West System Epoxy

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Forum topic by EricLew posted 01-12-2019 05:49 AM 836 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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274 posts in 2658 days

01-12-2019 05:49 AM

I’m about to order some West System Epoxy for the first time. Not for a large project, just to use in certain situations. I’m not clear on storage, do you leave the pumps installed? or do you have to remove and clean them, and recap the cans between uses?

Also, what is the shelf life? It’s a much better deal to buy the B sizes than the A sizes, but not if it ends up going bad before I use it.

Thanks, Eric

-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon

8 replies so far

View Andre's profile


4853 posts in 3098 days

#1 posted 01-12-2019 05:57 AM

Leave my pumps on, and not sure about recommend shelf life, but I have been using the same jugs for a least 10 years.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View MrUnix's profile


8812 posts in 3491 days

#2 posted 01-12-2019 06:22 AM

I leave the pumps on as well. As for shelf life, they claim ‘years’, but it’s basically forever if you store it properly :) Over time, it may become slightly thicker, and the hardener will darken some, but it doesn’t harm it at all.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View EricLew's profile


274 posts in 2658 days

#3 posted 01-12-2019 08:13 AM

Thanks guys. That is great news. Exactly what I hoped for.

-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon

View avsmusic1's profile


682 posts in 1977 days

#4 posted 01-12-2019 10:03 PM

What are you using it for?

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274 posts in 2658 days

#5 posted 01-12-2019 10:18 PM

Typical uses, I am making a jewelry box and need to inlay a mirror, add brass necklace holders, etc. would also like to use it to fill knot holes and cracks in figured boards.

-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon

View CaptainKlutz's profile


5033 posts in 2786 days

#6 posted 01-13-2019 06:05 AM

Storage life:
Heat is the enemy of epoxy. Keep it in cool place, with zero condensation potential. Part A & B should have same performance for 2-3 years from date of mfg. Tolerable reduction in performance for another ~5 years. If it gets contaminated with moisture or when the curative oxidizes (turns very dark), hardness and toughness will be impacted; until eventually it behaves like useless old crystallized rubber.
Fresh (less than 1 year old) is always best.

Epoxy resin and curative each have different shelf life.
Some curatives will store for 10 years with little change, others last no more than 3-5 years. Generally, an imide will store longer than amine. Uncontaminated, properly stored epoxy resin will last 10-20+ years unchanged in sealed drum. I have some bisphenol epoxy resin from a drum mfg in 1993 and while now little thicker, it still worked well a few months ago when I used it. :)

If West System cans with pumps installed are subjected to temperature changes of more than 10-15 degrees, they will drip out pump spout when heated and make a mess continuously (as the pump top reservoir is auto back filled when it cools). Helps to loosen the pump lids slightly to avoid weeping from pumps. If stored for long periods, it is best to remove the pumps and seal can with normal lids. It’s a messy PIA to pull pumps, but if your storage has wide temperature swings, it is better than finding the entire shelf covered with epoxy resins during ignored storage or having gallon kits go bad in less than a year due excessive temp cycling with half open pump tops.
Another reason to remove pump heads when pumps are not used regularly; they will junk up with oxidized resins and need to be cleaned and/or replaced.
My AZ garage storage temp swings 30+ degrees most every day 9 months a year. BTDTGTTS

If you don’t need the extremely low viscosity of laminating type epoxies that West Systems sells, and do not need ‘quarts’ of epoxy; considering storage – cheapest epoxy to use pint kits of 30 minute cure from local hobby shop (either Bob Smith or ZPoxy brands). A good choice from wood working shops is T-88 kit from System Three. Spend less than $15-$18 on new kit every couple of years, and you will always have fresh epoxy and not need to worry about storing large cans/jugs with giant pump sticking out top. :)
If you need more than 1 pint of epoxy every 6 months, then consider buy the quart or gallon kits.

PS – Always use the longest cure time that your assembly will allow you to use if you want strongest bond. Faster cure = weaker bond and less durable material.

FWIW – Am an just another idiot posting in a forum. Take everything from everyone as half truth, including me. I used to use case quantities of epoxy annually of various epoxy systems for another hobby, including West System. All of mfg low viscosity epoxy kits behave about same in storage, but can not be mixed between companies (without knowledge/training). Suggest cheapest epoxy may not always be best choice. I often buy which ever brand can get at a reasonable price online and also get some locally for when you need more in a hurry.


-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View EricLew's profile


274 posts in 2658 days

#7 posted 01-13-2019 07:15 AM

Thanks Captain, that is a lot of good info.

-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon

View runswithscissors's profile


3134 posts in 3317 days

#8 posted 01-14-2019 01:03 AM

The resin can crystalize, like honey, if exposed to cold for an extended period. The fix is easy: warm the bottle or can in a pot of hot water.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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