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Nails in a post-acrylic world?

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waxwing:
Hey Chezz,

Iíve been using a product called Bondic, which is a UV resin. I knew my dentist had used a UV resin for some fillings and then saw a youtube ad about the product as having been developed by dentists. I also have seen Davie McPhail, a flytyer, use UV resin for coating certain types of trout flies. There are myriad commercial and craft uses, and various suppliers.

Bondic comes in a little metal case that contains a small black tube with a metal tip that emits a very thin bead of the slightly thick resin, about the consistency of syrup. You can spread it about with the tip for a thin layer and the surface tension tends to smooth out the bumps. The resin stays at this consistency, doesnít stiffen up, until you shine the (also supplied) small UV light on it for a few seconds. Then it hardens almost instantly and is very tough, more flexible that acrylic, actually, but easily sanded.

It took me a few attempts to get my technique down, but now Iím pretty happy with how it works and how it lasts. I do 4 fingers, 2 for picking and 2 for tapping the top. Itís also nice to have all four fingers look the same. Starting from a clean nail, I sand the nail some with a medium grit emory board and then wipe with alcohol. I wipe with alcohol before every application and I think this really helps it grip the nail. Then I draw a small bead that forms a U, starting slightly inside the skin roll halfway down one side, down around the tip and and halfway up the other side. Draw the bead just a mm away from the skin and the bead will flatten and spread out. Then I will fill in the U and feather up the nail. This layer should be pretty thin, and the reason is because it gives off heat when it hardens, just for a couple seconds. Itís not really painful, but a surprise the first time. (This is not a recommended usage) Once you have a thin layer on it seems to insulate and there is no heat sensation with subsequent layers. after hardening with the light I again wipe with acohol as there is a bit of waxy residue on the surface. Then I sand with a medium grit, wipe with alcohol and apply another layer, same pattern, starting with the bead around the edge, this time going ĺ up the nail, and then repeat the process going all the way up, but not quite to the quick. after the last layer, wipe with alcohol sand smooth, form the point to your needs and buff with fine grit. I find that you can discourage separation at the tip if you sand under the tip so that the edge is entirely resin and the actual nail starts back a mm or so, underneath.

You can use the surface tension to form the nail. When applying I keep the nail as flat horizontal as I can while applying the resin. When the layer has been applied I turn the nail upside down so that the ďsyrupĒ will thicken slightly along the center line of the nail, then I tip the point down slightly to move the thickness a little toward the point. Just talking about a second or two, before turning on the light to harden it up. Took me a few attempts to develop that technique, but using the surface tension that way helps get it pretty smooth. One nice thing, if you happen to let it run too long and you get a blob of resin against the skin, is that it does not stick well to skin at all and the blob is easily sanded. I find that I can let them grow about a third of the way down, with regular sanding, and then apply another layer to cover the whole nail and maybe a little touch up here or there before the final layer. I do them about every two weeks but I do 2 nails each week.

As I said, I think the UV resin is a little tougher, more flexible, than the acrylic. With acrylics if I stressed a nail when it was a little long it would often crack straight across right where the nail bends around the finger tip, even though the nail wouldnít break. The UV resin hasnít done this yet. Until I started wiping with alcohol at each step I felt that the resin was separating too easily at the edges, and could easily lift the whole resin piece off because of itís toughness. Using the alcohol I get much better adhesion. If you do see a small area that seems to be separating, usually along the side edges, you can sand it down to where there is no separation and then fill in and harden.

I canít remember what the cost was. I googled and found itís now about $20. I did a buy 2 get 1 free intro offer about 6 months ago and have gone through about one and a half tubes, but that includes repairing several mugs, a part on a food processor, etc. Iím sure I can get 5-6 applications and probably far more touch ups. If you google UV resin you can probably find many more suppliers with various systems. You can watch a Bondic Youtube, too.

This really works for me. Iíve been a crafts person/carpenter most of my life, so working with resins, small tools, etc, comes easy for me. I like being able to fix my nail immediately myself if I have a problem, so I will probably stay with Bondic after the salons reopen.

Wax

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