Best Epoxy Resins for Wood: Application Tips & Top Picks

Epoxy resin is a synthetic product used extensively in industry and woodworking. In this article, we’ll discuss the epoxy resin products that I recommend for woodworkers. First, let’s understand what epoxy resins are and the different ways woodworkers can use them.

What Is Epoxy Resin?

The most familiar epoxy resins comprise a reactive prepolymer or polymer and a polyfunctional hardener. When combined, the two components form a thermosetting polymer, which hardens irreversibly. A well-known phenomenon when epoxies harden is the heat generated after mixing the polymer and hardener when the hardening process commences. Depending on the specific ingredients used in the resin, the user gains a range of favorable properties, including great mechanical adhesion and strength, good insulation abilities, and resistance to heat and chemical attack. 

How Are Epoxies Used In Woodwork?

Woodworkers have used epoxies for years, primarily as a high-strength wood adhesive or a tough two-pot paint coating. However, in recent years, epoxies have also been used for artistic purposes, combined with wood to produce art and decorative furniture. Here are some common uses for epoxy resins:

  • Structural adhesive when gluing wood together
  • Wetting out fibers in composite construction
  • Two-pot paint for finishing surfaces
  • Sealing and priming wood, stone, and concrete
  • Resin casting or encapsulation projects
  • Artwork and jewelry-making
  • Crack filling
  • Wood stabilization
  • Waterproofing
  • Mold making and sculpture
  • Furniture making

Your choice of epoxy will depend on the characteristics you need when applying the resin and the desired results from the finished product. Let’s look at three points to consider:

Viscosity

Viscosity refers to how easily a liquid or gel flows.

ViscosityAdvantagesDisadvantages
Low Penetrates fibers, cracks, pores, and small voids, ensuring a thorough bonding or repairGenerally, low-viscosity epoxies take longer to cure
Easier to apply, flows smoothly, and self-levelsA greater risk of runs or sagging, challenging precise placement
Bubble entrainment during mixing and application is reduced, giving a clearer and more aesthetic lookThe lower filler content can reduce cured strength and heat resistance
Quickly wets out fiberglass or carbon fiber fabric for better impregnation and a stronger structureIncreased shrinkage as it cures reduces dimensional stability
Better conformity to molds to capture fine detail
High A higher filler content gives better strength, thermal stability, and heat resistanceLabor intensive to mix and more difficult to apply
Maintains shapes and high-relief textures wellGreater risk of air entrapment during mixing and application, which affects its strength and finish
Less prone to dripping or sagging in vertical or overhead applicationsLess penetration into finer spaces, reducing the effectiveness and strength of repairs
Excellent for filling larger gaps or seams as it bridges spaces without sagging or runningDifficult to apply evenly in thin layers, which can limit certain coating applications

Understanding Drying & Curing

What’s the difference?

When dealing with epoxy paints and coatings containing solvents, the term “drying” refers to the state where the solvents evaporate. The drying phase is then followed by a “curing” process involving the cross-linking of polymer chains in a chemical reaction that releases heat and transforms the epoxy into a solid state. The curing stage is when the epoxy reaches its maximum strength, hardness, and chemical resistance. When dealing with pure epoxies that contain no solvents, there is no drying stage,  just the curing period.

How long does each process take?

The drying and curing times of epoxy products differ widely due to the specific epoxy product’s chemical composition, the application thickness, and the ambient temperature and humidity. For products containing solvents, drying can range from a couple of hours to 24. Curing will normally take longer and happens in two stages. The initial cure, where the epoxy is no longer tacky and semi-solid, can take several hours to a day. A full cure may take several days or several weeks. This state is defined as the epoxy having reached its full mechanical and chemical properties.

Pot Life

Pot life is known by many names, including working time, set-up time, open time, gel time, and wet-edge time for paints or coatings. Whatever term the manufacturer uses refers to the period after mixing the resin and hardener for which the mixture remains in a state suitable for its intended use. Think of it as “usability time”.

Again, this time varies greatly from product to product and depends on the product formulation, as well as the ambient temperature. Failure to observe the pot life can result in poor adhesion and curing, compromised mechanical properties, reduced workability, and a greater risk of imperfections. Refer to the manufacturer’s technical information for your product’s pot life and application instructions.

Most Recommended Epoxy Resins

I’ve looked at nine popular epoxy resin products used in a woodworking shop for various purposes and compared them for price, what they’re best used for, and their working characteristics. Let’s get started.

System Three T-88 Epoxy Adhesive

System Three T-88 Epoxy Adhesive - 1 Gallon
Photo: Amazon

Fair disclaimer here. I’ve used System Three’s T-88 for years now as my go-to structural adhesive for wood, so I am severely biased. I’ve used it on boat hulls and aircraft wings and never had a duff joint. When I’ve tested a joint to destruction, the wood always fails first. With that said, let’s look at its properties.

T-88 uses a 1 to 1 ratio of resin to hardener, so it’s easy to mix. Working time is between 30 and 45 minutes, temperature-dependent, and it easily handles wood, metal, and composite materials. It’s water resistant once cured, has outstanding structural integrity, and cures without shrinkage. It dries a light amber color.

Pros

  • Great setup time
  • Simple mix ratio
  • Creates unbelievably strong joints
  • Battle-tested over many, many years
  • Great support from System Three

Cons

  • It can be pricey compared to other products
  • Takes 24 hours to fully cure (Check out System Three’s quick dry epoxies)

West System G/Flex 650 Toughened Epoxy

WEST SYSTEM Gflex Epoxy
Photo: Amazon

If you’ve ever worked on wooden boats, you’ll have heard of West System. These guys have been around since the 1960s, even pre-dating System Three. Their product line is huge, and their support is second to none. I’m as much a fanboy for West System as I am for System Three. This G/Flex epoxy bridges the gap between flexible adhesive sealants and the stiffer standard epoxies. It provides a waterproof bond for fiberglass, ceramics, metals, plastics, and damp and difficult-to-bond woods. With a 1 to 1 ratio of epoxy to hardener by volume and high tensile adhesion, G/Flex 650 is compatible with the West System fillers and additives.

Pros

  • Backed by one of the leaders in epoxy systems
  • You can use it on damp wood or wet surfaces
  • Good for bonding tropical wood and exotic species
  • Simple mix ratio

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low viscosity; it can sag or run on sloped surfaces
  • Reports of some adhesion problems with plastics

Devcon Home, 5-Minute Epoxy

Devcon Epoxy, 5 Minute Epoxy
Photo: Amazon

Devcon has been around for over 50 years and specializes in epoxy, urethane coatings, and structural adhesives. I’ve included this 5-minute epoxy because sometimes we don’t need a complicated overnight wet layup; we just need to bond something quickly. This 5-minute epoxy is a clear, general-purpose, rapid-curing epoxy. It has a working time of 3 to 6 minutes and functionally cures in 45 minutes to an hour. Devcon 5-minute epoxy bonds metal and rigid substrates.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Simple to mix and use
  • Water-resistant
  • Fast setting

Cons

  • Not UV resistant, so indoor use only
  • Doesn’t work on polyethylene or polypropylene plastics
  • Some reports of a short shelf-life

TotalBoat Clear Casting Epoxy Resin

TotalBoat ThickSet Deep Pour Epoxy Resin Kit
Photo: Amazon

Moving away from epoxy adhesives, TotalBoat produces this epoxy system for casting or clear coating. This product works on a 3 to 1 ratio of epoxy to hardener and is formulated to allow deeper pours per layer than traditional tabletop epoxies. If you’re into the current trend for river tables or wish to pour tabletops or cast epoxy jewelry, this is the product for you. It also takes most colorants, pigments, and mica powders.

Pros

  • Lower viscosity aids degassing without heat
  • Allows deeper pours: 1” for small molds and ½” for large casts
  • No shrinkage or cracking

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Very slow cure time
  • Too thin for art projects: it runs and sags

Promise Epoxy Resin Kit

Epoxy Resin Promise Table Top 2-Part- 1 Gallon High Gloss
Photo: Amazon

I’ve included this resin kit because it’s made in the USA, has a budget price, with many thousands of satisfied customers. That said, there are some tips and tricks to using this product. It’s best used for coating table tops as it’s very clear and cures to a high gloss. The 1 to 1 ratio of epoxy to hardener makes it simple to mix, and because of its low viscosity, it’s self-leveling. It is very reactive to temperature, evidencing high viscosity changes based on the ambient temperature.

Pros

  • Budget price
  • Crystal clear
  • Works on most materials
  • Low odor and low VOC

Cons

  • Highly reactive to temperature changes
  • Inconsistent viscosities and cure times reported by users – quality issues?

MAS Table Top Pro

MAS Table Top Pro (1-Gallon Kit)
Photo: Amazon

I last reviewed the MAS Table Top system 3 years ago, so it’s good to revisit it and see how it has stood the test of time. This high gloss resin kit uses a simple 1 to 1 mix of resin to hardener. I have to say that reviews are mixed; some people swear by it, and others have nothing but problems. Whether that’s down to the product quality or the user is hard to say. With that said, MAS appears to be responsive and US-based, so if you encounter problems, you can get assistance. The MAS Table Top system is self-leveling and compatible with most pigment, ink, and acrylic paints.

Pros

  • Crystal clear
  • Low VOC
  • Minimal bubbles
  • Middle of the range, price-wise

Cons

  • Mixed customer reviews
  • Some complaints of very short working times

Aves Apoxie Sculpt

Aves Apoxie Sculpt - 2 Part Modeling Compound
Photo: Amazon

For something a little different in epoxies, we chose this product, which uses epoxy and clay to form modeling or sculpting putty. You can create shapes, repair, adhere, or fill to your heart’s desire, and it works with almost any material you can name. It dries to a semi-gloss finish, is waterproof, and is suitable for indoor or outdoor exposure. It’s not the cheapest product on the market, and beginners say it takes a bit of getting used to, but users love it.

Pros

  • No shrinkage, and it dries hard and strong
  • 1 to 3 hours working time
  • Accepts most paints, stains, and micas
  • Comes in multiple colors

Cons

  • Expensive for such a small quantity
  • It can be sticky to mix and work
  • 24-hour cure

Abatron LiquidWood

Abatron LiquidWood 2 Pint Kit
Photo: Amazon

I’ve written previously about stabilizing rotted wood, and Abatron offers their LiquidWood product for just that purpose. After removing badly rotted timber, you apply the epoxy to soak into the wood fibers, sealing and strengthening it to prevent further deterioration. Once cured, you can use filler to rebuild the wood profile. The product has a pot life of between 30 to 45 minutes and takes a couple of hours to dry.

Pros

  • Low VOCs
  • Rapid cure
  • Good pot life
  • Can be used internally and externally

Cons

  • Expensive, but a little goes a long way

Smiths CPES

Smith's Original Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer
Photo: Amazon

Steve Smith has a great website with a wealth of scientific and technical data to support his product. If you need to stabilize wood or repair a boat hull, I’d certainly pay him a visit. CPES stands for clear penetrating epoxy sealer, and it’s a product routinely used in architectural restoration work to stabilize and replace rotten wood. Steve has almost too much information on his website, taking you through how dry the wood needs to be, how to mix his product for the best result, and how much CPES to apply

Pros

  • A time-proven product
  • Oustanding, personal, before and after-sales support
  • Simple 1 to 1 mix ratio

Cons

  • Not the cheapest (although Steve’ll tell you it’s the best)

Applying Epoxy Products

1. Surface preparation: While some epoxies can be applied to wet or damp wood, I advise ensuring the wood is dry and appropriately sanded if the finish is important. Remove the oils from naturally oily woods by wiping them down with acetone.

2.  Painting primer: Most manufacturers will advise you to prime the wood first to ensure correct adhesion if you’re using epoxy paint.

3. Mixing: This is where the rubber hits the road with epoxy. If you stir too vigorously, you entrain air. If you don’t get the ratio of hardener to resin correct, the epoxy will either never cure or it will harden before you finish mixing. Carefully study the manufacturer’s instructions on how to mix their product for the best effect, then read them again. As a final warning, don’t mix until you know you’re ready for immediate application, as the clock starts ticking on your pot time.

4. Temperature: Epoxy is strongly affected by temperature, so read the manufacturer’s instructions regarding optimal temperatures for application, and where you can’t change the temperature in your environment, make appropriate allowances for altered pot life and cure times.

FAQ 

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.

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Yes, most epoxy products will accept pigments, inks, and mica products to add color to the finish. The manufacturer will guide you in their technical specifications on what can safely be used.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Most epoxies are extremely durable. While it’s dependent on the product and use, most are heat- and chemical-resistant and certainly waterproof. Some epoxies can be affected by UV, causing them to yellow over time – check the manufacturer’s recommendations and technical specifications before using.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Conclusion

With the current fad for river tables, you’d be forgiven for thinking that epoxy use in the workshop has only been discovered recently. In fact, they’ve been around since the 1960s in various forms. In this article, I’ve tried to show you the different types of products that woodworkers commonly use, and I’ve included examples of some I have used and swear by and others I’ve heard good things about. I hope the article has been useful to you.

William Stewart

The proud owner and lead writer of WoodImprove.com. Started writing in 2018 and sharing his love and passion for wood treatments and crafts.

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Jay
Jay
1 year ago

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.

Gary J Cardone
Gary J Cardone
2 years ago

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?

Jose
Jose
2 years ago

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.

John M Keesee
John M Keesee
3 years ago

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?

Colin Powell
Colin Powell
3 years ago

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

Doug Cary
Doug Cary
3 years ago

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!

Respectfully,

Doug Cary

Lee morris Simon
Lee morris Simon
3 years ago

im looking for a finishing product for a shuffleboard.
what would you recommend?
Lee Simon
Buffalo billiards
Petaluma, CA

john s riggs
john s riggs
3 years ago

Can it be applied to a rocking chair with a brush?

Theresa
Theresa
3 years ago

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?

Kathryn Lindner
Kathryn Lindner
Reply to  William Stewart
3 years ago

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.

Ian Gould
3 years ago

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.

Elena Redkina
Elena Redkina
3 years ago

Hi William,

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)?

Jim
Jim
3 years ago

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?

Tom Vickers
Tom Vickers
3 years ago

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?

Cheryl Ohms
Cheryl Ohms
Reply to  Tom Vickers
3 years ago

Check out Stone Coat Countertops. He has a matte finish top coat. And many instructional videos.

John Rogers
John Rogers
3 years ago

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.

John Rogers

dawn
dawn
3 years ago

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

Hitesh Patel
Hitesh Patel
3 years ago

Hi,
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.

Christopher Mulloney
Christopher Mulloney
3 years ago

William,

Is it ok to seal the wood and epoxy resin with polyurethane…or just the wood and avoid the epoxy.

Christopher Mulloney
Christopher Mulloney
3 years ago

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?

Christopher Mulloney
Christopher Mulloney
3 years ago

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!

Greg Zelano
Greg Zelano
4 years ago

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 ?

Kevin D.
Kevin D.
4 years ago

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?

Carol H.
Carol H.
4 years ago

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.

Ali
Ali
4 years ago

Hello William,
Out of all of these brands which one is certified food safe by the FDA?

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

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?

Thanks

Tim Banes
Tim Banes
4 years ago

Hi William,

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.

Thanks again,

Tim

Glenn Wattier
Glenn Wattier
4 years ago

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.

Özgür EFE
Özgür EFE
4 years ago

Hello William,
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

Fred Blum
Fred Blum
4 years ago

Hi,
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.

Anne Schoen
Anne Schoen
4 years ago

Hi William,
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.

Darlena Gochenour
Darlena Gochenour
4 years ago

Hello William,
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.

Diana Simmons
Diana Simmons
4 years ago

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?

joan
joan
4 years ago

Hello William,
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?

Hamzeh
Hamzeh
4 years ago

Hi..

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.

Thank u

Cory Miller
Cory Miller
4 years ago

William,

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?

Kirk Cottle
Kirk Cottle
4 years ago

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
Kirk

sandra
sandra
4 years ago

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

Laura Berkner
Laura Berkner
4 years ago

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?
Thanks! Laura

Vijay
Vijay
4 years ago

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.

David
David
4 years ago

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?

David Womack
David Womack
5 years ago

Hello William,

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.

David

Indranath Lahiri
Indranath Lahiri
5 years ago

Over PU painted table top how epoxy resin can be applied?

Kieran Walsh
Kieran Walsh
5 years ago

William,
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?

mike kleinsmith
mike kleinsmith
5 years ago

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.

michael
michael
5 years ago

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?

Brina
Brina
5 years ago

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.

David Brown
David Brown
5 years ago

Hi, William.
I’ve heard that epoxy resins tend to yellow over time. Is that true?

Inessa T
Inessa T
5 years ago

Love your amazing review. Is there any conditions wooden piece have to satisfy before applying epoxy? Only certain types of wood acceptable?

Melisa
Melisa
5 years ago

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.

Denis
Denis
5 years ago

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.

Patricia
Patricia
5 years ago

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! 

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