Abstract Introduction Resin bonding can be compared to making a sandwich with the tooth on one side and the restoration on the other, a layer of bonding resin is applied to either side and a filled resin (composite) placed in between. This presentation considers factors that influence the restoration side of the sandwich and various ways that the assembled testpieces may be “aged” prior to testing. The materials to be bonded may be either ceramic, metal or composite formed by methods such as casting, pressing, sintering or machining. The fabrication method determines the susceptibility of the bonding surface to physical or chemical modification. The treatment of the surface prior to bonding can be physical (e.g. sandblasting) or chemical (e.g. metal primer); but is more likely to be a combination (e.g. silica deposition + silane). Preparation of the bonding surface Successful bonding depends on establishing a surface with a high population of unreacted vinyl groups (–C C) that can then be cross-polymerized to the resin in the bonding composite. The physical approach has involved etching or sandblasting the surfaces; but the ability to form a microretentive surface in this way depends on a heterogeneous surface. Noble metals and modern high strength ceramics have a more homogeneous surface and are not easily etched. To overcome this problem a number of ways to deposit a silica layer on the bonding surface have been developed: the Silicoater that involves baking on a silica layer, the Rocatec technique (CoJet) that involves air blasting silica onto the surface in conjunction with an abrasive; and two more modern approaches: sol–gel evaporation and molecular vapor deposition (MVD). All these techniques require the subsequent application of a silane layer to provide the –C C moieties. The use of primers without an intervening silica layer has been tested and found to be successful with some specialized bonding systems that contain agents such as methacryloyloxydecyldihydrogen-phosphate (MDP) (PanaviaEX). Aging of testpieces prior to bonding The most common type of aging is storage in water at temperatures from ambient to 100 °C. This generally decreases bond strengths; but not to catastrophic values. A more exacting pre-test regime is thermal cycling. In some studies this caused a slightly greater reduction in bond strength than storage in water; but in other tests it resulted in total failure. As some testpieces have spontaneously debonded during thermal cycling, it seems sensible to include TC in any screening test of new materials. Mechanical cycling (fatigue) prior to testing has a very significant effect and the bond strength that can withstand 1,000,000 cycles can be one sixth of the bond strength in a simple monotonic test (tensile, shear or compression). Whereas simple monotonic tests provide a blunt instrument for eliminating poorly performing techniques their use for discriminating between established techniques is open to discussion.