Jamie Hascall 4/16/08
At the Getty Forum, we briefly discussed the recent passing of Phillyseal R, the epoxy putty formerly known as Pliacre. We're quickly using up the last of our stock and are now in the hunt for an alternative. We're trying to gather a list of compounds that might work to fill this niche and would appreciate the input of the group.
In our hunt, we're starting by looking at the physical properties to find puttys that may work well, and then we can take the best and work with Conservation to Oddy test them. Thankfully, our current project involves wood objects that will be displayed in an open-air setting so problems that might show up with the Oddy test aren't a great factor. Thus we feel relatively safe using this as a testing ground for these various compounds.
The properties we're looking for include:
Water soluble in the mixing state Similar viscosity/mixing to Pliacre Resists slumping Sufficient compressive strength to use in same structural fashion Ability to pass the Oddy test Availability in varying quantities Price within reason
We obtained a sample pack of A+B brand epoxy putty from Conservation Support Systems and gave it a try. It comes in white, grey, and tan formulations. It has a fine grain and is a bit stickier, softer, and somewhat easier to mix than Pliacre. It doesn't seem to slump too badly and I feel it takes a little better impression than Pliacre did. The down side is that it currently comes in 1 lb. kits and thus is more expensive as the manufacturer lists the kit for $13.50. It also doesn't seem to have as much compressive strength as Pliacre. The sample we got came as two foil bagged bars of material and had an odd crusty exterior to the hardener bar. This was gradually absorbed as we mixed it and did not seem to have any negative effects overall. I wonder if the sample was on the old side. I don't have a good feel for its shelf life. Overall, this product worked reasonabley well and coud be an ok substitute if it passes Oddy and could be obtained in greater quantities with some sort of price break.
Another compound I've tried in the past is Sculp-Epox from Van Dyke's Taxidermy Supply. At that time, I didn't like it as well as Pliacre because it was a bit more fibrous and smelled worse. It looks like they've re-formulated it so it might be worth a try again.
Those are my first thoughts on this problem, I look forward to input from the group.
Thanks, Jamie Hascall Museum of New Mexico Santa Fe
Jamie, Thanks for bring this up- we started this discussion at the forum, but were limited on time to really talk it about it. At the Getty, were getting ready to run ODDY tests on around ten epoxies, ranging from putties to pastes. Nothing I would say would be a direct replacement for Phillyseal, but some seem promising. It's our hope that we'll end up with a few different products, giving us greater range, depending on the application. We should have our test results in June and we’ll let everyone know what we find out. In the mean time, it would be great to hear from others on any epoxy putties that they’ve been using and like (and tested). Jamie, could you let us know if your products pass? Thanks, BJ
Hello, I mentioned a product at the forum called All Game. Its a taxidermy product and has been oddy tested by the Royal Ontario Museum. It comes from the Cir-Cut Corporation 215-324-1000. It comes in two sizes, one litre containers (two ,naturally) and if I recall correctly , a gallon size container. If you care to know, its used by "award winning taxidermists".
Bradley Sanders 4/16/08
Hi all, Bradley Sanders here.... Thank you so much for researching for a Pliacre' replacement. I am very interested, because I use(d) it as a leveler for leveling and mounting stone sculpture, particularly heads. Is this a common use? I haven't had much opportunity to speak with other mountmakers, so I don't know what everybody is doing. It gets a little competitive on the commercial side of the field, and most of us are on the road all the time. I was very disappointed to miss the Getty Forum. Hopefully I can contribute and benefit here. I've been a mountmaker for 27 years, and I just love it!
norm scrivner 4/17/08
We've been using for a number of years (in exhibit fabrication) a product called apoxie sculpt from aves studios-available in 1000 pound kits (aprox 650$) directly from the manufacturer as well as 2 pound kits and smaller. They also have a similar product called apoxie clay which we like better for sculpting (has a bit of granularity to it). Apoxie sculpt comes in several colours, the choices on the clay are limited. I do not know if it would pass an oddy test as we've never used it inside a case with artifacts but it's characteristics are similar to what you describe with pliacre. (I believe Shelly Uhlir from the national Museum of the American Indian said at the meeting that they were testing it) They're on the web at .(and also on the supplies sources list in your forum packet). Norm Scrivner Pacific Studio
Jamie Hascall 4/17/08
Part of my goal in this discussion is to get product names and peoples opinions of their working qualities. It's the collective experience of this group that is so exciting. Yesterday, I spoke with a rep from Polymeric Systems Inc. which seems to have a promising looking product (Kneadatite A/B). She is going to send me information on their entire line and samples to try out. I'll keep people posted on what I find. I know that manufacturers will badge their products for resellers, and for all I know this may be the originating source of the A+B epoxy I spoke of earlier. Whenever possible, I think it is a good idea to try to work with the original source for reasons of price and technical assistance. I've always found that manufacturing reps are fascinated by what we do with these products and will often bend over backwards to help.
Keep em coming, Jamie
I thought that I had posted this but it didn’t seem to take. The computer confuses me sometimes. I called Philadelphia resins and spoke with TomHatten in Customer Something-or-other. Thinking of the possibility of our working as a collective buying group, I asked him what the minimum run would be for a load of Pliacre/Philly Seal R. He wasn’t certain but said that he would check with the Manufacturing Manager and call me back by next week. He also mentioned two other products that we might consider. The first was Permagile PG2089. He said that it has similar characteristics as does Pliacre but does not slump, has a crush strength of 7000 PSI, non- sagging and non-shrinking. It has the consistency of cheap peanut butter and is gritty. The other product is ITW Repair Compound. It is very similar to the PG2089 but is smoother, thinner and has crush strength of 8900PSI. Both are virtually non-exothermic. He said that someone at the Getty used it in the past and got it from Golten Marine.
Re: [mountmaking-forum] Re: Pliacre Alternatives Hi, The Field Museum has been testing materials for many years now the following is the test results for some of the epoxy puttys for use in-house for specific situations or projects. In no way is the Field Museum endorsing any of these products or approving any of these materials for your use. But the Conservation Department was kind enough to approve the information to be spread around. Here are our Oddy Test results and product information as follows: From Pam Gaible Apoxi Sculpt - 2 part Epoxy resin Manufacturer Aves, Hudson Wisconsin, 800 261 2837 Submitted for use as molding or casting material inside an exhibit case. Approved for limited use in 2005 - Material should not be in direct contact with an artifact. Oddy Test Results Copper: a few black spots - Silver: no reaction Lead: some rnage rystals, some white - Milliput - white 2part water based epoxy putty Polyaminoamide curing agent, Bis Phenol A/epichlorohydrin, Titanium Dioxide, China Clay Manufacturer: Milliput Co. UK, Dolgellau, Gwynedd Distributor: Talas Submitted for mount material, object in direct contact with material or with B-72 barrier. Approved for use as a mount material 2005 Oddy Test Results Copper - consistent with control - no reaction Silver - consistent with control - no reaction Lead - consistent with control - no reaction 1.98 g sample Phillyseal R Hardener -epoxy Manufacturer - ITW Philadelphia Resins Montgomeryville, PA 215 855 8450 Submitted for mount material Approved for Limited use 2004 Oddy Test Results Copper: Black and green corrosion noticeably more than control - more corrosive Silver - White corrosion sllightly more than the control - slightly corrosive Lead- Tiny iridescent, white and orange crystals noticeably more thn the control - more corrosive Sample 2.0 g allowed to off gas for 2 weeks before it was oddy tested. Weight at time of testing 2.21 g. Sculp-epox - 2part water based epoxy putty Manufacturer - Key Polymer Lawrence, MA 978-9411 Distributor: Van Dyke Taxidermy Supply Woonsocket SD 1 800 843 3320 604 796 4425 Subitted for mountmaking purposes in direct contact with artifacts Approved for Limited use in 2004, Acceptable only with stabel ceramics, stone and glass if needed. Recommend using a different tested product instead, if available. Oddy Test Result copper - many black spots and black edging - slightly corrosive silver - consistent with control - no reaction lead - Tiny flat white and orange crystalsconcentrated on the fold and half way down the exposed part of the coupon. Few white pearl like proturusions. - more corrosive. 2.4 gram sample tested I hope you all find this useful. Pam
Second what Brian said....All-Game Epoxy from Cir-Cut corp. Been using this for years. Strong and workable.Made in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Resins...coincidence?)
I’m very happy to see this discussion. Our lab (like everyone else, apparently) began investigating Pliacre alternatives for object mounts last fall. I was primarily looking for a material that I could press- mold easily, was structural, affordable, and available in package quantities greater than one-pound kits. Most mentioned the ability to smooth out with water, if I recall, but I didn’t note this for each one. I ended up ordering samples of three different epoxies to test and compare. Unfortunately, I can’t recall all of the reasons I selected these three to try.
Gapaxio (mentioned on the conservation distlist) Magic Sculp (available in variety of colors and quantities) Kneadatite A/B (had good technical info available online)
The Kneadatite was back-ordered at the time and I never tried it. I did mix a small quantity of the other two. I found both Gapaxio and Magic Sculp were easier to mix than Pliacre. That may simply be due to the advanced age of our Pliacre supply, however. Magic Sculp was softer than Gapaxio and had slightly more tack. Gapaxio was slightly harder, and felt more clay-like.
I didn’t get much further than gathering manufacture, supplier, and cost/quantity info in my search. I’d like to get more specific technical information, and ultimately Oddy test results would be great. I’ve copied some of the information I did find below, including references for epoxies I looked into but didn’t order. Costs are approximate, and most products have multiple suppliers. Hope this is useful. If anyone has more detailed information on any of these I’d love to hear it.
Gapoxio epoxy putty
Mini World 1400 Main Street Blue Springs, MO 64015 Tel: 800-762-3318 or 816-220-0209 Email:
Color: white, tan Available in 1lb ($12.50) kits, or 6lb (six-pack of 1lb units?) ($57) from ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Magic Sculp epoxy putty
Wesco Enterprises 3235 Monier Cir Ste 1 Rancho Cordova, CA 95742 Tel: 916-635-1270 Email:
Color: white, black, gray, brown, green, and flesh. Available in 1lb ($14.99), 5lb ($34.99), 20lb ($119.99), and 100lb (499.99) kits from ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kneadatite A/B epoxy putty bars
Polymeric Systems, Inc. 47 Park Avenue P.O. Box 552 Elverson, PA, 19520 Tel: 888-376-9934 or 610-286-2500 Fax: 610-286-2510 Email:
Color: off-white Available in 1 lb kits ($13.99) from ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SculpWood moldable epoxy putty
System Three Resins, Inc. 3500 W. Valley Hwy N Suite 105 Auburn, WA 98001
Color: medium brown Available in 1qt kits ($34), ½gal kits ($55), and 2gal kits ($195) from 4oz and 10 gal also available. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Paleo-Sculp sculpting medium
Paleo Bond, Inc. 430 North Dale Street Saint Paul, MN 55103 Tel: 651-227-7000 or 800-323-4545 Fax: 651-227-6526 E-mail:
Color: unknown Available in 1lb pt ($14), 5lb ($31), and 20lb ($105) kits from --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At NMAI we have tested a couple of pliacre alternatives in the last few years. Below, I offer the results. As always please note the subjective nature of the Oddy test and that this was a test of one batch of the material; manufacturers may change formulation:
Epoxy putty "All Game" Test Date: 5/11/2006 Cir-Cut Corporation 4315 North Fourth Street, Philladelphia, PA 19140 Sales: (215) 324-1000 -- Fax: (215) 324-1810 E-mail: Oddy Test Results: fail Copper: irridescent brown, black edges Silver: no change Lead: dark blue iridescence
Apoxie Clay - 2 part epoxy putty Test Date: 2/8/2007 Aves, PO Box 344, RiverFalls, WI 54022, T:800-261-2837 Test Results: pass Copper: dull, darkened Silver: no change Lead: slightly darkened
Apoxie Sculpt Test Date: 2/15/2007 Aves, PO Box 344, RiverFalls, WI 54022, T:800-261-2837 Test Results: pass Copper: darkened and reddened (same as control) Silver: no change Lead: no change
Bye for now, Shelly
Re: [mountmaking-forum] Re: Pliacre Alternatives Hi All, Well thats interesting about your oddy results on the all game. I will check in with the ROM and ask for their results. I know they used buckets in their new installations. Brian
This brings up the very subjective nature of Oddy tests and why it is so hard for conservators to say that a product has unconditionally passed without any reservations or that products can be used under any circumstance with any object. I have no idea, but maybe ROM's test was for use with less sensitive objects, perhaps for NMAI they were testing for super sensitive pieces. NMAI tested All Game in 2006, perhaps ROM tested a different batch or the formulation changed. None of it means one place was "right" and one "wrong". Use products that are okayed by the conservators you work with and if you have the luxury, test your favorite epoxy every few years or when you get a new batch. Sorry, no easy answers here!
Re: [mountmaking-forum] Re: Pliacre Alternatives Hi Shelly Indeed , no easy answers. Mac had sent a message similar to yours. I will check in with the ROM again, for safe measure. I must say, I am flattened by all the goodwill this forum has spun already. Thanks for the tip about checking things every few years. Brian
Hi Brian, What is the working time on this stuff? Does it hold threading well?
Re: [mountmaking-forum] Re: Pliacre Alternatives Hi Steve, It holds a screw indeed. I haven't tapped anything yet...but I have removed the chunk I was working with several times and fastend it to original position with no gapping. You have seen Shelly's oddy results...so you are aware there may be some affects on certain materials. Our colleagues up the road do good work, so I am hoping their advice is sound...today! How are things down south? brian
RE: [mountmaking-forum] Re: Pliacre Alternatives
It will be interesting to see what finally rolls out as being the best option for this dilemma.
I am actually in Colorado which is not all that far south. The weather here is beautiful right now. Spring has sprung! S.
Hello fellow Mountmakers,
We have a brief update in our search here at the Getty for a replacement product for Philliseal. Initially, we started to look for a direct substitute for Philliseal, but quickly realized that we should be looking for a range of products from putties to pastes that would give us greater flexibility depending on the application.
While we have yet to find a close replacement for Philliseal, we have come across a few promising products. We’re still compiling samples for a second round of tests, which we hope to be doing shortly. In our first round, we complied over twenty samples to be Oddy tested. Surprisingly, we found that a fair amount of the samples came back with varying degrees of concern.
There is one product that we tested that is worth noting since it has been mentioned a few times recently on the mount forum. All-Game/All Fix epoxy putty tested poorly for Copper and Lead (Silver was fine). Because of this, we will avoid using this product in the future.
Since we are still testing and compiling information on various products, we thought it would be premature to put out a list yet, but hopefully we will have something together in the next few months. In the meantime, if there’s a product that you’ve found and like, let us know, we’d be interested in hearing about it.
Update- here are preliminary results from our tests (Presented at the 2nd International Mountmakers Forum)-