resins, UVCFF will only cure where it is exposed to light.  Therefore, if one is trying to bond two materials together, then at least one of them needs to be permeable to light, or there needs to be enough space between the two materials for light to pass.

2)  How long have you been producing a light-cured resin aimed at the fly tying/fishing market?
 10 years.

3)  Is there a shelf-life for your light-cured resin?                                    
If so, what are the signs that one’s product is reaching the end of its shelf-life?
 Shelf-life is a difficult issue because not all "shelves" are created equal.  While temperature, frequency of use, humidity and other factors can potentially affect the life and performance of a product, we've yet to discover the age at which UVCFF goes bad.  We have bottles over ten years old that still perform perfectly.  This means that you're far more likely to lose or spill the bottle than you are to see it go bad.

4)  If not used for a couple months, should it be stored in any special way?
No.  Storing in any reasonable conditions should keep the product effective.

5)  If your company produces more than one viscosity of resin, can you briefly summarize each viscosity’s best general uses?
Thick:  This is the go-to for building up heads, bodies, wing-cases, etc.  It can be used just about anywhere.
Thin:  This is for the tyer who wants a slower buildup, or more subtle applications.  Think small heads or bodies.

6)  Is there an optimum temperature within which the resin works?
Temperature affects the performance of the UVCFF by altering the viscosity.  Warming a bottle before use will decrease viscosity, and cooling it will increase viscosity.  Regardless of how the gel is behaving in terms of viscosity, temperature shouldn't affect the gel’s performance/ability to cure.  In fact, there are times when this is a major selling point of the UVCFF:  it will cure at temperatures too low for epoxy or other traditional head cements.

7)  Will the resin work appropriately if it freezes or gets too warm (such as spending a couple hours in a car in winter or summer) and is then allowed to return to room temperature?
It should.  Again, extreme conditions are difficult to predict.

8)  If the cured resin on a fly discolors or becomes cloudy prior to fishing the fly, has something wrong occurred?  Can the resin be made clear again?
Regarding the discoloration:  Maybe, but probably not.  There are many variables which affect the performance of UVCFF that tyers might not consider.  For example, applying UVCFF on top of a traditional cement or adhesive that hasn't fully cured can potentially discolor the UVCFF or prevent it from fully curing; certain materials are also prone to prompting a cloudiness when a UV-resin is applied on top of them...etc.
Regarding making it clear again:  No, sorry.

9)  It has been reported that using rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer (alcohol base) will eliminate the tackiness on cured resin but the resin will become cloudy.  Is this true?
 The reason for this tackiness is that ANY UV-cured resin won't fully cure when it is exposed to the ambient air.  This means you will get a full cure from the base through the last "layer" that isn't exposed to oxygen.  Applying alcohol/head cement on top of the set UVCFF will eliminate tackiness but won't have any effect (positive or negative) on clarity.  It's like a superficial treatment of a wound; all you're doing is cleaning the top layer.  In our experience, the application of alcohol or head cement has no detrimental effect on the cure strength or clarity.  Furthermore, flies that are left tacky don't seem to produce any differently than those that have been swabbed.  Therefore, it is personal preference as to whether to take the time to complete the extra step.

10) It’s been claimed that using Sally Hansen as a clear coat will also eliminate the tackiness and leave the fly looking clear.  Is this true?
Yes.  We prefer Loon's Hard Head Clear, because it is odorless, non-toxic, and provides excellent results.

11) If either rubbing alcohol or Sally Hansen is used over cured resin, could more resin then be added to the fly or would problems with the bond occur between resin layers?
The key here is allowing whatever you’ve applied to fully dry, set or cure.  Then it should work fine.  The best practice would be to apply the second coat of UVFCC directly on top of the first.  The tackiness of the base coat makes it an ideal bonding partner for the second.
 
12) Will the clear look of the lamp-cured resin change if I leave the tackiness on the fly for a few days prior to doing something about it?
 No.

13) Will taking a fly with cured, but tacky, resin on it in the sunny outdoors eliminate the tackiness?  Does it matter if the fly is taken outside in cold weather to finish the curing process?
The sun is the ultimate UV light (obviously) and will strengthen the UVCFF.  It won't, by itself, get rid of the tackiness.  The tackiness does, however, go away with time.

14) What happens if the resin isn’t cured deeply enough or uniformly around the fly?
Just like an epoxy or traditional cement, UV-resins need to be fully cured to be fully effective.  Depending on just how "under-cured" they are, a fly could be just fine, or fall apart.

15) If it looks like the resin did not retain its bond on certain parts of the head of a large fly with stick-on eyes, what could be the problem?
 It is possible that that part of the head was not exposed to light long enough (or at all).  It's also possible that the material, for some reason, rejected the bond of the UVCFF.

16) Can the resin get too thick (it’s thicker at lower temperatures) such that it won’t make an appropriate bond with the base material, even when cured correctly?
 No.

17) Can the resin be thinned with denatured alcohol or anything else?
 No.  Your best bet is to mix UVCFF Thick and UVCFF Thin until the desired consistency is reached.

18) Will the resin bond more or less effectively with different materials that could be found on a fly?
 Yes.  It is a good idea to experiment prior to tying.

19) If one uses other products that have to dry or cure (for ex:  water, markers, super glue or head cement) on parts of the fly, can your light-cured resin be applied effectively over these products?
The key here is allowing whatever you've applied to fully dry, set or cure.  Then it should work fine.
 
20) Should one avoid working under any specific indoor lighting conditions with your light-cured resin?
 Any lights that emit any strength of UV rays can cause the UVCFF to partially or fully cure.  While windows typically block enough UV light to prevent them from being a big issue, limiting exposure of UVCFF to windows is recommended.

21) Should one do anything to protect the eyes or hands when curing with your light?  Are there any precautions needed around kids or pets, other than not to stare into the light?
Avoid looking directly at the light, or shining it in one’s eyes.  You're running less of a risk by using UVCFF than you are by using toxic cements or epoxies.

Blog Note**  I felt a need to clarify these questions & Brett (& other respondents) was kind enough to elaborate:  While UVCFF is non-toxic, it should be kept out of the reach of kids and pets.  Honestly, if my dog ate it I wouldn't worry too much since I believe he'd be just fine.  As far as looking at the fly while it is being cured, I don't have firm evidence to offer either way.  Personally, when I am curing a small area (like a wing-casing on a nymph) I have no problem in looking at the fly.  If I am doing a larger area and there seems to be a lot of reflection off of adjacent materials, I will turn away.  This is a little bit of a "belt and suspenders approach", but to be 100% safe you could wear glasses while curing.  My hunch is that our light isn't strong enough to be harmful on the eyes if the light is viewed indirectly.

22) Would you like to add anything else?
As you mentioned, there is a little bit of a learning curve with using these products.  Here are a few recommendations:
* Using a rotary vise can make a huge difference in uniformity.
* Continue to spin the fly while exposing it to the light.
* Multiple thin layers will yield better results than one thick layer.
* Try using different methods of application, including the built-in applicator brush, the included applicator needles, a bodkin, a nail, etc.
* Rather than adding a drop of UVCFF Thin to the head of a fly once it is complete, add a trace amount to the thread just prior to whip finishing.  This provides an extremely thin coat, but when cured will lock everything into place instantly

Brett added, “… please include the service@loonoutdoors.com email address in your posting and invite these kinds of questions to be sent.  We have a few tyers on staff that have used this stuff more than anyone and can answer just about any question someone might have.  We'd be happy to help someone get through the learning curve of these products.”
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TUFFLEYE ~ by Wet A Hook Technologies (San Antonio, TX) 
*Cured by either visible blue light or UV light*
Dr. Ned Lunt, inventor of Tuffleye
Telephone interview:  Jan. 2013.  
Dr. Lunt and Charlie Granstaff are owners of Wet A Hook Technologies. 
www.wetahook.net    (visit FAQ’s & “Tuffleye” Tutorials tabs for more product tips)
1-210-663-7932

1)  Is it correct to call your light-cured resin an adhesive?
No.  It is an acrylic, not an adhesive.  That is the difference between almost all light-cured resins and epoxy.  Epoxy is an adhesive.  The only way Tuffleye adheres is by using ‘undercuts’.  To get it to stay on a fiber it has to go past the diameter of that fiber.  There are some adhesives that are light-curable but a 1 oz bottle can cost ~$100.

2)  How long have you been producing a light-cured resin aimed at the fly tying/fishing market?
We started in 2003 and began selling it in 2005.  To be honest, I’ve been using this myself for about 30 years.

3)  Is there a shelf-life for your light-cured resin?
Yes, about 2 years & that is extended if it is kept where it is dry & cool (room temperature or less).  The first batch, formulated in 2003, still functions.
If so, what are the signs that one’s product is reaching the end of its shelf-life?
It takes longer to set.  The catalyst is really where the shorter part of the shelf-life is.  When it starts to go bad, it doesn’t react and start the reaction as quickly.  Instead of curing in 5-10 seconds it may take 40 seconds. It could feel ‘doughy’; if one uses a fingernail and scrapes it, it comes off like cheese.
Blog Tip** Remember, there are other more likely reasons why the product may not be curing fully or quickly!

4)  If not used for a couple months, should it be stored in any special way?
In a cool, dry place, out of the light.  However I can set light-proof syringes of Tuffleye on my desk under fluorescent light in the lab for 4-6 months & they’re still fine.  I can safely say one can more than double the shelf life if put in the refrigerator when not using it.  Just let it warm up before you use it unless you need more viscosity.  It’ll flow a lot better at room temperature. 
5)  If your company produces more than one viscosity of resin, can you briefly summarize each viscosity’s best general uses? 
‘Flex’ & then the ‘Core’ are the two biggest sellers.  Flex is used most frequently and gives a more life-like, elastic consistency. An example of its use would be for the body of a ‘Surf Candy’.  A lot of the fishermen will say that a fish has a longer hold-time because the Flex is not hard and gives a little bit.  I don’t know that anybody has been able to prove that.  
‘Core’ is often used when bonding materials to the hook.  Salmon eggs, ant bodies, helping to create shrimp eyes, and creating spoon flies (where a more flexible product doesn’t allow this fly to wobble back & forth as it was meant) are examples of its use.
‘Finish’ is more flowable.  Common uses are that it can be used like head cement or to give a little finish over a body.
* Dr. Lunt also reported that the environment within which one ties flies may also help to determine which product is used.  “You just have to get it in your hands and look at the consistency; see how it flows for you.  See how warm your tying bench is, how cool it is in your basement… it all falls into place. Figure out which works best in which place.”

6)  Is there an optimum temperature within which the resin works?
Yes, we do all of our testing at 72*F.  This is considered ‘room temperature’.  A 5-10* change in temperature will change the viscosity enough that you can feel it.

7)  Will the resin work appropriately if it freezes or gets too warm (such as spending a couple hours in a car in winter or summer) and is then allowed to return to room temperature?
The product will work appropriately if it has been maintained below 140*F.  As long as it doesn’t freeze down to -20 to -40*F it won’t bother it too much.  I’ve taken it down to 0*F & it’s been fine.  You have to thaw it out all the way through to use it.  The catalysts stay toward the outside & if you don’t let it all thaw out, it won’t be a uniform mixture or consistency.  Thaw it thoroughly & slowly.
  
8)  If the cured resin on a fly discolors or becomes cloudy prior to fishing the fly, has something wrong occurred?  Can the resin be made clear again?   
When you finish curing it, if it is the consistency you are used to seeing then it is not going to change.  All of the bonding sites are taken on the catalysts and no further changes should occur.  The product is inert.   If it does discolor, something may be wrong with the product’s chemistry.  However, the product would typically not harden, alerting one to a problem.  If the product just wasn’t fully cured, adding light or setting it in the sun may clear it -if it has not air-dried too long.  Use alcohol to cease the activity of the superficial (tacky) layer of the resin.  This will most likely keep the product from reacting with anything else in the environment; making the product stable (inert) and less likely to change its appearance.     

9)  It has been reported that using rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer (alcohol base) will eliminate the tackiness on cured resin but the resin will become cloudy.  Is this true? 
The tackiness, also described as ‘oily’, or known as the ‘bonding layer’, will be eliminated.  Some people also use ‘Goo Gone’.  It shouldn’t become cloudy.  However, it can develop a frosted surface when a thicker bonding layer is formed after a thick layer of product is applied & not cured as well or as quickly as needed.  If the product was cured properly below the bonding layer, it should have a clear appearance when the bonding layer is removed.  This can be done by rubbing it off, using Tuffleye’s ‘Top Coat’, or using a clear coat nail polish that doesn’t react with the light-cured resin (see question #10 below).
Blog Tip **  In this case, a difference between a cloudy appearance and a frosted appearance on a fly is that the frosted appearance will look clear under water. 
  
10) It has been claimed that using Sally Hansen as a clear coat will also eliminate the tackiness and leave the fly looking clear.  Is this true? 
Maybe.  It’s recommended that alcohol be used to stabilize the bonding layer & lessen the chance of it interacting with other products.  With previous formulations of Tuffleye, products like Sally Hansen would interact with the light-cured product, discoloring it.  This is less likely to happen now, but Tuffleye’s ‘Top Coat’ is recommended to ensure a clear finish.  If discoloration occurs, I’d question if they got all the bonding layer off and if there are any synthetic fibers present that would react to the Sally Hansen.  It’s not just our material, some flies turn yellow with just Sally Hansen’s and the use of synthetic fibers. 

11) If either rubbing alcohol or Sally Hansen is used over cured resin, could more resin then be added to the fly or would problems with the bond occur between resin layers?
Yes, you can do this, but it won’t bond as well.  It is like placing Scotch Tape on the back of Scotch Tape instead of Scotch Tape on paper.

12) Will the clear look of the light-cured resin change if I leave the tackiness on the fly for a few days prior to doing something about it?
This bonding layer will start to dry.  It will never be as clear or as hard.  The surface won’t be as indestructible. Clean it off with alcohol.  There are even materials labeled ‘tack-free’ but I’d still put alcohol on it.  This is just the nature of light-cured materials.

13) Will taking a fly with cured, but tacky, resin on it in the sunny outdoors eliminate the tackiness?  Does it matter if the fly is taken outside in cold weather to finish the curing process?
It has already been exposed to light.  More light won’t take care of it very much.  It’ll dry pretty well. You’re going to end up with 90% of what you want, not 100% of what you want.  You won’t want to throw it in a shadow box but you can throw it in the river. 
Our catalyst is set to activate by the visible blue light spectrum (All of the new materials we have now have a catalyst that sets to an extremely broad spectrum, so even UV light will set our materials.).  Use of the correct spectrum of light will best cure the product.  Temperature does not directly cure the product but can decrease (cold temperature) or increase the set time.  The main factor is the spectrum. 

14) What happens if the resin isn’t cured deeply enough or uniformly around the fly?
It’s like comparing cement allowed to set for 4 hours and cement that has set for 4 days.  If it isn’t cured long enough it can break apart.  Due to the chemistry of the product, it sets from the inside out.  Typically, if it is set on the outside it is set on the inside (as long as the light has reached the inner depths). I’ve never seen it set on the outside and been doughy on the inside.

15) If it looks like the resin did not retain its bond on certain parts of the head of a large fly with stick-on eyes, what could be the problem?
If we put eyes on, we’ll cure it first.  That’s where the bonding layer is your friend.  You can stick the eye on and it stays where it is.  You use the Tuffleye ‘Finish’, which is a low viscosity, & drape a blanket of it over the eye & it’s inlaid in and then it never comes off.

16) Can the resin get too thick (it’s thicker at lower temperatures) such that it won’t make an appropriate bond with the base material, even when cured correctly?
The viscosity doesn’t make any difference as far as the bonding. 

17) Can the resin be thinned with denatured alcohol or anything else?
Alcohol is a real poor solvent as far as thinning goes.  You can but you’re really going to destroy the strength of the material.  The 3 types of Tuffleye products can be mixed to change viscosity or flexibility, or a product may be cooled or warmed by placing the syringe in a bath of cold/warm water to temporarily change its viscosity.

18) Will the resin bond more or less effectively with different materials that could be found on a fly?
Again, this comes back to how many undercuts or fibers a material has.  The more undercuts, the more fibrous, or the roughest materials are the things it will adhere to the best.

19) If one uses other products that have to dry or cure (for ex:  water, markers, super glue or head cement) on parts of the fly, can your light-cured resin be applied effectively over these products?
Very well.  In fact a lot of people don’t buy stick-on eyes anymore, they just use markers.  The light-cured resin will bond better if the other products are dry.  However, while Super Glue is a water-soluble product (unlike Tuffleye), it also becomes ‘inert’ with a slightly tacky layer, allowing it to bond well with Tuffleye.  I’m not sure if head cement acts in a similar manner since there are so many different formulations for it. My best suggestion is to try the brand you like best with Tuffleye.

20) Should one avoid working under any specific indoor lighting conditions with your light-cured resin?
Some halogen lights have a broad spectrum and can slowly, moderately cure the product.  A projector lamp will cure this material.

21) Should one do anything to protect the eyes or hands when curing with your light?  Are there any precautions needed around kids or pets, other than not to stare into the light?
 Our product’s chemistry is biologically compatible to the body.  In over 40 years there has not been shown any risk of cancers or genetic modifications to the body with the blue light or materials used in Tuffleye.  I’m in the health care profession and that’s why I’ve stayed with this product.  You won’t hurt your eyes if you don’t stare at the light for extended amounts of time.  The shield around our light is there to protect your eyes from becoming temporarily ‘night blinded’ from its brightness.  Most tiers simply place the light in the correct position and look away.  All lights used at this close proximity will reflect back into the eyes somewhat.  Any light, used for an extended amount of time, can damage your eyes if not protected, some faster than others.  Visible Blue light will not harm skin like UV light can.....

22)  Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We’ve been really happy with the material.  We are the originators of light-cured products for use in fly tying and we have stayed with the biologically and ecologically safer material and curing system.  If we hadn’t, Bob Popovic would not have continued to endorse Tuffleye.  “Popovic is the fishermen’s advocate.  He has been brutal to us sometimes to get the material where he thinks it’s best for the fishermen.”  

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BUG-BOND ~ by Edwards Bonding Solutions Ltd (United Kingdom)
*Cured by UV light*

David Edwards, developer of Bug-Bond
Email response:  Jan. 2013 
www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com  (Visit BUG-BOND & Information tabs for product tips)
(email contact is via the website)
 
1)  Is it correct to call your light-cured resin an adhesive?
 People tend to think of an adhesive as something that will stick two objects together and that it is usually sticky so the two parts adhere and don’t come apart… The “drying” of the adhesive may be part of that process whether it is solvents evaporating or drawing moisture from the atmosphere to cure the adhesive.
BUG-BOND is what I would term a bonding agent and a coating… it is a single part resin that contains photo-initiators that act as the hardener when it is exposed to a particular frequency of light.  As part of the process heat is generated & that aids the curing process.

2)  How long have you been producing a light-cured resin aimed at the fly tying/fishing market?
BUG-BOND was launched in November 2009 after almost a whole year of testing.  It was, we believe, the first to be marketed as a Tack-Free resin for fly-tying, as it doesn’t require coating with varnish or a proprietary brand of nail lacquer.

3)  Is there a shelf-life for your light-cured resin?
If so, what are the signs that one’s product is reaching the end of its shelf-life?
Like most adhesives, bonds and coatings, the shelf life is determined by correct storage.  It is recommended that BUG-BOND is stored in a dark cool area… 5°C (41*F) is a good storage temperature for the material.  Curing it from cold takes a little longer but the results are good.  A worst case scenario of BUG-BOND being stored somewhere hot is that shelf life may possibly be reduced.  However, from our experience an open bottle of BUG-BOND left at a temperature of 20°C (68*F) has little effect on the product.  It is 100% solids and doesn’t contain solvents.  Our original pre-production mix is still being cured and cured correctly.

 4)  If not used for a couple months, should it be stored in any special way?
See answer 3 above.

5)  If your company produces more than one viscosity of resin, can you briefly summarize each viscosity’s best general uses?
BUG-BOND has been released in two viscosities of Tack-Free UV cured acrylic to the retail market:  Original-Clear and Original-Lite.
Although all of our products were available from day one, Original-Clear was the first product launched and is the thicker of the two viscosities.  A first-time user of light-cured acrylics would be recommended to use this product first.  Original-Clear covers it all from trout flies to large saltwater flies and is the mainstay of the general fly tyer… heads to full saltwater bodies.  Original-Lite entered the market a few months after its thicker sibling & has almost a “water-like” consistency.  It is very fluid.  If you are used to working with very “thin” materials, this is an exceptional resin.  This is the go-to resin for small flies or for small amounts where a tyer requires little build-up.  Predominantly used for very fine coatings on tinsel and quill bodies, it’s very fluid nature will ensure that air pockets do not exist between, say, the wraps on quill bodies.  Original-Lite can also be used for stiffening individual fibres or full hackles.
But the beauty of BUG-BOND is that each product works well in complete harmony with the other, and they can be mixed if desired.  On a nymph quill body, for example, a very fine coating of Original-Lite can be placed on the body, then cured and given a coat of Original-Clear for a great finish.  Or in a bucktail deceiver, fix the thread wraps with Original-Lite, continue tying and then finally finish the head with Original-Clear.
It is worth noting that both materials cure with a flex that allows them to be used not only in fly tying but also to attach rod rings/guides to rod blanks without thread, to make loop connections on fly lines, and to repair some breathable materials.  All of these secondary uses have been well documented. Both of our viscosities are resistant to cracking and shattering.

6)  Is there an optimum temperature within which the resin works?
BUG-BOND is very temperature tolerant.  Users are based all around the globe and there have been no apparent adverse effects.  However, here is a word of caution:  in temperatures above 25°C (77*F) the lifespan of the product may be reduced.

7)  Will the resin work appropriately if it freezes or gets too warm (such as spending a couple hours in a car in winter or summer) and is then allowed to return to room temperature?
We do not recommend exposing BUG-BOND to extremes of temperature and the product should be insulated from climatic extremes.  However, BUG-BOND’s tolerances are excellent (see answer 6)

8)  If the cured resin on a fly discolors or becomes cloudy prior to fishing the fly, has something wrong occurred?  Can the resin be made clear again?
BUG-BOND should never become cloudy.  When cured correctly it cures with a clear finish.  If it isn’t cured fully it is possible that the surface could become dull.  However, a further thin coating should restore its lustre.
9)  It’s been reported that using rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer (alcohol base) will eliminate the tackiness on cured resin but the resin will become cloudy.  Is this true? 
BUG-BOND provides the market with a Tack-Free product and we have never had the need to use rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer on the product.

10) It’s been claimed that using Sally Hansen as a clear coat will also eliminate the tackiness and leave the fly looking clear.  Is this true?
BUG-BOND provides the market with a Tack-Free product and we have never had the need to use any varnish on the product.  However, if the tyer wishes to coat the fly with a proprietary brand of varnish they may do so, although it is classed as unnecessary.

11) If either rubbing alcohol or Sally Hansen is used over cured resin, could more resin then be added to the fly or would problems with the bond occur between resin layers?
Since BUG-BOND was designed as a Tack-Free solution, it was never designed with rubbing alcohol or nail lacquer in mind.  However, we would comment that if rubbing alcohol is used and the surface is clean and dry, there should be no reason why the fly could not be coated with BUG-BOND.  On the subject of coating with nail lacquer, although a bond may take place it must be remembered that there is a foreign body between the layers which may give rise to delamination.  This is unlikely but possible.

12) Will the clear look of the lamp-cured resin change if I leave the tackiness on the fly for a few days prior to doing something about it?
BUG-BOND has been produced as a Tack-Free product. If however, the batteries in the torch/curing lamp reach the end of their useful life and the fly was partially cured, then the fly could be left in the vice until new batteries were obtained... As an alternative the fly could be placed in a sunny position to allow it to cure fully.  Spare batteries should negate the need to leave the fly partially cured.

13) Will taking a fly with cured, but tacky, resin on it in the sunny outdoors eliminate the tackiness?  Does it matter if the fly is taken outside in cold weather to finish the curing process?
A partially cured fly could be taken into the sun to allow curing to be completed if desired.  Here in the UK we have little experience of high UV days in winter.  Again, spare batteries should negate the need.

Blog Note** I’ve read other terms, aside from ‘tacky’ (such as ‘greasy’), that people use to describe the residue felt on the superficial layer of cured resin.  To clarify, I emailed David and asked if any residue is felt on their product. David kindly provided an answer:  “BUG-BOND cures with a tack-free surface and if cured correctly does not have any residue that needs to be cleaned off…  A tip that I give folk is that immediately post cure wait a few seconds before handling the fly.  The product still cures after the light goes off and it is in a "cooling" down phase; we are talking seconds here… the light activates the initiators & it sets up a reaction that also causes a heat reaction (on a macro scale) that also aids curing.  Therefore, immediately post cure the LCR may not be hardened fully and be easier to mark.  I have flies that have done the tours of the shows that folk have handled and they are almost as good as the day they came out of the vise.”

14) What happens if the resin isn’t cured deeply enough or uniformly around the fly?
If BUG-BOND is not cured properly it will have a slightly oily feel to the surface and may not adhere to the materials fully. A complete cure should always be the aim, and using an appropriate light source should do that.

15) If it looks like the resin did not retain its bond on certain parts of the head of a large fly with stick-on eyes, what could be the problem?
It is highly likely that insufficient product was used and/or it wasn’t cured fully.
16) Can the resin get too thick (it’s thicker at lower temperatures) such that it won’t make an appropriate bond with the base material, even when cured correctly?
No, that is not the experience of a particular customer who makes museum pieces.  For his larger-than-life insects, he will substantially reduce the temperature of the material to make it more viscous and then he will cure it.  He has commented that they have used a 20ml bottle per insect eye in this manner without issue.  The curing takes a little longer.

17) Can the resin be thinned with denatured alcohol or anything else?
BUG-BOND is offered on a retail basis in two viscosities on the basis that they are complimentary & do not require thinning.  You can, however, mix the two consistencies.

18) Will the resin bond more or less effectively with different materials that could be found on a fly?
BUG-BOND will perform the majority of the fly-tyer’s needs. Fly-tyers are an ingenious bunch of people and the list of materials a fly tyer could use is more extensive than provided in most fly tying catalogues.  There are obviously some materials that the resin may work with better than others.

19) If one uses other products that have to dry or cure (for ex:  water, markers, super glue or head cement) on parts of the fly, can your light-cured resin be applied effectively over these products?
As long as the surface is dry and clean, BUG-BOND may be applied to it.  We would advise that certain types of marker pen need to dry fully before coating with BUG-BOND.

20) Should one avoid working under any specific indoor lighting conditions with your light-cured resin?
Strong UV light should be avoided.  Working next to a large sunny window could cause issues with the material curing sooner than expected or required.  Some daylight balanced LED spotlights can commence a curing process.

21) Should one do anything to protect the eyes or hands when curing with your light?  Are there any precautions needed around kids or pets, other than not to stare into the light?
Common sense is appropriate… The UV lights supplied by Veniard are low powered units and the levels of UV are small and exposure is for relatively short periods of time.  Our instructions and website state that UV-protected glasses are readily available at low cost from hardware stores should they be required.  Most safety glasses with yellow lenses and even clear ones usually indicate 100% UV protection; these are the ones for which you should look.  There is no need to look directly at the fly whilst curing, and with some highly-reflective surfaces you may wish to avoid it.
As for handling the material for any adhesive, bonding or coating:  good food and toilet hygiene should be observed at all times.  Wash hands with soap and warm water.  BUG-BOND is not a toy and you should keep both the resin and the UV torch out of the reach of children and pets.

22)  Is there anything else you’d like to add?
* If a complete cure isn’t being achieved then the first port of call are the batteries in the lamp; 99 times out of 100 this is the answer.  High quality alkaline batteries are recommended as a minimum.  Some lights will use power quicker than others.
* Rechargeable NiMh batteries will ensure that you have continuous curing at your fingertips.  A word to the wise… rechargeable batteries do age and become less effective… do fully discharge before placing in the charger and don’t let them sit there and cook once charging has completed.
* Look for lamps that are powered by AA or AAA batteries as these are readily available and ensure that you can power your lamp anywhere in the world.
* The curing process is as important as the resin itself.  There is a bit of a learning curve when you first use an LCR, but once you have overcome this, the benefits gained by the LCR’s convenience and lack of waste is something else.
* A vise that allows the hook to be rotated 360° around the axis of the shank will be of great benefit to the tyer.  BUG-BOND is self-leveling and some very smooth surfaces can be achieved by slowly rotating the vise.
* Time… First time users… you have plenty of time on your hands.  The cure doesn’t occur until you turn on the UV light… Take your time, there is no need to rush.
* Whichever system you use, you have entered into one of the most innovative eras of fly-tying.  By way of example Pete Gray, who has used all the systems and ties with BUG-BOND, coined the phrase “Phly Welding”… Phly welding doesn’t use thread and Pete welds up some amazing patterns without thread… see it to believe it!
* Look at our website www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com for additional information and look at the team of fly tyers we have; they are some of the best.  You can contact David Edwards, the owner and designer of the BUG-BOND process, through the website and you’ll get a quick response, usually the same day.
* www.deesox.blogspot.com is the online fly fishing & fly tying journal of David Edwards and the official blog home of BUG-BOND
* The BUG-BOND brand is owned by Edwards Bonding Solutions Ltd in the UK and now has one of the largest distribution networks with WAPSI Fly distributing in North America and Veniard Ltd distributing to the Rest of the World.

Blog Note**  Additional information is available about Bug-Bond's product containers, their accessories and why this container system was chosen.  Information about the development of their UV lights is also available.  Use the comment section or email 'Twitch' to request information.
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Clear Cure Goo ~ (Southlake, TX)
*Cured by UV Light*
Brian Carson, owner
www.clearcuregoo.com   (see Products tab for product tips)

No questionnaire currently available for this product.  Please visit the CCG website links above (or see answered questions above from other product manufacturers) to learn more about the use and properties of this and other LCR products.




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