Choosing WEST SYSTEM hardeners, fillers and additives
Whether you are looking for a hardener that gives a natural wood finish, a filler for fairing or a fire-resistant additive, you will identify here which WEST SYSTEM® product is suitable.
In the following tables, you can compare applications of the full range of WEST SYSTEM hardeners, fillers and additives and decide which is best for your project.
Which hardener do I need?
Hardeners are mixed with epoxy resin. The mixture cures to a high-strength plastic solid at room temperature which can be used to bond a wide range of materials. This table shows the relevant uses and cure speeds of the four WEST SYSTEM hardeners.
Which filler do I need?
Fillers are used to thicken the basic resin/hardener mixture for specific applications. Each filler possesses a unique set of physical characteristics, but they can be generally categorised as either adhesive (high-density) or fairing (low-density).
Adhesive filler mixtures cure to a strong, hard-to-sand plastic useful in structural applications like bonding, filleting and hardware bonding. Any of the WEST SYSTEM adhesive fillers are suitable for bonding situations.
Fairing filler mixtures cure to light, easily sandable material that is generally used for cosmetic or surface applications like shaping, filling or fairing.
As a rule, it is better to use higher-density fillers when bonding higher-density materials such as hardwoods and metals.
3. Desired characteristics
2. Increased fastener interface and hardware load capability
3. Maximum strength
2. Join parts with epoxy thickened to create a structural gap filler
3. Strength / gap filling
2. Increase joint bonding area and create a structural brace between parts
3. Smoothness / strength
2. Bond layers of wood strips, veneers, planks, sheets and cores
3. Gap filling / strength
2. Fill low areas and voids with an easily sanded surface filler/fairing compound
3. Sandability / gap filling
Which additive do I need?
Additives are blended with mixed epoxy. They alter the physical properties of epoxy when used as a coating. Additives can be used to alter the colour, abrasion resistance or moisture resistance of cured epoxy. This table explains which WEST SYSTEM additive is suitable for which common application.
How do I colour epoxy?
To obtain a colour other than white or grey, add powdered pigments (e.g. tempera paint, coloured tile grout or aniline dye) and universal tinting pigment to the epoxy mixture. Acrylic paste pigments can also be used to tint the mixture, as long as they are specified for use with polyester or epoxy resin. 423 Graphite Powder will colour the epoxy black or impart darker shades to colours.
Generally, colouring agents can be added to the mixed epoxy in quantities of up to 5% by volume and there will only be a minimal effect on the cured epoxy's strength. It's always advisable to make test samples to check that the colour and degree of opaqueness are right and that the mix has cured properly.
Please note that none of these colouring additives make the cured epoxy UV-resistant. So, limit their use to areas that are not exposed to sunlight or apply additional UV protection.