Top Pick – The Best Epoxy Resin for Wood
Pro Marine Supplies is the best epoxy resin that I used. This epoxy contains no VOCs and provides great coverage. Also, Pro Marine cures harder and more quickly than most epoxy resins.Check Price
When you want to turn a piece of wood into a colorful and durable piece of art, epoxy resin is one of the best tools in the box. To see examples of this, just look up some of the gorgeous “river tables” that people have made. Could you do this with standard wood finishes like stains and varnishes? Absolutely not! And that is just one example of how epoxy resins can be used in creative and artistic ways.
However, the choice is not always an easy one. There are all kinds of epoxies on the market, and no two are exactly alike. Although you don’t always have to get the ideal product, it pays to understand what you are using.
Of course, high-quality epoxy resins can be a little expensive, so you should definitely do some research before buying. Or, if you don’t feel like doing all of that, you can just continue reading.
We will review 13 of the best epoxy resins for wood that we could find, and then we will discuss their essential qualities and features. I also provide a quick comparison table as well as a more thorough buyer’s guide to help you decide.
For those of you that are in a rush, I personally think that Pro Marine Supplies Epoxy is the top option, but a true DIYer might want to keep reading for a more convenient option.
Best Epoxy Resins for Wood in March, 2023
|#||Epoxy resin||Cure time (hours)||Covers at 1/8||Volume|
|1||Pro Marine Supplies |
|12-14||12.5 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|2||RTG Bar & Table||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|3||SRC Crystal Clear||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|4||East Coast||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|5||TotalBoat Table Top||16-20||12.8 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|6||MAS Clear Table Top||>24||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|7||ArtResin||24||16 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|8||Countertop Epoxy||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|9||Dr. Crafty||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|10||Premium Epoxy||24||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|11||Superclear Epoxy Resin||16-20||12 sq ft||2 gallon kit||Check Price|
|12||Primaloc Premium||12-14||16 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
|13||Countertop Epoxy||24||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit||Check Price|
Here is the list of the best wood bar top epoxies you can get.
1. Pro Marine Supplies Epoxy Resin – Top Epoxy for Wood
Pro Marine Supplies was a company that started out as Pro Marine Repair a little over a decade ago. During that time, the small business owners realized that too many epoxy resins on the market were not up to snuff.
Like many companies, this led the owners to expand their market, and now the sister company specializes not only in epoxy resins for wood but this particular product exclusively. That said, it does seem a bit odd that a company focused on boat repair would move to the tabletop market, but this is still a solid option.
On top of that, due to being founded in California where environmental protections are more strict, this is also an epoxy resin for wood that does not contain any VOCs.
While the surprise might be a bit oversold, without much experience or a larger parent company to guide them, Pro Marine Supplies has put out one of the best product that I saw.
That said, this product also offers one of the greatest coverage areas I saw at 48 sq ft and is naturally blush resistant as well.
Temperature and mixing
The most important part of this product is a temperature inside the room and mixing. Those are two substantial moments. You need to keep your room at eighty degrees which is where manufacturer say to keep it for the Pro Marine. Be careful while mixing it, make sure to pour it into different containers when you’re measuring it out.
I mixed it for about 10 minutes and monitored the temperature of the epoxy the whole time until it reached 92-93 degrees which is one of Pro Marine tips they say on their website. Let that epoxy heat up a little bit so that it cures a little harder if you want a scratch resistant and harder surface.
- Cures harder than most
- Has UV protection
- No VOCs
- Covers 48 sq ft
- Is blush resistant
- It is water resistant
- FDA food safe
- Requires a quicker application
2. RTG Bar & Table Top Epoxy – Great For Anything Indoors
This is an excellent tabletop epoxy for all-around use. It is marketed as a good epoxy for those who have never used this kind of product before, and the marketing seems to be accurate. This stuff is really easy to mix, as it uses a simple one-to-one ratio (by volume, not by weight) for an easy and simple mix. It bonds to just about anything, including wood, stone, concrete, metal, and ceramic.
Stops further rotting
RTG epoxy is fully waterproof, making it a good choice for projects that involve driftwood or other partially rotted wood. With a piece like that, you do not want the wood to rot any further. As such, you can use an epoxy like this to preserve it for much longer than you normally could.
RTG has a “self-leveling formula,” which is a fancy way of saying that it is formulated to spread itself evenly in all directions. Of course, you should still make sure to level your working surface before applying this product all the same.
Now let’s discuss the downsides of this product. Overall, this is a very good product. However, it is not intended for outdoor use. Over time, direct exposure to the sun’s rays will break down this epoxy and cause it to eventually wear away. Thankfully, RTG epoxy is formulated to resist UV decay, so it’s still safe to put the table next to a window.
Another small downside (although it will not be a problem for everyone) is the fact that this is an extremely high-gloss epoxy. While this is very good for most jobs, some people prefer a slightly flatter finish to a high shine. For instance, someone who is going for a primitive and rustic look would probably opt for a low-gloss epoxy.
- Easy to mix
- Bonds with nearly anything
- Tough surface
- No good for outdoor projects
- Extremely glossy
3. SRC Epoxy Resin – Top Budget Option
It might seem a bit surprising, but SRC is actually one of the more well-known manufacturers of epoxy resins, though they do not specialize exclusively in this product category like some of the other manufacturers on our list.
That said, this company did still get its start manufacturing epoxy resins and does still focus primarily on this type of product. What is even more impressive is that SRC, due to its popularity and size, has been able to undercut most of the competition in terms of price, easily making this the top budget epoxy resin for wood.
In fact, when you compare this product to the general experience of using an epoxy resin, it may, in fact, be a bit more convenient than some of the others.
To be clear, this is not actually the easiest product to use, but it does come with a number of qualities that make it convenient.
For instance, while not the quickest in every category, the SRC Crystal Clear epoxy does at least provide a comparable final curing time as our quickest at 16 to 20 hours in total. Even better, the SRC Crystal Clear also has a solid early curing time of 40 minutes which provides an additional 10 minutes of work time.
When you also consider that the SRC Crystal Clear resin is self-leveling and has a lower odor than most, this might also be the best DIYer epoxy resin for wood too.
- Got a high gloss
- Has a low odor
- Got UV protection
- Is self-leveling
- The least expensive epoxy reviewed
- Cures quicker than most
- FDA food safe
- Requires a quicker application
- Not the hardest finish
4. East Coast Epoxy Resin – Fastest Curing Option
East Coast Resin may not be a company you have heard of, but that only makes sense since they have only recently started having an online presence. Before that, you had to find out about the company with more than 20 years of experience through a specialized distributor.
That said, it seems as if East Coast Resins understands what most of their customers actually want out of an epoxy resin for wood: immediacy. That is why East Coast Resins made sure that their product provides the fastest curing time that I saw, though the race was a close call in the end.
That said, this particular model still provides plenty of other benefits as well, though it is likely not the best option for inexperienced users.
No Time Flat
First, when it comes to the work time, few epoxies on our list can compete with East Coast Resin’s 30-minute window. On top of that, the total cure time of this epoxy sits at under a full day between 16 to 20 hours, depending on how many layers you applied.
If you do not prepare the East Coast Resin properly, you are liable to suffer from bubbles coming through the finish as well as other potential curing issues.
On the other hand, the East Coast Resin offers solid options across the board in other regards. For instance, this resin does offer UV protection, and though they are not absolute, they are actually better than some of the other resins I reviewed. Also, this epoxy resin does offer solid water resistance, though yet again, this is not a 100-percent waterproof epoxy resin.
- Has a high gloss
- UV protection
- Odorless epoxy
- Is self-leveling
- It’s water resistant
- Has the quickest curing time
- Complicated application
- More likely to bubble
5. TotalBoat Epoxy – Great Indoor Epoxy
TotalBoat Table Top Epoxy may seem like an epoxy resin with an identity crisis, based on its name, but the brand is arguably the best option for most people by far. This is because TotalBoat, which is owned by Jamestown Distributors, has a particular focus on pretty much all finishing products related to mariner crafts.
Basically, if it goes on something that goes in the water, there is a good chance that TotalBoat manufactures a top-tier product for it. While this may seem a bit out of place for our list, it actually ensures that the TotalBoat Table Top Epoxy provides some protections others do not.
Because of this, as well as a number of other great features provided without any real difference in the price, I included the TotalBoat Table Top Epoxy in our list as a good indoor epoxy resin for wood.
This may seem odd considering the brand specializes in working with workpieces that are almost exclusively outdoor products. That said, if you plan to keep the finished product indoors, like with most workpieces that would be described as “table tops,” you will get one of the best results that I have seen.
That said, the TotalBoat is also one of the best formulas I saw for inherently preventing both blushes and bubbles. On top of that, this is also one of the few epoxy resins that I saw which can handle temperatures well above boiling without leaving a mark on the epoxy’s finish.
- Has a clear coat
- Is self-leveling
- Is 100-percent waterproof
- Has great heat resistance
- Got a fast curing time
- Is blush and bubble resistant
- More complicated application
- Poor outdoor performance
6. MAS Epoxy Resin – Great All-Around Product
MAS Epoxies might not be the most well-known manufacturer of epoxies, but they may very well be the best. While they did not get our Editor’s Choice award, that was mostly due to the fact that it is a bit less convenient for most people’s purposes.
However, this is one of the premier epoxy resins if you are looking for a product that can do pretty much everything well so long as you do not need it to be done quickly. That said, they say good things come to those who wait, and the MAS Epoxies resin provides a multitude of good things to those who are willing to wait on it a bit.
That is why I rated this our top all-around epoxy resin for wood. Just make sure that you do not need the finished product any time soon unless you have a curing cabinet.
Like a Pro
One of the top qualities of the MAS Epoxies resin is that it was made by professionals for professionals, but it also understands that DIYers are liable to look their way as well.
This makes the MAS Epoxies significantly easier to apply than some of the other products we reviewed, though that might also be because you have significantly more time to apply the epoxy in the first place.
In fact, this is the only option on our list that suggests you allow for longer than 24 hours for the epoxy resin to cure at room temperature.
- Provides the largest coverage reviewed
- Has a clear coat
- Is self-leveling
- It’s more durable than most
- Has UV protection
- Easy to apply
- Slow to cure
- More likely to bubble
7. ArtResin – The Artists’ Choice
Art Resin is an epoxy that is designed with the artist in mind. As you may already know, epoxy resin has many different uses. Because it can be cast like metal (but is much easier to melt than metal) it is a natural choice for sculpture and other forms of 3-dimensional art. This product is focused on the needs of the artist, but can also make a fine tool for more practical purposes.
Great For Casting
Epoxy casting isn’t quite as easy as you might think. You don’t simply mix the product and pour it into a mold. If you do that, you are likely to get some terrible results. For one thing, you have to take great care to make sure that everything is properly mixed. Any unmixed material will create weak spots where no chemical bond is present. A pressure cooker is required to avoid bubbling, warping, and other problems encountered while drying.
Because this product is designed for artists from the ground up, you can be assured of an easier casting process. Not all epoxy resin products take these needs into account, so this is a great choice for the amateur caster.
Safe, But Not 100% Safe
This product is advertised as being very safe and non-toxic. Indeed, the product does get high marks in the safety category, but the advertising might be a little misleading. With no volatile organic compounds (often called VOCs for short), this one doesn’t present any danger to human life. It is also free of BPA (bisphenol), a plastic additive that has come under fire in recent years for its effects on human health.
However, we can see a different story when we look at the MSDS for this product. It says that the fumes can cause some pretty serious issues. There is even a warning on the bottle, right next to the label that tells you the product is free of VOCs and BPA. Still, I can also see that this product is completely safe once it has cured. It’s even safe for use on food prep surfaces, but make sure you wait until it is completely cured.
- Formulated for easy casting
- Food-safe once dried and cured
- Very good product/company reputation
- Self-leveling formula
- Resists yellowing quite well
- Very expensive
- Not as harmless as advertised
8. Countertop UV-Resistant Resin – The Eco-Friendly Option
This epoxy has a few interesting qualities that make it worthy of a spot on our list. The main selling point of this item is the fact that it resists UV rays better than most products on the market. This makes it a decent choice for outdoor use.
This product is meant to provide a very clear finish and is advertised as being crystal clear. When it dries, it looks a lot like glass. Within 36 hours, it cures completely and is even more clear. The product is formulated to resist staining and yellowing so that it will provide a durable and long-lasting coating.
However, bear in mind that this label only applies when the resin is fully cured. Applying this resin is more pleasant because it has almost no smell at all. There is no need to fool with a facemask or a respirator.
Bonds to any surface
Countertop epoxy bonds well to wood, concrete, MDF board, Formica. ceramic, tile, and most types of stone. Another good thing about this product is that it gets pretty good coverage in terms of square feet per can. It’s not a huge difference when compared to other brands, but it’s a big enough difference to save a little money when buying multiple cans for large projects.
This product does have a few shortcomings, although they are not that bad. First of all, this product does not create as hard a surface as some other products of this type.
This product also tends to show a lot of bubbles. These can be removed with a heat gun or a hair dryer, but it takes a little longer than you would probably expect. If you opt for this product, be prepared to spend a little more time with the heat gun in your hand.
- Excellent UV resistance
- No odor
- Good coverage
- FDA food safe
- Scratches somewhat easily
- Harder to remove the bubbles
9. Dr. Crafty Super-Gloss Epoxy Resin – The Middle Ground
Dr. Crafty is another well-known name in this market, so let’s see what they have to offer. Some reviewers say that they have sworn by this product for years with no problems.
Less Prone To Bubbling
If you are wondering why a pressure cooker is necessary for proper epoxy casting, the answer is simple: bubbling. When plastic is melted and cast without pressure, it tends to absorb air from its surroundings. This causes a lot of bubbles to form in the resulting item. Even if you aren’t pouring it into a mold, it’s good to have one that isn’t that prone to bubbling. Such a thing can ruin your work very quickly.
Fully protected against UV damage
There are two tiers of protection against UV damage: UV stabilizers and HALS additives. The first of these will delay the yellowing and peeling, which is caused by the sun’s UV rays, while the other one will prevent it more permanently. Obviously, a lot of epoxy products don’t include these ingredients.
Because this product contains both kinds of UV protection, it is suitable for outdoor use. Even long-term outdoor use should not be a problem. When using this product as a coating, it is likely to be the last coating the item will ever need.
Bonuses And Guarantees
There are a few little perks that come with this product, and they are worth discussing. First of all, I’m very reassured by the money-back guarantee. This kind of guarantee is not common for these types of products, so the company went the extra mile here.
I also like the fact that this product is basically an entire kit. It includes the epoxy and its matching hardener, but it also includes two mixing cups, two stir sticks, and two plastic spreaders. In other words, it has everything you need to get started.
This epoxy seems very good, but I do see a few consistent complaints. Most of these complaints come down to the consistency of the product. A lot of people say that it’s too hard to mix, with some claiming that it took them twice as long to mix this epoxy. This might explain why good mixing tools are included with the product.
Some others have complained that the product is too thin when mixed. For instance, one user who was coating tumbler glasses with colored epoxy had some frustrating results. He found that the only way to make the epoxy stick was to place the glasses on a rotary lathe-type device. Still, that isn’t a huge inconvenience. The thin consistency does make it easier to make a mess, but that can be remedied with a little caution and care.
- Good value
- Doesn’t take bubbles easily
- Non-toxic once cured
- Fully protected against UV damage
- Refund guarantee
- Comes with two cups, two sticks, and two spreaders
- Doesn’t mix properly when it’s cold
- Thin consistency
10. Premium Quality Clear Epoxy Resin – The Budget Epoxy
This is a cheap epoxy resin, and it still seems to offer a reasonable level of quality. Like my other choices, it is a two-part mixture made up of two half-gallon jugs. The hardener and epoxy are mixed at a 1:1 ratio, which does make the measurement aspect of the process a little easier.
Takes A Little Longer To Dry
A lot of reviews have said that this product takes a while to dry. In fact, some people even reported that the mixture never hardened at all! This was somewhat confusing to me because most reviews for this product have been positive. However, I think I have an answer to this question.
This product comes with no instructions for mixing it properly. Instead, it just says to mix at a 1:1 ratio. While most people understand that this means mixing equal amounts, the manufacturer forgot to tell people one very important thing: Do you measure by weight or by volume? This confusion has obviously led to some problems. However, on the upside, this product does give you a little more working time.
Non-Toxic And Foodsafe
Like the rest of the products on the list, this one is made to be safe for human health and the environment. It is rated safe for food surfaces and contains no volatile organic compounds.
- Cheapest product on our list
- Non-toxic once cured
- Not prone to yellowing
- More working time
- Can take more than 24 hours to dry
- No instructions
11. Superclear Epoxy Resin – Best Deal For The Money
This is a product that comes in two-gallon kits instead of two-quart kits. That makes it a little bit better of a deal. After all, everything is cheaper when you buy in bulk. While this one may be a little cheaper, it seems to get overwhelmingly positive reviews with very few complaints.
First, this product has a very high level of UV resistance. The advertising doesn’t say if this product is suitable for outdoor use, so use caution if you are thinking about using Superclear in this way. The best way to verify that you are doing the right thing is to perform a test. Just coat a small piece of wood and leave it out in the weather for a while. Check it after a week and see how it holds up to the elements.
Scratch-resistance and durability
This product is fully waterproof and forms a hard, scratch-resistant coat. More than one reviewer has remarked upon the hardness of this resin, and upon its ability to maintain good clarity even when creating deeply layered finishes. For the artist who wants to experiment a little bit, this wouldn’t be a bad choice at all.
I have found that a lightly colored finish over a pale wood such as white oak can have a stunning effect, and can bring out the color of the wood in many subtle and attractive ways.
There are a few problems that we can find with Superclear epoxy, although none of them are particularly serious. First, many have reported that this epoxy will often start to tack up and harden before it can be fully applied. This problem becomes even worse in hot weather, making it necessary to put your epoxy in the freezer to buy more time.
- Crystal clear
- Great depth
- Doesn’t bubble too much
- Decent price
- Hardens too quickly in hot weather
- Not certified as safe for food by the FDA
12. Primaloc Premium Epoxy – Easy To Apply
This epoxy from Primaloc stands out in several ways. First, we should talk about its’ most distinctive quality. This epoxy is not meant to be brushed or stirred, as you would normally do when applying such a substance. Instead, you just pour it on and it self-levels to exactly one-eighth of an inch.
Before you do this, however, you have to apply a thin preliminary layer of epoxy. This “seal coat” is intended to remove any roughness on the object that is to be sealed. This allows the poured coat to level itself more quickly, and to give a more perfectly even surface.
Contains no dangerous compounds
This makes Primaloc a really good choice if you aren’t very good at hiding those brush strokes.
The makers of this product pride themselves on having created a product that offers maximum clarity. For those who like to get creative with these products, this can be a serious upside. However, it won’t matter a whole lot if you are coloring your epoxy. This product is extremely well-suited to “layering” work. That is to say, the kind of projects that involve layering different object on top of one another.
For instance, you might use some old coins or some printed pictures, or some cool-looking rocks that you found. By applying the epoxy in layers, and adding objects to each layer, a beautiful contrast can be created. Of course, you really do need a crystal-clear epoxy that resists yellowing if you want to get the most out of your work.
Not the best for outdoor
Some users also reported that the product dried too quickly for their liking. Thus, you may consider avoiding this one if you are doing something very intricate that requires more drying time.
- Easy to apply
- Self-leveling to 1/8 of an inch
- No toxic chemicals
- Dries a little too quickly
- No good for outdoor use
13. Stone Coat Countertops Epoxy – Epoxy for Wood Countertops
When you have a nice, expensive wood or stone countertop, it pays to protect it with some kind of water-resistant coating. You have a lot of options in that department, and this one is a top-coating you may choose.
Tough, Waterproof, And Versatile
Epoxy provides one of the toughest finishes that you could want. It will be resistant to denting and impact (at least, much more so than a standard polyurethane coating). Also, the epoxy resists heat with great effectiveness. This is very handy in the kitchen, where you will often find hot objects.
Epoxy also provides an opportunity to be creative. It is relatively easy to add a dye to your epoxy if you so desire. This can be used to give your stone a tint of any color you want, or even make it look like an entirely different color. You could actually make an entire countertop from this epoxy, although that would require a large mold.
The main purpose of this product is to protect your wood or stone countertop from water damage. This one also provides UV resistance, which is good if your counter is located next to a window. The self-leveling feature is also nice, as it makes the application much easier.
Some people might also have trouble mixing the epoxy and hardener properly, as they must be measured exactly.
- Protects countertops from water damage
- Can be used in creative ways
- Long working time
- Gives a crystal clear finish
- Provides a heat and UV-resistant layer
- Has to be mixed precisely
Now that you have seen some good examples, let’s go a little deeper into the subject. Obviously, there are a lot more than 6 products on the market, so you need to know how to evaluate all of them. Let’s go over the most important things to consider when making that next epoxy purchase:
If you don’t know what this word means, it is basically just a scientific way to describe the thickness of a liquid or gelled substance. As it happens, epoxy resin would be somewhere between a liquid and a gel. As for where it lies on that spectrum, that will vary a lot with the product.
Manufacturers make epoxy resins in a wide variety of viscosities because there are many different jobs that the product might do. As such, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. High-viscosity epoxies will be much thicker, while low-viscosity products will be thinner.
So, if you choose a thicker product, you will get a richer and shinier appearance on the finished project. However, you will not be able to finish the project quickly. If you layer these adhesives too thick, it will be very hard for air bubbles to escape before the layer has dried. As a result, you end up with all kinds of bubbles in your finish. Thus, you should never add more than 1 centimeter of high-viscosity epoxy at one time. If you do end up with a lot of trapped air bubbles, you might be able to remove them by gently heating the surface with a blow dryer.
On the other hand, if you choose a thinner product, you won’t get the same visual effect. This isn’t always a bad thing, as you don’t necessarily want your project to shine like an oil slick. Not only that, but you can add thicker layers when using low-viscosity epoxy, reducing the overall work time. Of course, you may still need to use that hairdryer trick to remove some bubbles as it dries.
Viscosity is also affected by temperature. Many products of this type will have certain temperature recommendations on the label, whether for usage or storage. These are mostly included because an epoxy will tend to get thicker when it is cold. Some of them resist this effect better than others, so you should be more careful about your choice of product if you live in a colder climate.
Drying Time And Curing Time
In general, the drying time of the epoxy is the measure of your working time. Because epoxies use a wide variety of hardeners, their drying times and curing times will vary accordingly. When choosing a product, you need to think about how you will use it and how much time you will need.
For instance, if you are doing something that is a little more artistic, such as a river table, you probably want something with longer working time. For simpler projects, fast drying time is desirable. For objects that are on a vertical or semi-vertical plane, shorter drying/curing times are essential to keep them from dripping and running.
It is also important to remember that there are actually 3 different types of curing times:
- The first curing time is how long it takes for the epoxy to harden to the point that it can be touched.
- The second curing time is how you need to wait before applying another coat
- The final curing time is the amount of time before the surface can be used in any general purpose.
When choosing an epoxy, you also need to consider how the end product will be used. This will determine whether or not you need a food-safe option. Things like countertops, cutting boards, tables, etc. will need to be food-safe. If anyone is going to eat from the surface or eat anything that came into contact with it, then it needs to have that food-safe designation on the label.
Most epoxies are made from a mixture of Epichlorohydrin and Bisphenol-A. Unfortunately, neither of these substances is completely safe. Epichlorohydrin is definitely toxic, and Bisphenol-A is at least suspicious. Because it leaks xenoestrogens, there are some health concerns about the use of Bisphenol-A in food-grade plastics. Many products will be labeled “BPA-free,” and these are definitely preferred for food usage. If the label does not say, flip the bottle over and look at the numbers on the bottom. If it says 5, 4, or 2, then there should be no BPA.
Carbolic acid is another one to watch out for, as it is commonly used for weed-killing purposes. Naturally, it isn’t going to be any better for you than it is for the weeds. It’s also a caustic substance that can cause chemical burns, at least in its raw form. Obviously, we do not have the time or space to list every single chemical that might be used in these products, but we would encourage you to do a quick internet search on any ingredients that you find to be suspicious. It never hurts to be a little bit paranoid, especially when dealing with safety concerns.
Yellowing is a major concern when it comes to epoxy, especially for artistic projects. While virtually all epoxy companies focus on clear epoxy resin, not all of them will stay clear. There are many cases in which we have examined a product of this type, only to find that many reviews speak of the product yellowing with age.
Unfortunately, manufacturers aren’t always honest about this kind of thing. Many of them will claim that theirs is a “non-yellowing formula,” even when it isn’t. Of course, the consensus of the reviewers will always tell the tale. Even if the company pays for positive reviews (which does unfortunately happen), you can still look at the points on which the majority of reviewers agree.
Of course, yellowing may not actually be an issue for you. If you are using your epoxy resin for some kind of repair, it may not be visible once dried and cured anyway. So, if you are dealing with a project for which appearance is a non-issue, then you don’t have to worry about this.
While the protections of an epoxy resin get plenty of headlines, the fact remains that few of epoxy resins are out and out weak or fragile. The overwhelming majority of epoxy resins will still provide adequate protection from impacts and other superficial kinds of damage.
Instead, the main protections you look for involve other types of damage that can be either incurable or even lead to ruining the workpiece in the first place. Outside of the general physical protections, the most important ones to look for are protections from the elements. In this instance, the two main potential problems lay with the sun’s UV radiation and water seeping through the resin to the surface material below.
Epoxies, like most other plasticized substances, do a naturally good job of repelling water. None of them are particularly vulnerable, but they aren’t necessarily waterproof either. Most of them are just “water-resistant,” which is a relative term. Many people have been dismayed to see that a glass of water can leave a permanent ring on their nice shiny finish.
Of course, this is not an issue for everyone. If you aren’t planning to let the surface be exposed to moisture, you don’t need to worry about this. However, if you do need something waterproof, make sure that the label specifically says that.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause epoxide substances to break down over time. Admittedly, it can take a very long time, but you want something that will last for years to come. This subject relates to the problem of yellowing somewhat because UV radiation will cause a clear epoxy resin to become yellowed and cloudy over time. However, that is the least of your worries. In this case, the yellowing occurs because the adhesive is breaking down at the molecular level. It might take quite a while to reach a point of catastrophic failure, but it is nonetheless compromised.
There are actually some resins that can only cure under UV light. These are specialty products, but some people prefer them because of their long working times. In fact, you can delay the drying/curing of these resins for as long as you want. Until you stick them under a UV light source, they will remain tacky. That gives you plenty of time to work out the bubbles, smooth out any rough spots, or add any decorations (like dye, glitter, stones, or embedded objects). Not only that, but you can definitely be sure that those products won’t degrade in the sun.
Many epoxy resins are advertised as “self-leveling,” but they don’t always explain what that means. It means that the chemical structure of the product lends itself to a level surface. In other words, it tends to create a level surface without any effort from you. Much like the surface of a glass of water, all you have to do is leave it alone.
Of course, it rarely works out this nicely in reality. Self-leveling epoxy will still require some brushstrokes in order to spread it evenly around the surface. However, most users do agree that it helps you to create a smoother and shinier finish with less brushing. This feature isn’t a must-have, but it’s definitely preferred for most projects.
Remember, if an epoxy manufacturer advertises both a self-leveling formula and a quick curing time, it might not be able to do both well or at the same time. As such, if you need an epoxy resin to help fill in planar imperfections, you need to choose a slower curing formula.
This is likely one of the most frustrating issues that you can deal with primarily because it does not really appear until after the resin is already well into the curing process. Basically, an epoxy resin blushing creates a waxy bi-product that sits on the surface of the finish.
Aside from the fact that blushing mars the finish, it also prevents an issue for any other application thereafter–whether you are applying another layer of epoxy or some other type of finishing product. While some epoxy resins actually provide some protection against this effect, the fact remains that the better way to prevent blushing is to keep the workspace as dry as possible–including with a dehumidifier if needed.
Bubbles love to appear in the cracks. They can come from a number of different places, both inside the formula and out, but the fact remains that it completely ruins the finish of an epoxy resin. That said, the difference between bubbles coming from within and bubbles occurring on the exterior determines how you should tackle this problem.
If the bubbles are seeping into the epoxy from outside, you should make it a point to apply the epoxy in a warmer place with little to no humidity. On the flip side, if the bubbles come from within the surface material, you will need to apply a hot gun to help get them out. Yes, a blowtorch is surely going to be your good friend.
Similar to a blush, this effect will have a bigger impact on those formulas that cure more quickly than others. That said, this is generally considered an easier problem to overcome since, in the end, a hot gun will ultimately solve the problem either way.
The application is actually one of the most important considerations for an epoxy resin, especially if you are not an experienced user. That said, even for those who regularly use epoxy resins have a tendency to prefer products that are easier to apply.
This is because an epoxy resin that is difficult to apply increases the likelihood that the resin will not cure properly. Most of the time, difficulties with the application process involves how the resin cures while it is being applied. The most common issues with the application are either the development of bubbles or a condition called blushing.
Finally, we come to the subject of coverage. A lot of products will offer “superior coverage,” which essentially means that you get more for your money. When a smaller amount of epoxy covers a wider surface area, that is bound to save you money. Epoxy resins aren’t exactly the cheapest materials in the world, so a little bit of cost savings is very helpful.
Unfortunately, most of these claims are hype. On the subject of coverage, there isn’t really much difference between most epoxy products. That being said, if you find something that covers more than 12 square feet per gallon, it’s probably a good deal.
What Is Epoxy?
By this point, you might be wondering: What is epoxy, anyway? Is it made from a natural source, or is it a chemical product? Well, as far as we can tell, it is a chemical product made from natural sources. There are many epoxide substances, but not all of them are used for making adhesives. The term “epoxide” refers to a certain class of chemicals that share a similar molecular structure.
Most of the epoxy resins that you will see on the store shelves are produced through a mixture of Epichlorohydrin and Bisphenol-A (BPA). Epichlorohydrin is an epoxide liquid that is produced through a mixture of allyl chloride and hypochlorous acid. As you can see, chlorine is the only common factor that ties all of these substances together. BPA is a precursor of many plastics and is commonly used to make plastic water bottles (among other things).
When the Epichlorohydrin is reacted with BPA, it produces a basic and functional mixture. Manufacturers will then add all sorts of special ingredients/adhesives to give the product distinctive properties. These little touches are what separate one product from another, and that is why most epoxies do not differ all that much from one another. This explanation might be a little too scientific for some, but at least you will never again have to ask yourself: What is epoxy?
Of course, an epoxide does not become a good adhesive until it has been mixed with the hardener. When it comes to hardeners, things are not so simple. Amines and acids would probably be the most common things, but many different reagents can be used to achieve this same effect. In general, different hardeners are used to tweak the drying times and curing times of each individual product.
Frequently Asked Questions
When used properly, the simple answer is no. However, like most other things in this world, epoxy could be harmful if used improperly. For one thing, it often gives off some harsh fumes as it dries. These fumes are the volatile chemicals in which the epoxy is suspended, so you don’t want to breathe them. Not only that, but you don’t want to get this stuff on your hands. It is very hard to remove, so you should wash your hands with a solvent solution quickly.
Finally, we should mention the fact that epoxy produces heat. When its two components are mixed, a chemical reaction occurs, and this reaction is exothermic. That’s a fancy way of saying that heat is produced as a by-product of the reaction. So, you need to make sure you don’t mix them in a cup made of paper or thin plastic. They could even catch fire in some cases, so make sure you use a mixing container that can handle the heat.
Epoxy resins do tend to be very water-resistant, even if they aren’t all completely waterproof. However, even the weaker ones can make a good wood sealer. You will have to use more coats, of course, but you should be able to get the same level of protection.
If you choose to use it in this way, make sure to allow plenty of time in between coats. That way, the epoxy has more time to seep into the pores of the wood. Thinner epoxies will probably be your best bet here, just because they will have an easier time seeping into those small pores.
Yes, you can certainly use multiple layers of epoxy for most projects. In fact, some people prefer to do it this way. If you are using a product that is a little thinner, you may be forced to do things this way. In particular, it is a good idea to do thin coats when working on a vertical surface. Thick coats will tend to run, so a large number of thin coats is your only real option.
Of course, there are certain things to remember when using an epoxy product in this way. First of all, you need to make sure that you wait for the full curing time with each layer. There is a difference between drying time and curing time, so make sure you understand that. Even when that epoxy seems to be hardened, you must not apply the next layer until the entire curing time has elapsed. You may also have to apply the heat gun on each layer to avoid bubbling.
When you think about the strength of epoxy, it’s almost hard to believe that the sun can damage an epoxy resin finish. As with many yellowing issues, the culprit is the sun. Specifically, yellowing of epoxy is caused by UV rays which break down the fibers in the epoxy and cause the whole thing to take on a dull yellow hue.
Thankfully, many manufacturers have added UV stabilizers to their epoxy resins. UV stabilizers will prevent yellowing, but not forever. In the end, a UV stabilizer just delays the inevitable. However, there is another additive called HALS (Hindered Amine Light Stabilizer) which is far more effective over the long haul. This stuff prevents yellowing before it starts and has performed very well in tests and experiments.
Not only does epoxy resin bond to wood, but it bonds very strongly. It creates a near-permanent bond that will be very hard to break. However, I would caution you to make sure that the surface of your wood is fully prepared before adding the epoxy.
A dirty surface is one of the main things that can prevent proper adhesion. You will also have better luck if you avoid mixing different brands of epoxy. While two different kinds of epoxy can bond to one another, you will get better results by keeping it homogenous.
This might surprise you, but epoxy resin is not suitable for outdoor use under normal circumstances. We already talked about how the sun’s UV rays will cause yellowing in most epoxy products. If the epoxy is left in the sun for a long time, even harsher problems can occur. As it yellows, the epoxy will turn brittle and eventually begin to peel away.
That’s why you should always go with a UV-resistant product when using epoxy resin outdoors. This stuff doesn’t tend to be cheap, so it makes no sense to waste your money on something that will not last. Look for products with UV stabilizers and HALS, as these are the best solutions. Some manufacturers will add dyes to their epoxy in an attempt to reduce light penetration and thus reduce light degradation. However, most people prefer to use clear epoxy, so this isn’t a great solution.
Yes, epoxy resin can be used to make wood waterproof. In fact, that’s one of its main purposes. While many people like to use this resin for more artistic purposes, it can be used much like a wood sealer. You just paint it over the surface and allow it to dry.
If you should want to remove epoxy from a given area, it will probably be a difficult task. This stuff isn’t really meant to be removed, but it can still be done. You will definitely need a scraper, and you will definitely need to repaint any painted surfaces when you are done. As for solvents, acetone will usually do the job. Just wet the surface of the epoxy mass and give it about an hour to soften and dry.
After that, you can use a heat gun or propane torch to heat the epoxy until it turns into a goopy gel-like substance. At that point, you can just scrape it off. One little safety tip: Remember that acetone is highly flammable. Make sure that it’s all gone before you apply the torch. The good news is that acetone also evaporates quickly, so it shouldn’t take that long.
The answer to this question is not a simple one. While the dry epoxy resin is not considered to be an environmental hazard, it would be a little bit of a stretch to call this an eco-friendly product. As we have already seen, many manufacturers will advertise their epoxy resin as being completely harmless. However, you have to read the fine print here. Epoxy resin is safe once it has dried and cured, but presents a few hazards before that.
The problem lies in the fact that epoxy requires the activation of certain chemicals, and these chemicals aren’t always the gentle kind. Thus, there is no way to completely avoid harsh fumes. That being said, some products are far more toxic than others, so I recommend that you check the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for your product just to be on the safe side.
For the most part, epoxy resin will resist scratching, scuffing, and other minor damage. Because it is basically just a very strong glue, any kind of epoxy will dry to a hard and durable finish. However, your results will depend partly on the thickness of the epoxy layer. The thicker the layer, the harder it will be to scratch the wood.
For instance, some wooden floors are coated with epoxy for extra longevity. All of these floors have a 2mm layer of epoxy, and anything less is not considered to be a true epoxy floor. Thus, you may need to use more of the stuff in order to get a truly durable result.
If you’ve seen this term on an epoxy label, it’s just an industry term. It indicates the total working time from the moment you mix it until the moment it becomes unusable. A lot of things can affect pot life (like temperature, the exact formula of the product, and quantity), so you can’t always trust these values. Still, it will give you a general idea of how much time you will have.
Sometimes, you will see epoxy products that are labeled as “casting resin”. If this seems confusing, you should know that these are just two different types of the same thing. Casting resins are special-purpose epoxies that are meant for easier pouring and casting.
The main difference between these two types of products will mainly come from their viscosity. Casting resins are a lot thinner, which is good when you are doing a deep pour. This also leads to a longer curing time, but that is what you want for filling those large cavities. This slower curing time gives air bubbles more time to rise to the surface, leading to a crystal-clear result.
We have attempted to give you the most in-depth article on the web, and we hope that we have succeeded in doing so. We want all of our readers to be informed enough to make smart decisions, and this article should help you to do that.
In the end, most of these epoxy resins will actually provide a fairly similar finish and will do so at around the same price. With this in mind, I recommend the Pro Marine Supplies as our Editor’s Choice for one primary reason: coverage.
Of course, there are still some solid budget options on the market, and for our money, the SRC Crystal Clear epoxy resin offers a nice solution on a budget.
While it will not provide the hardest finish for a heavy-duty workpiece, it does offer one of the quicker total curing times while still giving you an extra bit of time for the early stages. Ultimately, this is a bit easier of a product to use for beginners, though you do still have to work quickly.
In case you have a question we didn’t cover in this article, send it over and we’ll answer it quickly.
In addition, our Q&A page covers our users’ questions on epoxy resins as well, you might find the answer you looked for in one of those questions.
I have a 1996 28′ Albin TE with rot and termite damage in the core wood. It would be impossible to remove the damaged wood stringers. I would like to find a method to impregnate the stringers with epoxy via injection and or pressure. Please advise.
Hi, Jay. Now that’s a sweet-looking boat.
Penetrating epoxy is commonly used for exactly the purpose you state. It is a two-pot mix designed to be sucked into the microscopic pores of the wood; therefore, pressure is not required. It’s not a gap filler, so if you have large chunks missing, use an epoxy designed for that purpose.
You must get the wood as dry as possible, and if you can access the area, remove loose and flaking timber. If the wood is encased, the method will still work. Drilling holes to take the syringe, spaced along the length of the wood, ensures the epoxy penetrates.
Take a look at the Rot Doctor product (although there are many). Go to their website as they provide the syringes you’ll need, with a choice of different size needles. There’s also a useful info sheet you can find here
I’d also look at a few boat forums, as the techniques are well-known, and you shouldn’t have trouble finding a few people who have used it and can give you their thoughts.
Can pro marine epoxy be applied to wood treated with Danish Oil (polymerized linseed oil)?
Also for doing a really big table can it be done in one half at a time without getting a noticeable seem?
Yes, you can apply epoxy over Danish Oil, but I always prep it well first to be sure I don’t get cratering in the epoxy. Be sure the oil has hardened off completely for a few days, then clean the surface well using denatured alcohol like this one.
Be sure to use rubber gloves to avoid putting oils from your skin on the surface. Seal the surface with a light coating of 100% dewaxed shellac.
Then 24-hours later, apply your epoxy. People sometimes get lucky applying epoxy directly over Danish Oil, but I never have – this system works best for me.
You can make a tabletop in two halves and hide the seam. You’ll need accurate edge preparation, then glue and clamp to get an even squeeze out along the joint.
Finally, plane and sand the top, ending with very fine grit sandpaper – say 220 – 240 grit. If you then plan to polyurethane the surface, that also helps hide the join. Good luck.
Towards the end of this article it is stated.
“Casting resins are a lot thicker, which is good when you are doing a deep pour”
But it has been my experience that casting resins are alot thinner.
I have corrected the article, there was a slight mistake. Yes, casting resins are thinner.
They are thinner by design to make it easier for the resin to get deep into small details and also to helps paint mix with it quickly.
Good article, thanks. I am thinking of using epoxy to fill large knot holes and cracks in an old barn wood oak table top. I would like to sand the surface back down to flat wood except for the filled areas. This will leave the epoxy “cloudy”. If I coat with oil based poly, linseed oil, mineral spirit mix will it regain it’s gloss and will the epoxy be OK with this?
Hello John, no, the cloudiness of epoxy will not go away by coating it.
To make epoxy glossy again you will need to polish it using high grit sandpaper. You can use a sandpaper like this one.
Use low grit and gradually go up until the desired effect is achieved.
I intend to make a river table using epoxy resin. I would need about 2 gallons. could you tell be how much hardener I would need, the mixing ratio and coloring. I may be would like to use some blue coloring. Could you let me know how much this would cost. Delivery charge would apply as I live in Port Macquarie
Generally, for the epoxy used in these types of projects, the ratio of hardener to the resin would be 1:1.
According to your estimate, you will need 1 gallon of resin and 1 gallon of hardener, I am guessing that you will be using powdered coloring, mix the desired color with epoxy in a separate container, use an equal part of hardener to resin from 2 gallons for the colored part.
You can use this product by Pro Marine, if you are unsure of what product to use. You will be able to find the delivery charge and exact cost at the checkout page.
I am in the process of building a bar top that will be made out of oak veneered plywood. I want to stain the surface, apply various vinyl stickers, then epoxy over the top. This will be installed near the edge of a covered deck that will get a bit of sun light (although not more that maybe 4 hrs/day). I am at a loss which product to purchase and would like any recommendations. I have done much reading and your site is by far the best. I am concerned about applying over stained wood. I will build top in my heated garage and apply the resin there and then install completed top on the deck railing area. Should I apply polyurethane over the stained wood and stickers prior to applying epoxy? Should I apply UV inhibited polyurethane over cured epoxy? These are just a few questions. Any and all help, information, direction and recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
Hello Doug, yes, you can apply epoxy over stained wood which is fully cured.
Make sure that no residue of oil can be observed on the surface as it can introduce fish eyes and even make epoxy peel off from the surface.
Let your surface dry for at least a week. I do not recommend using Epoxy over polyurethane as epoxy can cause polyurethane to soften and epoxy does not stick well with polyurethane.
For the finish, you can youse spar varnish over epoxy as it provides overall protection to your surface.
Here are my product recommendations for you: Epoxy Resins and Polyurethane varnish.
im looking for a finishing product for a shuffleboard.
what would you recommend?
Hello, my recommendation for shuffleboard would be a Polyurethane finish.
It is the most popular coating for shuffleboard tables. It is scratch-resistant and flexible which helps with impact absorption. It lasts several years before refinishing is required.
You can use this product by Minwax for your coating.
Can it be applied to a rocking chair with a brush?
Hi John, interesting question.
Everything is possible as long as it is worth the effort. The difficulties you will have are mostly related to the short time to work with epoxy resin.
In order to be successful, I advise you to mix small amounts of epoxy resin and divide the application work into at least 2-3 parts (for example, seat, back, and armrests) so you will have enough time to apply a smaller area.
Once the resin starts to harden (traces of the brush will remain and small lumps will appear) it is better to stop applying, leave the hardened resin, and make a new one. Otherwise, you may have an unpleasant result.
You may also need to discard the brush after one application.
The short answer is “YES” can be applied but under conditions.
Another option to have a permanent coating with a glossy finish is to apply varnish. this article may be useful to you.
I am trying to understand. so my question is can the Pro marine product yet still be used to make DIY home crafts or it is specifically used for wood only?
For DIY projects you can use the adapted resin by ProMarine:
The ordinary one will also work for you, but there will be some disadvantages such as easier yellowing (this is not particularly noticeable with wood), more difficult work.
It depends on how perfect the final product should be.
I collected agates from the lake we lived on growing up, and I would like to create a table top with them using epoxy. I know nothing about how to do this, but it’s clear you do! Are there people who do this and how do I find them? I would be too afraid I would ruin it if I tried.
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend a person to make you an epoxy countertop :(.
I’m sure there is such a person. You can search for a group on Facebook for epoxy countertops, there are many people who make such countertops and they can help you. You can choose a person who lives near you and does great things.
If you still decide to make the countertop yourself and you want to be sure that you will not ruin everything, I advise you to start with a smaller project such as coasters or just resin decoration.
In this way, you will feel how to work with the resin and you will gain valuable experience for the big project. Strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions, there are many videos on YouTube about how to work with the resin. If you have time to spend on the project you will get a very good result and you will proudly look at your desk every time.
I am suprised iCoat epoxy is not on your list as several of the listings actually use their blend white labelled. They were featured on the show Tanked, that is where I heard about them. I have used it for craft projects and with wood and it is by far the best I have tried. I used a lot of their colors also and the service from them is pretty great.
Thanks for sharing your experience, this is valuable knowledge!
There are too many products and they all have qualities, it’s just hard to cover them all – I’ll make sure to add it to the page in upcoming days.
I am working on a river table with rocks and 3d painted fish. The slab I cut with a chainsaw was very thick and 2 gallons of New classic epoxy resin was kind of enough but I am thinking to add my leftover Pro Marine epoxy to level it with the wood. Is it a good idea to add different brand of epoxy in one project (this would be my top layer)?
The easy answer is: it’s not a good idea to mix different brands of resins and avoid it when you can. The different brands have their own resin formulas and it is possible to see the boundary between the two resins. For example, if one resin has a yellowish tinge and the other does not.
If you still want to get rid of your leftovers, you can do a small test on another part or a small area. If both resins are, for example, water-based, they must adhere well to each other and the result must be good. Assess how accurate your project is and it is important that it is absolutely perfect.
I’m going to redo my outdoor wood railing at our cabin. It’s only 3-4 years old. The contractors originally applied an outdoor stain. After less than a year the Wood started to crack and look bad so I took railing down and washed it with lye and then oxalic Acid (dangerous project) then coated with total boat epoxy and helmsman spar Polyurethane. Epic fail. Didn’t last a year either. So now I’m just going to sand the flaking remains off and apply polyurea Rustoleum fastkote UV clear 277499. I used this rustoleum fastkote on my 32 foot gooseneck Oak board trailer deck (It was the UV grey color and mixed with sand for traction) and it rained about 10 minutes after my application. A little of the coating splashed onto the sides of the trailer and was impossible to clean off. But that was over 2 years ago and finish on the wood is still perfect (the part that splashed also remains on the painted surfaces) Any thoughts on Rustoleum Fastkote or other polyurea coatings for outdoor wood?
Hi Jim, I read your story and my thoughts are: if one thing does not happen the first time it happens from the third. Maybe this is a good sign for you 🙂
Rust-Oleum Fastkote is a really strong coating that withstands harsh conditions. I haven’t used it that way and I can’t give you advice from experience.
Honestly, in your place, I would consider this option.
I have two concerns about your project:
– Rust-Oleum Fastkote is intended for concrete floor of a garage, ie. fixed surface. The polyurea coating is hard and can crack and peel off when twisting and bending the base.
– It is not intended for permanent sun exposure, it will certainly change color when exposed to the sun
If you have leftovers, test Rust-Oleum Fastkote on a small area and see how it works.
Great review. Looking for an epoxy with a matte finish. Have an old oak table to cover. Don’t want gloss. What do you recommend?
I can’t think of any matte epoxy resin.
It’s semi-glossy but it’s for garage floors and I’m not sure it will work well in your case. Matte resin will be a rare product that may be too expensive or not work well.
Usually with epoxy resin are poured decorative countertops that aim to stand out and the gloss is just for that.
In addition, the glossy surface can be sanded and polished, for example, if you have unwanted drops from the casting, you can remove them and have an even gloss again. With the matte finish, whatever you apply, you can’t fix it.
If you want to have resin on your table, you can apply resin, then sand with fine sandpaper, and then apply matte varnish, so the finish will be matte.
If you choose this option, know that the resin and varnish must bond well.
Or you can use matte varnish without resin.
For great strength and durability, you can use polyurethane floor varnish.
Check out Stone Coat Countertops. He has a matte finish top coat. And many instructional videos.
Hi Cheryl, thank you for sharing your experience with us 🙂
It’s always good to have more videos on how to work with a product.
There are many products on the market and it is difficult to test them all, but here, another one stood out.
Hi William, I hope you can help,
I’ve built a couple cornhole sets with really cool resin art decks with Pro-Marine. Since they are inherently outdoor pieces, I’d like to enhance their yellowing resistance. First time I’ve used epoxy in this application and am worried they won’t hold up.
I’ve tried polyurethane on cornhole sets before, but it makes the action too slick. I’ve had better luck with polycrylic in terms of slickness. Surpisingly, given it’s glassy smoothness, the epoxy seems to have just the right “bite” in terms of slide. Three questions.
1 – If I lightly sand the epoxy decks and apply polycrylic on top, will the clarity of the decks be compromised, or will it go back to clear? Right now, they’re perfect and I’d be crushed if I ruined them.
2 – Would the polycrylic even provide yellowing resistance?
3 – Finally, when epoxy yellows from UV damage, is it just at the surface or does it penetrate the entire depth of the top coat? If all it would take to restore them is a light sanding and polish, a second material might not be necessary.
I do a lot of resin art, and have always used Pro-Marine due to price. Your review was helpful in identifying some resins with longer open times, which is a plus in my case. Thanks for the thought you put into this.
Congratulations on your work; sounds very interesting and fun.
The resin I use has adequate UV protection but is not entirely suitable for constant sun exposure. This means that over time it will turn slightly yellow (sometimes this is almost invisible); yellowing is manifested mostly in white paint and light colors. If you cover the corn holes (for example, with tarpaulin) when not in use, you will not have a problem with yellowing for a long time.
Exterior polyurethane is a good option (polyurethane has a slight tendency to yellowing, but when it is UV protected, it is tiny). For more roughness of the finish, you can use undiluted varnish (thicker) and the coating before the varnish is not too smooth.
As for Polycryl, it is mainly used for interiors, and I’m not sure it will work for you in this case. It’s also water-based, and I’m not sure it will adhere well to the resin.
1. Polyacrylic does not give yellowing; it is generally crystalline but tends to provide gray colors a cold undertone.
2. For the interior, it will prevent yellowing, but for the exterior, I have doubts.
3. Yellowing will penetrate deeply, and polishing does not have much effect.
You can use exterior varnish for furniture and yachts.
They are resistant to external conditions. Keep in mind that some will not adhere well to the resin and others have a yellowish tinge.
This polish, for example, is a good option – it does not turn yellow and does not give a yellowish tinge, but it should not get too wet.
hi, I need one with the longest work time possible. I’m new too this and tend to touch it more than I should and with most setting up so fast I ruin many projects. I use for pouring on countertops, well learning how anyways. ill use a quick cure for a final flood coat, but need one with long work time prior to final flood please can you help me? thank you
in the period of self-learning and self-improvement, it is normal to take more time. Few tips:
I want to learn about Epoxy Resin art work with wood. May I know the which type or specifically name of resin to be used for art work with wood. Any Technical Data Sheet ?
Tutorial material available to use ? I am located in UAE.
This epoxy resin by Zdsticky or Dr. Crafty is good to use with wood or anything at your local hardware store will work. Everything you need should be in the kit and all the instructions too on how to do it. I would suggest watching a video on it too.
Is it ok to seal the wood and epoxy resin with polyurethane…or just the wood and avoid the epoxy.
Yes, it is ok to seal both the wood and epoxy with polyurethane. Polyurethane on epoxy actually helps it outlast.
William, I was not very clear on my comment, I was referring to best dyes/colorants to use in the pro-marine resin itself, also, have you ever used any phosphorescent/glow-in-the-dark colorants in the epoxy? How does that turn out? Recommendations?
Some good liquid dyes to use are Let’s Resin and Limino. A good powder dye to use is Mica Powder by DecorRom. I haven’t personally tried to use glow in the dark colorants in epoxy before but I have seen other people do it and it came out pretty cool. Some good glow in the dark dyes/powders are Art ‘N Glow and HXDZFX.
Great, informative review! I have never tried an epoxy resin project, but would like too!! This article really helped and answered a bunch of questions, thank you. Now, when are you going to do an article on the best dyes to use?? Or have you already!
Hey Christopher, love the feedback – of course we have an article on both interior and exterior recommended stains to dye your wood. Check them out and for any comment you may have we’re here for you.
Hi William, I am looking to redo the Wood on my bay window. My 2 labs love to jump up in the window and have it all scratched up. If I repaint it white and then epoxy do you think it would hold up ?
For that purpose, I’d rather use some clear polyurethane, for example, General Finishes.
I have a nice live-edge slab of black walnut and am thinking of making a river table. Will ProMarine work for deep, single pours (about 1.5-inches), or do you need to do successive layers of smaller pours?
I don’t think any of the epoxies will work for 1.5 inches. Better do smaller pours for better results.
Hi Alex: I have a cookie slab that I’m going to use as a coffee table. I’m ready to begin the epoxy process, although I keep hesitating because I’m so worried about messing it up. I have a large split that I need to fill. I’ve watched several videos and it seems to be done many different ways. The way I’m leaning toward is taping the top and filling from the back. Have you ever done this. This video stated that the bubbles would actually rise to the top (which in theory would be the bottom) and when you removed the tape you should not have bubbles. Also, do a seal coat first before doing the flood coat? I’ve seen videos showing both ways. Thank you for any info you can provide.
I would recommend sealing just to make sure there won’t be any bubbles later on. The way of filling you described seems strange to me. Why not to fill the crack as it is, namely when the slab is its original position. You pour a layer, remove bubbles with a heat gun and repeat.
Out of all of these brands which one is certified food safe by the FDA?
I can say that Pro Marine and SRC are definitely FDA compliant.
Hello William, great article. For the #10 option you provided you stated “Not certified as safe for food by the FDA” as a con. Can you tell me which one of these resins is certified by the FDA as safe for food?
Pro Marine(#1), SRC(#3) and Countertop EPOXY(#8) are certified by the FDA as food safe for sure.
Thanks for the great reviews of the top 10 epoxies, very thorough and detailed writeups. I have one question for you; a lot of the woodworking stores/websites recommend the West Systems epoxies. Do you have any experience with their products or know how they compare to your top 10 list? I’m at the finishing stage for a black walnut slab table and am trying to select the best epoxy finish to use.
I haven’t used West Systems, but I know that it’s kind of filler/adhesive rather than classic epoxy resin.
Great article and follow-on advice, so thank you.
I’m wondering if you can give some thoughts on bonding strength. I’m working to build a live edge sliding barn door to use on my pantry. I’ll be using two large pieces of ash with much of the center being filled in with colored epoxy. So I need the epoxy to have a strong lasting bond.
Will applying a sealant first affect the bond strength? Should I be concerned with the hardness of the expoxy or any flexibility of it? Since the door will be used continuously and get jolted a lot I want to make sure I consider this.
Regarding bond strength, it doesn’t really matter whether the wood is sealed or not. Fully cured epoxy is hard and creates a strong bond. I never used the epoxy for moving parts before but I think I will work.
I made a round table with 3 pieces sliced from olive trees. I did sand 80 sand-2000 sand. I made cake and polish.
I didn’t get the transparency and brightness I wanted.
After applying teak and tunk oil in the videos, the epoxy table glows and becomes transparent.
what advice do you give.
Bursa / Turkey
Did you pour the epoxy or?
Sorry, I don’t get what advice you want to get. Please clarify 🙂
I want to fill some large knot holes and bark inclusions in a live-edge black walnut slab table up to flush with the rest of the top. I don’t want to coat the whole table top with epoxy. The depth of the holes and inclusions varies from shallow to an inch deep. I understand I should seal them first before applying epoxy, but after sealing, how do I apply the epoxy — one coat or a series of layers? Is there a particular brand epoxy that would be best for this?
After the holes are filled and fully hardened, can I sand the epoxy at the same time as I sand the whole table top? I want to maintain the transparency so the holes will be visible. I plan to finish the entire table with satin polyurethane varnish; will the epoxy take the varnish the same way the wood does?
Thanks very much.
Sorry for the late reply.
The max level per pouring is 1/8 inch, this is optimal for leveling. So if for example, you need to pour 1/4 inch, then you need to do 2 pourings, pour next level only after previous is hardened. All epoxy brands do its best when poured 1/8 inch per level.
Yes, you may sand the epoxy as you sand the whole table. Poly varnish should work, make sure that you sand the epoxy before applying.
This is a great read for a first timer, and everybody else of course.
I salvaged a worm riddled half cedar log (one side still rounded from how the tree grows the other side eaten down to the middle of the log by worms) today. Beautiful holes, some quite deep and big and loads of them, that I’m looking to save by pouring clear epoxy over. Is that even possible? Reading all the bubble hunting scenarios, I have come to doubt it. I don’t think there is a way for me to seal all exposed wood, into all those holes. Would you have an idea how to approach this?
Also, how much moisture is the wood allowed before using epoxy? Or maybe it doesn’t matter when the other half stays unfinished?
The more reading, the more questions.
Sorry for the late response.
Interesting case. I think it’s very tricky to seal all of the holes since there maybe be some holes that you can’t see that may contain air which may cause huge bubbles during pouring epoxy. You may try pouring sealer into the holes then drain excess sealer so that sides of the holes are sealed. But as I said above, there may be holes that are hard to seal.
Part of the wood on which you’re going to pour the epoxy should be dry.
I’m looking for an epoxy for a walnut slab that can withstand freezing cold. I live in Minnesota and want to fill in all the holes for bench and table. Any ideas of the best product to use? Thanks appreciate any ideas.
Do you want to keep them outside in winter or you just want to do the pouring and keep them indoors? I don’t know a particular epoxy that can withstand cold better than other epoxies.
Anyway, all epoxies on the list require 75-80 degrees to work properly during pouring, so in your case, there is no outstanding product. You may use space heater if it’s too cold in the room. Furthermore, you may warm up the epoxy placing it in a warm water bath.
This site has answered many of my questions. Thank you so much for your insight!
I’m leaning towards Pro Marine for a river table but I’m concerned about toxic levels and odor. I’ve use East Coast on my larger art mixed media resin projects….I do wear a respirator, and have proper ventilation, but the odor lingers for a very long time. Any recommendations on a product that will give me a good result with less toxicity?
I don’t see any problem with Pro Marine, it’s a low odor epoxy. But if you’re very concerned about smell there is East Coast Epoxy which is great and odorless epoxy.
I’m insetting a few coins into the wood piece that will have a river of epoxy. In your experience is any one product better then that other? And do you foresee more bubbles because of surface, material of heat differences between wood and metals in the same project?
I don’t really get what you mean by ‘better product’, sorry.
It may be a few bubbles. Just pour as much epoxy as needed to cover the coins. Then you will be able to easily get rid of any appearing bubbles with a heatgun. When all bubbles are gone pour the next level of epoxy.
Can anyone rate or review the glasscast 50 epoxy resin please !! I thought it’s a real good quality resin but it’s not even listed here of the best 10.
I’ve been working a lot for a couple of months. Hope I will review more products soon.
As a follow up on my question on allowing a sealer to fully dry or not before the epoxy coats are applied, would Thompson’s Water Seal, Signature Series clear sealer be an appropriate choice if using the pro marine epoxy resin on a walnut slab?
Sorry for the late reply.
Let the sealer dry completely, it’s okay. What about which sealer to use, I would recommend Agra-Life. You see, Thompson is a great sealer but it’s designed for exterior wood like decks, fences etc. Agra Life is more versatile, can be used both for interior and exterior projects, it’s great for epoxy projects.
William great article. You have given me some things to consider when i do my River Table Bar. I have one question. when using a color mix in the epoxy and doing several lifts, do you use color in every pour or just one? If its just one where should i use it ? first pour, middle or last? Im going to router out the river in a 18′ wide gluelam made out of 2×6 material. It will be 92″ long with a 4′ leg on one end.
Thank you for your time
Every pour has to be colored, just make sure that you add the same amount of dye to each pour.
wow, have learned a lot. If i understand this correctly, I sanded and restained a wooden table, so now I have to seal it before I cover with epoxy resin? actually the center, which is about 1/8″ thick is covered with pennies and the framing around that is the stained wood.
hope this makes sense. it originally had white tile squares, i chipped them out and glue pennies in place of the tiles. looks great, so far. thanks for any help. Sandy
Glad to see you here, Sandra.
Yep, better to seal the wood since we don’t want the stain to penetrate into the epoxy. Also, you will avoid appearing of tiny bubbles coming from wood pores by doing so.
Thanks for the great article and responses to everyone’s questions! I am working on a live edge slab table that was cut near the outside of the tree and is very irregular on “bark” side. On the serving side of the table, it is completely level except for one area on the “leg” of the tree that has a1/4 inch shallow deficit. If I plane the table down a 1/4 inch, I lose a great deal of the surface area of the table so I am planning on an epoxy pour to level this out. I have used Eco-poxy so far to fill deficits and areas where I removed bark. It has a long set time (3 days) but I can pour a greater depth at once. My question is really with finishing –
1. Do you think I would need to then epoxy the entire surface for consistency?
2. Could I finish the wood with poly-urethane or would that give strange results?
3. Would you recommend a different epoxy for this “leveling lake” that I will need to create?
Nice to see you here, Laura.
1) It isn’t necessary. You may do so if you think your whole table covered with epoxy will be looking better. It’s just a matter of ‘appearance’.
2) Yes, you could if you want an additional level of protection but the result will be less glossy compared to the epoxy used solely.
3) I don’t see any problem with using Ecopoxy for that. If you hesitate use Pro Marine Supplies instead.
Hope this helps.
Thanks a lot for the reply. Sorry I should have mentioned that i was going to finish the table top with epoxy as well.
To state it clearly, I want to fill the bigger splits, empty spaces with epoxy, by pouring it up to the level. I want to finish the top with epoxy. I hope that gives more context for my previous question.
I have been doing a lot more research about this issue and found that I do need to seal the entire surface of wood, for my application. Your article helped a LOT.
The overwhelming question I have now is what kinds of epoxies should I buy.
To fill the checking and minor defects, I wanted to use West Systems 105 resin and 206 fast hardener. I bought the combination from amazon.
For casting, I was going to use Pro Marine Supplies two part epoxy.
What should i use for sealing the wood?
What should I use for finishing the table top?
Should I buy different epoxies for filling, casting, sealing and finishing, or is there a product out there for all applications. (heard something called GlassCast 50, that can be used for filling, casting and sealing. But it looks like it is from UK)
Though this is not a deal breaker, i also wanted to know if there a product that lets me pour a thicker layer than 1/8th of an inch. I am a little rushing for time. I might not have time for 16 pours needed to come to a height of 2 Inches, 8 hours apart. I would really appreciate any help regarding these ridiculous number of questions.
Many, many thanks for your time.
For sealing, you may use Agra-Life
For finishing, the best option for you is clear spar varnish (exterior varnish). It’s specially designed to deal with harsh weather conditions, moisture etc. Initially, spar varnishes were used to protect sailing ships but now they’re used to finish all types of exterior wood.
I’ve never met an epoxy able to do all things: sealing, casting and finishing. For filling and casting you can use the same epoxy.
All epoxies on the list do its best when poured 1/8 inch thick. I wouldn’t recommend pouring thicker levels.
For sealing, you may use Agra-Life
For finishing, the best option for you is clear spar varnish (exterior varnish). It’s specially designed to deal with harsh weather conditions, moisture etc. Initially, spar varnishes were used to protect sailing ships but now they’re used to finish all types of exterior wood.
I’ve never met an epoxy able to do all things: sealing, casting and finishing. For filling and casting you can use the same epoxy.
All epoxies on the list do its best when poured 1/8 inch thick. I wouldn’t recommend pouring thicker levels.
Thanks for taking the time to compare. Being a DIY’er and selling some of my pieces I’ve shopped around for the biggest bang at an affordable price so to speak. I completed a large river table for a customer and used SRC. Because it was 2 inches thick I had to make several pours. I have looked at Stone Coat Counter Tops product’s and liked their reviews. Have you looked at their epoxy and casting resins?
I heard about this brand but haven’t used yet. A friend of mine did a couple of projects using this epoxy, they looked nice, can’t say anything negative. Think I may try this brand out later. I would be glad to get feedback from you if you try this epoxy earlier than me 🙂
First off, many thanks for doing this type of review – I really appreciate it.
I’m looking for an epoxy to fill in gaps in insect damage wood that I use to make small, jewelry type boxes. Nothing over 1/2 inch thick. I’m wondering how these resins react to a thickness planer, router. Just how hard to they cure? I damaged a set of knives recently on wood that had be stabilized with Cactus Juice. Are these products product hard enough to damage planer knifes or router bit? Any near out or breakage?
From your reviews it looks like RTG might be my best option as it sticks to almost anything. Getting the frass – residue from what the termites or worms have damaged – from the holes can be done but getting sandpaper inside the hole to sand may not be doable.
FWIW, I’m oven drying my wood to 0% moisture before starting work on boxes.
Any advice is appreciated.
Unfortunately, I’ve never used neither planer nor router to shape epoxy. I used sanders and chisels to shape pieces of wood filled with epoxy that was placed on a wood lathe, I didn’t notice any serious damage done to chisels afterward. Any epoxy from the list cures pretty hard but I can’t definitely say whether it will harm your tool or not. It’s better you ask that question on some forum. I’m sure there will be a person who’s done something like that before.
Over PU painted table top how epoxy resin can be applied?
I think a sealer is must have here since you need to prevent the paint from penetrating into the epoxy. Of course the paint may be totally dried but I just want to make sure everything will be okay. After sealer dries apply the epoxy as usual.
I am doing a bench and rock combination, I plan on doing a waterfall off of the rock and landing it on my bench and I would like to have a lot of bubbles where the falls land. Just like the real thing, I am the oddity who wants some bubbles.
Any ideas of how to accomplish this?
It’s a really interesting project you’re going to create. Sadly, I have never done anything like that before. I think it’s a pretty rare case so you will probably need to spend some time researching the web to find the proper technique. If you don’t find the answer try to create a topic on some woodworking/wood finishing/diy forum.
By the way, recently on the internet I stumbled upon this epoxy resin sink which has bubbles inside it:
Perhaps you’re trying to accomplish something similar. Actually, I don’t know how to achieve such an effect but the only idea that comes to my mind is using a needle syringe. This is how I imagine it: wait for the epoxy to harden (but not completely), then pierce the surface with needle syringe and blow bubbles one after another. Since the epoxy is hardened a little bit, the bubbles will not pop up. After that, you need to warm up the punctured surface to ‘solder’ the punctures.
Of course, we don’t want to spoil your project so you may try this method using a little amount of epoxy before starting your project.
Great Article! Quick question for you, can coloring pigments be added to all these brands of epoxy? And how about an article showing the worst 10 epoxy’s! I have used Glaze Coat on a few things. My first was a 9ft Farm table I made for my daughter using all hardwoods and most were curly or spalted. Turned out awesome. Going to try doing more live edge tables with color.
Yep, you can add dye to any epoxy from the list.
Never thought about top worst products, maybe I should try that 🙂
Hi there. Finally got Pro Marines and poured my river table. Love it, now I want to protect it from scratches. What can I use for that?
You came up with a good decision, it will be disappointing to mess up a beautiful table. Shellac or polyurethane would be a good choice to protect your piece, these are clear top coats which are nicely suited for epoxy resin. It’s worth mentioning that polyurethane is much harder to strip off later, but it gives you the best scratch protection. On the other hand, shellacs is another great option, which can be simply repaired and refinished in time. So for you, I would recommend using shellac since it has a good scratch resistance and you could easily refinish or remove it using a solvent.
If your table’s got scratches before you finish it you could sand the surface a little bit to get rid of scratches and then finish it.
I’ve just finished my river table, it took approximately 20 hours to complete it, very exciting process you know. Now I think I can make the table look even better by applying some finish but actually don’t which to choose. Or maybe it isn’t worth it? What do you think about it? Thanks.
Nice to see you, Brina.
Yep, you can finish the wooden parts of your river table. I think oil is a great choice here; it will seal the wood and give it a polished satin look. Please, check out the article where I listed top oils for different wooden pieces on the market. Hope you will love it.
If you had wanted to finish your wood before applying epoxy you could have used wood stain. Stains are great since they unfold the natural beauty of the wood. But once you applied epoxy do not use any stain because it may color the epoxy which will ruin the entire project.
I’ve heard that epoxy resins tend to yellow over time. Is that true?
Yes, any epoxy resin can yellow over time, there is no panacea for that. But most epoxy resins have components reducing the impact of UV rays which means the epoxy will stay clear longer but not infinitely. I think it isn’t a big problem since epoxy resins are supposed to be used mostly for interior projects not exterior. Interior projects got no problem with UV rays. But if you really want to get an outdoor project then I suppose you will need some extra top coat finish over epoxy which has strong UV protection. Sorry, I’ve never done anything like that before so I can’t give you comprehensive instructions.
Love your amazing review. Is there any conditions wooden piece have to satisfy before applying epoxy? Only certain types of wood acceptable?
First of all, you can use any type of wood you like, no problems. Unlike wood stains (which can be used only for specific types such as softwood or hardwood) epoxy resins can be applied to any wood since they don’t affect the grain. Choose what you like the most, do not hesitate.
Before applying epoxy you have to make sure that wood is clean. Remove dirt, flinders, peeling bark and other blemishes. Then sand the wood using sandpaper or orbital sander to make the surface smooth. After you finish sanding it’s very important that you remove all dust, the surface engaging with epoxy has to be totally clear. It would be great if you could use a vacuum for that purpose.
Very useful article, thanks.
It may sound trite but how can I fix my wooden pieces while pouring so that pieces stand still until epoxy cures completely? Looking forward to your answer.
Hi there, Melisa.
There are times when we need answers to simple questions. If you are doing a river table you can just place some kind of enclosure around your tabletop so that it stays fixed and epoxy doesn’t flow out. You can make it using wooden decks and cardboards, bond enclosure to the surface using glue.
Have fun doing your project.
Gonna do my first project and i want to do it properly. After i pour one coat of resin when can I do the next? And what about bubbles, I suppose they can ruin the whole final effect. Thanks.
You can see the table I composed on top of the article. It clearly shows curing time of each product so you have to wait at least 12 hours for full curing to begin pouring the next level of epoxy. Curing time is very important, do not mess it up.
Bubbles… Epoxy resins and bubbles go together. Bubbles appear while mixing the epoxy, they appear while pouring and spreading the epoxy across the surface. There is nothing wrong with it but you have to handle it by using heat gun, it’s the best possible solution ever existed. Once you pour the epoxy wait 5 minutes for bubbles to raise up and pop them with heat gun. Do not wait too long otherwise the epoxy will get harder so it’ll be much more difficult to get rid of all the bubbles. It’s very simple: just turn your gun on and hover over the surface, bubbles will start disappearing immediately, not a big deal.
Hi there William! Like your article. I’ve wanted to do some DIY for a long time. There was a bunch of articles I read about wood finishes such as stain, polys, lacquer and more other stuff. But river table… As soon as I saw one I knew this is what I’ve been looking for. Endless amount of shapes of the river pattern, I can paint epoxy any color I like. I want to do it!
Nice to see you on my blog, Patricia. Glad to hear that you want to create something beautiful by yourself, really nice. I’ve used a lot of finishes, every one of them creates its own unique look. But yes river tables are magnificent. By the way, there are many other projects made of epoxy resin such as lamps, decorative eggs and other cool things, check it out on youtube