How Do You Tint Epoxy?

I’ve become the recipient of my neighbor’s mesquite tree. Prior to this, I’ve been only working with small stuff out of my woodpile. I’ve cut some boards from his tree and have found some great wood, but with several 1/8″ to 3/16″ checks in them. I’ve heard of “black epoxy” on one of the wood shows and have yet to find any in the stores. Could you tell me if folks sell it somewhere, or can I make some myself from regular clear epoxy? – Ray Schafer

Chris Marshall: I’ve created colored epoxy before by adding a small amount of aniline dye powder to ordinary two-part epoxy. It worked great, with one caveat: be careful when you sand it to prevent spreading the dye powder/epoxy dust to other areas you don’t want colored (it wipes up pretty easily with a dampened rag, but the dust is very fine and can go down deep into wood grain and open pores). West System® Epoxy’s website offers several options for tinting epoxy:

“Powdered pigments (tempera paint, colored tile grout, aniline dyes) and universal tinting pigment can be added to the epoxy mixture. Acrylic paste pigments (available from marine chandleries) are also used to tint the mixture, as long as they are specified for use with polyester or epoxy resin…Generally, coloring agents can be added to the mixed epoxy up to 5 percent by volume with minimal effect on the cured epoxy’s strength. Always make test samples to check for desired color and opaqueness and for proper cure. None of these coloring additives provide UV resistance to the cured epoxy, so limit their use to areas not exposed to sunlight unless additional UV protection is applied.”

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