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How to colour epoxy

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Flying B, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Flying B

    Flying B

    Apr 29, 2018
    Specifically, what would you use to turn West systems epoxy black for filling small knots etc
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    How to colour epoxy
    google "epoxy dye" = pages forever! good luck! :thumbsup:
    Dubious Aa likes this.
  3. Flying B

    Flying B

    Apr 29, 2018
    Yes this would be the obvious choice, bit pricey though round these parts.

    Yes lots of stuff comes up but I'm interested in what you knowledgeable folks here in luthiers corner use.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i'm not a luthier, and i'm not particularly "knowledgeable" on the subject, but: i am experienced! :D FWIW: i've died epoxy a few times to use as a thick coating, and i've done the "epoxy pour" on one fingerboard. i plan to use it more for other fingerboards. i've used black "resin dye."

    i got one bottle of it at the hobby store. i got the other from amazon. ~$5-$10 per tiny bottle --- a little goes a long way!

    there are actual epoxy experts here --- hang in! good luck with your project! :thumbsup:
    Dubious Aa and Flying B like this.
  5. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Mixol pigments work with epoxy very well. You can get them at craft and hobby stores, or on amazon for about $10

    I've also used the US Composites branded tints a lot. They're very good but shipping will be pricey if that's all you're buying:

    Colored Pigments

    And finally, if you have some ebony onhand, you can just generate some ebony dust and mix that in. It won't be as effective at actually coloring the epoxy, but if you're filling small pinholes or knots on ebony, it'll be a very close match. And it makes the epoxy nice and thick which can make it easier to control for filling small imperfections.
    Dubious Aa, Low8 and Flying B like this.
  6. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    old school method is to use carbon black from burning acetylene. it can possibly be derived from other sources and it's predominately a free by-product. to obtain, you need an oxy acetylene torch and a piece of sheet metal. fire up the torch but don't kick in the oxygen. that ugly black soot is what you are after. place your sheet metal over the torch and capture it (takes like 10 seconds) when everything is cool, brush it off into something and add it to your small batch of epoxy. it's blacker then the blackest black times infinity, and it's free.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I like @Arie X 's method :D

    I use mixol - three drops in 15mLs makes an opaque black :thumbsup:
    Dubious Aa and Flying B like this.
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yes, West Systems epoxy can be colored black easily. Most common colorants will mix in fine. My favorite is Smooth-On's So-Strong Black. It's the darkest, most concentrated black pigment I've tried. I cast the housings of my pickups in West Systems 105/206 with So-Strong Black pigment. I've been using it for years.

    Flying B likes this.
  9. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    +1 on mixing in the wood dust that matches up with what you're looking to fill.

    Had a fretted turned fretless decades ago... used rosewood dust mixed with epoxy to fill in the fret slots. More than 25 years later and it's still holding up especially well.

    Flying B and Dubious Aa like this.
  10. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    On a related subject what would work better as a filler around any small imperfections at inlays on a Rocklite Ebano fingerboard, black CA glue, tinted epoxy, or the actual Rocklite dust mixed with epoxy? Im guessing Rocklite dust would be the best color match, but I've never done it.
  11. I would add some black dye while mixing.
  12. My 2 cents... test, test, test.
    Ive been playing with epoxy lately. Lots of options. Wherever you go, be patient and test.
    Flying B and james condino like this.
  13. Flying B

    Flying B

    Apr 29, 2018
    I used rocklite dust mixed with ca glue on my fretboard and it was invisible once sanded back. Pack the dust into the gaps and wick in the thin stuff.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  14. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    I would second that, for small imperfections in rocklite it's easy to use it's own dust then a tiny drop of thin CA. Sand flush and buff and you'll never know.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  15. lark_z

    lark_z Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2020
    Coffee grounds are commonly used with CA glue to fill defects, making them look 'natural'. Haven't tried it with epoxy.
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 25, 2021

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