November 20, 2022
One of my client asked me the other week about some tips on how to use epoxy resin on wood, and as a good and obliging friend and woodworker, I willingly provided him with what I know from my long years of experience as a woodworker. Epoxy resin, of course, will provide you with different creative possibilities that other materials can’t provide.
Moreover, using it allows you to achieve a range of design potentials, including epoxy resin-coated fine wood (protective layer), epoxy resin river table, wood wrought-in cast molds, and many other possibilities. In this post, you will get to learn the different possible combinations of epoxy and wood along with direct-to-the-point ideas, tips, and instructions.
Applications & Uses of Epoxy Resin on Wood
As a woodworker, you will learn that epoxy resin and wood combinations can produce a wide array of artistic possibilities. It also strengthens the wood and prevents rotting and other deterioration. Below are the comprehensive applications of epoxy resin on wood:
Sealing the Wood
One of the best ways to seal wood is via the use of epoxy resin. Epoxy resin is a known waterproofing material that can seal tabletop, furniture, and wooden kitchen boards. It can seal wooden flooring, kitchen work surface, and any wooden material. The sealing application of epoxy resin is endless.
To seal any wooden furniture, you can prepare the wood for sealing. Then, prepare the resin mixture. You should thoroughly stir it before you begin applying it. The resin will exhibit fluidity until it has cured. Moreover, it will flow naturally in all directions.
This fluid characteristic of the epoxy resin will pose a challenge for woodworkers who want to apply the epoxy resin on the wood surface. To contain its fluidity, you need to tape the edges of the flat surface so that the epoxy resin will not drip and run over onto the floor.
You can use a squeegee or a spatula to spread the resin over the whole surface of the wood. If you made an accurate calculation, the epoxy resin will cover the entire surface area and automatically levels out because, like water, it seeks to level itself. Then, remove air bubbles using a torch or hot air gun.
Once the resin’s viscosity begins to thicken, you should refrain from working, for if you continue working on the epoxy resin, you may fail to attain a homogenous surface for your resin.
Epoxy Resin as a Wood Filler for Repairing Wood
You would indeed have wood pieces and wooden furniture that have been weathered by the passing of time, like boards eaten away by woodworms, gnarled wood with knots, and many other damaged wooden furniture. Such damaged wooden furniture is perfect for filling in with resin.
If you would like to fill in holes and cracks on the board, you should first inspect if the holes are not continuous. Otherwise, if you pour the resin into the cracks, it may drain through the bottom. To remedy such a problem, you can first seal the holes with tape. You may also use silicone sealant that you can remove later.
Once you’ve sealed the bottom holes, you can then fill in with resin mixtures the said cavities. You can color the resin to create color contrasts. You can also spruce it up with paints and dyes that may glow in darkness to create that exciting result.
Casting Wood in Epoxy Resin
You can completely cast pieces of wood in resin. Casting in resin is perfect for wood with characteristic fine burling or vivid grain. You can also create epoxy jewelry or create a decorative wood piece cast in resin.
You can create a casting mold using resin-coated panels that you can seal using silicone caulking. Then spray it with silicone oil. If you fail to use coated boards, you will find it hard to release the mold because the resin will bond naturally to the panels.
You got two options when casting wood in resin. First, you can use a silicone mold. You will find special molds for resin in different sizes and shapes. You only need to place the wood piece into the silicone mold.
Afterward, you pour epoxy resin onto the mold. You may cast several layers to keep the resin from getting too hot. Then, separate the mold from the cast piece. You can use it several times.
Steps on Using Epoxy Resin on Wood
Epoxy resin is excellent for creating a beautiful protective layer on top of the wood. You can use it in different craft projects. If you are desirous of applying epoxy resin on wood, you can follow the following steps on how to do it:
Step 1: Prepare the Wood
It will be best to prepare the wood before you coat it with epoxy resin. The best way to prepare it is to sand it first. Then, degrease it. Don’t pretreat it with oil. Check if there are hairs or fibers or any loose bark pieces on the wood before applying the resin.
You can sand by hand the small pieces of wood. However, if you are going to apply epoxy resin on large surface areas like a wooden table, you should use an orbital sander to avoid leaving stress marks on the surface.
Moreover, you should use a bubble level to check if the flat surface is level. Remember that if it is not level, the flow of the resin may be ununiform. So, make sure that the surface area is level before you pour the resin.
Step 2: Mixing the Epoxy Resin
The resin comes with two components: resin and hardener, and you should mix these two in a container. The mixing process may take several minutes to ensure that the curing process will work according to plan. The plan is to achieve uniform fluidity sans any streaks. Once this is achieved, you can then add color to the mix.
When mixing, make sure to wear nitrile gloves to avoid the mixture from having direct contact with your skin.
The mixing ratio may either be 1:1, 2:1, 4:1 ratio. To achieve the desired ratio, you should measure the hardener and resin separately using disposable cups. It will help to bear in mind that different epoxy types require different resin-hardener ratios. Hence, it will be helpful to check the instruction with care to ensure that you will have the correct ratio for the given epoxy resin.
For the mixing process, you can use wooden or plastic spatulas. Stir with care the mixture to lessen air bubbles. Stir the ingredients together for five minutes. Make sure you are stirring slowly. Once done mixing, you can then pour or apply the resin mixture.
Step 3: Cover the Wood in an Epoxy Layer
You can then pour the epoxy over the surface of the wood, beginning at the center. Pour it with care over the wood to create the first layer. Don’t worry much if the first layer is not even. Pour enough epoxy to cover the whole wood piece with a thin epoxy layer.
Remember that you need to pour the epoxy quickly onto the wood because epoxy may harden quickly. You can pour a large epoxy pile in the wood’s middle, then spread it out. You can also pour in thin epoxy streams around the entire wood surface.
Step 4: Spread Evenly the Epoxy
To spread the epoxy evenly, you can utilize a foam brush to apply the epoxy towards the edge surface. You can place the foam brush in the epoxy puddle and start pulling the epoxy over the surface edges with a back-and-forth movement.
Make sure to create an even layer of epoxy, ensuring that the wood’s entire surface is coated with epoxy. Then, you can wipe off excess epoxy from the edge using the same foam brush.
Step 5: Then, Remove the Bubbles
As you pour the epoxy resin in, you will notice that there are bubble buildups. You can remove the bubbles using a moving heat source above or over the epoxy. You can utilize a torch, heat gun, or hair dryer to remove these bubbles.
You can start eliminating the bubbles by turning on your heat source and then moving the heat source roughly around 6 to 10 inches above the surface of the resin. In this way, the bubbles will pop up.
You can move the bubbles back and forth slowly above the surface until the bubbles burst or pop. Move the heat source over to ensure that the epoxy resin will not burn.
Step 6: Let the Coat Dry
Once done with the first coat, let it sit for four hours. You will need four hours to make the epoxy start hardening. It will never be completely hard and dry after four hours, but it should feel tacky.
Once it feels tacky, then you can begin your second coating. You will sometimes notice some bubbles after drying the first coat for thirty minutes. To remove these bubbles, you can again use your heat source for popping them.
Step 7: Apply the Last or Final Layer
After four hours, you can then apply your last or final layer. The final layer will serve as extra protection. You can mix the final batch of epoxy using the exact ratio you’ve used before. Then, pour the last layer onto the primary coat and drag the epoxy across the surface evenly.
Ensure you cover the edges with enough epoxy and wipe up the excessive epoxy or drips using your foam brush.
Step 8: Allow the Coat of Epoxy to Dry and Harden
You should wait for 24 hours to let the epoxy completely harden before you remove the painter’s tape. Most epoxy resins dry up after 24 to 36 hours. Once hardened, you can flip over the wood piece and pull off the tape to see how beautiful your creation is. Don’t touch the surface while the epoxy hardens. Otherwise, you may mess up the surface.
The creative options you have with the use of epoxy resin on the wood are extensive and fascinating. Epoxy resin can also stabilize and protect wood components. It offers exceptional protection against water and moisture, and it brings out a remarkable degree of beauty and depth to the wood.
For interior application, you need to apply at least two epoxy coats. For exterior applications, you can apply three to four coats or more to ensure that the result will be durable.
It is also good to note that sanding between coats is not advisable, given that the sanding dust is difficult to remove from the surface of the porous grain. If you fail to remove the sanding dust, you will notice fine white specks on your next layer or coating of epoxy resin.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.