Epoxy and chemical sensitivities

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dafox

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Looking for an epoxy to use for a rehandle project, wanting to rehandle a Ryusen Blazen. I'm hoping to find a brand that I wont react to. Any idea what brands some of the production knife makers use, I'm fine with some of them. I'm thinking about testing some different brands hoping to find one that I'm ok with. What brand/type do you use?
 

MarcelNL

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what reaction are you referring to? skin? Lungs? If you know what compound you are allergic to you may find one that is not triggering you but prevention by using gloves and great ventilation/a filter mask is better as these things creep up on you.
 

dafox

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Burning eyes and sinuses, facial/sinus pain, headache, plugged ears and tinnitus. I have this reaction to multiple things including many plastics, glues, and wood finishes, even kurouchi finish.
 

Bensbites

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how do you respond to CA glue? It’s quick setting, but very different chemistry than epoxies. What about construction adhesive like JB weld or liquid nails?

I know the general chemistry behind epoxies, but not the specific ingredients. I could be way off base here, but I wonder if there is a category 5 min, 15 min or 45 min set times that do or don’t effect you.
 

McMan

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Looking for an epoxy to use for a rehandle project, wanting to rehandle a Ryusen Blazen. I'm hoping to find a brand that I wont react to. Any idea what brands some of the production knife makers use, I'm fine with some of them. I'm thinking about testing some different brands hoping to find one that I'm ok with. What brand/type do you use?
West System Epoxy. Good stuff. Used in boat building.

Two suggestions...
--look into dental adhesives? (Would be pricey as hell but also more bio safe?) CA glue is also bio safe, used as stitches.
--look into historical cutlery glues. Some good old knives are still soldiering on after a century, so whatever they used back then seems to have a good track record and is likely some derivative of hide glue. (One example was a mix of hyde glue, pine tar, wood dust, and a few other things, but this was used more for rat-tail tangs not slab handles.)
 
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Delat

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If you want to go with a natural solution, check out hide glue as @McMan mentioned above.

Pros - it’s a naturally-derived product so might be less triggering for allergies. It’s reversible with heat and water, and you can also reactivate it with the same (e.g. you don’t need to chip it off, toss, and apply more).

Cons - it’s not nearly as tough as epoxy, it’s water-soluble so you’d have to take care washing the handle, and I believe it needs to be warmed to apply and might have a small working/open time. It’s also not ideal on metal but I believe it works.

Purist woodworkers tend to use hide glue on high-value pieces where they want repairability and the option for non-destructive disassembly.
 

dafox

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West System Epoxy. Good stuff. Used in boat building.

Two suggestions...
--look into dental adhesives? (Would be pricey as hell but also more bio safe?) CA glue is also bio safe, used as stitches.
--look into historical cutlery glues. Some good old knives are still soldiering on after a century, so whatever they used back then seems to have a good track record and is likely some derivative of hide glue. (One example was a mix of hyde glue, pine tar, wood dust, and a few other things, but this was used more for rat-tail tangs not slab handles.)
Great ideas, thanks!
 

dafox

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Also looking for brands of epoxy to test, what do most makers use?
 

dafox

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how do you respond to CA glue? It’s quick setting, but very different chemistry than epoxies. What about construction adhesive like JB weld or liquid nails?

I know the general chemistry behind epoxies, but not the specific ingredients. I could be way off base here, but I wonder if there is a category 5 min, 15 min or 45 min set times that do or don’t effect you.
Thanks, good suggestions.
Dont know for sure about ca glues.
 

MarcelNL

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isn't the dentist stuff requiring ultraviolet to cure the what I know as acrylic glue? A while ago I repaired a chip in a granite counter top with it and found that the UV does not penetrate that deep making you work in tiny layers. (works like a charm though)
 

big_adventure

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Thanks, good suggestions.
Dont know for sure about ca glues.
It should be easy enough to test for sensitivity to CA glue - anything marketed as Super Glue, Krazy Glue, nail glue, etc. are all CA (CA stands for cyanocrylate). I've personally used CA glue to close DEEP cuts twice when I couldn't take the time for medical attention. The issue with CA glue is that it's lousy at filling gaps - epoxy excels at this, as it doesn't need air to harden, it just needs the two components to be mixed.
 

big_adventure

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isn't the dentist stuff requiring ultraviolet to cure the what I know as acrylic glue? A while ago I repaired a chip in a granite counter top with it and found that the UV does not penetrate that deep making you work in tiny layers. (works like a charm though)
Yup, same kind of stuff. You might be able to build a handle with it, but I can't see how you could install a handle with it.
 

VICTOR J CREAZZI

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I think that all uncured epoxy is an irritant or worse to everyone and that sensitivity to it gets worse with exposure. I think of it as something to be very careful with uncured and somewhat inert once cured.

So I'm assuming that dafox is concerned about epoxies that are cured.
 

Luftmensch

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@dafox, tell us more about the rehandle.

You have substantially more options for a Wa-rehandle (including hot glue or natural binders like wax). If you are going western (I assume?), it also depends how you are pinning it. Some good corby or loveless bolts can support a lot of the load placed on the scales. That might open up other options for alternative glues (if you are willing to trade off some durability)?
 

dafox

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I think that all uncured epoxy is an irritant or worse to everyone and that sensitivity to it gets worse with exposure. I think of it as something to be very careful with uncured and somewhat inert once cured.

So I'm assuming that dafox is concerned about epoxies that are cured.
Ya, cured epoxies, at least some, seem to be a problem for me, but it gets complicated as I'm also sensitive to hot glue, and silicone, which are also used in handle installs.
 

dafox

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@dafox, tell us more about the rehandle.

You have substantially more options for a Wa-rehandle (including hot glue or natural binders like wax). If you are going western (I assume?), it also depends how you are pinning it. Some good corby or loveless bolts can support a lot of the load placed on the scales. That might open up other options for alternative glues (if you are willing to trade off some durability)?
I'd like to have some Ryusen Blazens rehandled with western handles, I react to the handle material used on the Blazen, it's an upgraded material from the usual pakka wood. I have the same problem with the Takamura pro handles. Someone tried a rehandle for me but was unable to accomplish it without glue, just using brass pins didnt hold the wood scales in place. Do corby bolts need glue, I have been told that the usual method with them is to use epoxy.
 

stringer

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I'd like to have some Ryusen Blazens rehandled with western handles, I react to the handle material used on the Blazen, it's an upgraded material from the usual pakka wood. I have the same problem with the Takamura pro handles. Someone tried a rehandle for me but was unable to accomplish it without glue, just using brass pins didnt hold the wood scales in place. Do corby bolts need glue, I have been told that the usual method with them is to use epoxy.
You can use cutlers rivets. It's just mechanical compression. They are all that holds on the scales of vintage knives like Forgecrafts. There is no glue or epoxy and I still break the rock hard hickory handles sometimes trying to get them off.

 

Luftmensch

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Do corby bolts need glue, I have been told that the usual method with them is to use epoxy.
Both corby bolts and loveless bolts are usually used with epoxy glue - it is just so darned effective! But... they have much, much bigger heads than peened brass pins.

It is possible that you could get a decent life time out of a handle that only fixed the scales with either corby or loveless bolts. Maybe the bigger the better? That will give them bigger head surface area to provide compression. If you use corby bolts, you could add a dab of threadlocker (e.g. Loctite) without that compound being exposed to skin. If you can find some stabilised scales (properly inert) that don't irritate you, I think there is a good chance you would get a decent lifetime of domestic use out of that configuration. Probably not 24/7 commercial grade abuse... but a good run?
 

Luftmensch

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You can use cutlers rivets. It's just mechanical compression.
This is true 👍. I removed the scales off a chinese cleaver that only used cutlers rivets (or the glue had completely broken down). It was surprisingly tenacious! I bet that coupling could have lasted another couple of decades.

I do think a mechanical compression solution could provide a good service life. Just not so tight you risk splitting or deforming the scales (a cheap corby or bolt might shear its own head off before that happens!).
 

dafox

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You can use cutlers rivets. It's just mechanical compression. They are all that holds on the scales of vintage knives like Forgecrafts. There is no glue or epoxy and I still break the rock hard hickory handles sometimes trying to get them off.

Great, thanks!
 

Carterwhopkins

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Corby's and epoxy is the best way to go. The bolts will secure the handle, but will allow for moisture to get between the handle and tang and eventually rust will form. The addition of epoxy makes a better bonding of the handle and protects the tang.

West G/flex is great.
 

McMan

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isn't the dentist stuff requiring ultraviolet to cure the what I know as acrylic glue? A while ago I repaired a chip in a granite counter top with it and found that the UV does not penetrate that deep making you work in tiny layers. (works like a charm though)
Yup, same kind of stuff. You might be able to build a handle with it, but I can't see how you could install a handle with it.
There are different types of dental adhesives... The UV light curing kind (for fillings, etc.) and non-UV curing kinds. For example, the adhesive used for attaching braces was for a long time non-UV curing--and quite strong. A benefit of the UV stuff is that it cures much faster.
Here's a review of different types:
 
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kbright

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I recently started using C-Tough epoxy from CEC corp in Canada. It's still resin based but has different characteristics from other epoxies. Might have a different sensitivity profile for you. I have sensitivity to rosewoods (cocobolo), micarta and G10 dust.
 

James

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There are different types of dental adhesives... The UV light curing kind (for fillings, etc.) and non-UV curing kinds. For example, the adhesive used for attaching braces was for a long time non-UV curing--and quite strong. A benefit of the UV stuff is that it cures much faster.
Here's a review of different types:
They require expensive bonding agents to work well and do not reliably or strongly bond metal. Given the cost and the outcome, I wouldn't recommend going this route.
 
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