Epoxy goes mainstream
While most woodworkers shy away from epoxy, furnituremaker Robert Hensarling finds it the adhesive of choice in his workshop, and for good reason.
Robert relies on epoxy
Famed for his mesquite Texas-style rocking chairs, Robert Hensarling uses epoxy for just about all his assembly, regardless whether the furniture finds a home in a living or board room. What gives (or doesn't give) with epoxy? We asked Robert about his heavy reliance on it, seeking answers that you too can put to use in your shop.
Q: Why do you choose epoxy for your joinery?
A: I like it because it maintains a little resiliency after curing. In other words, it expands and contracts as wood moves. I work mostly with mesquite, but find that epoxy also performs well with other woods I work including quilted maple and black walnut. Another advantage: Compared to yellow glues, it gives me more working time (approximately 15 to 30 minutes) for adjustments before it sets up.
Solvents and safety
Solvents for epoxy include acetone, lacquer thinner, denatured alcohol, and ordinary white vinegar. These work fine for cleaning tools, but not so well on skin because these thinners can permeate your pores. Robert always wears disposable latex gloves when he mixes, pours, dispenses, spreads, clamps, or cleans up epoxy. Also, work in a well-ventilated space or wear arespirator, he warns. Fumes from epoxies pose health hazards.