You might think of epoxy resin only as a very strong adhesive, but it actually has many applications in woodworking. Adding epoxy resin to your toolbox will surely raise a notch your level of woodworking. For example, you can use woodworking epoxy for wood tabletops, countertops, cabinetry, designs, wood bar tops, wooden coasters, and many other applications. So, if you haven’t tried using epoxy resin, you should start dabbling in the use of epoxy resin.
If you use epoxy resin well, you will no longer be tagged as a skilled woodworker but an artist capable of coughing out beautiful works of art. So, if you haven’t tinkered with epoxy resin yet, you might as well read through this post to learn how to apply epoxy resin.
Easy Steps on Applying Epoxy Resin
If it’s your first-time applying epoxy resin on wood, you might be anxious about how to do it. Below are the simple steps you can follow to ensure you are doing the application process the right way:
Step 1: Prepare Your Wood
There is no better way to prepare the wood except by sanding it down while you inspect for any signs of rot. If there is any vestige of deterioration, chip the spot away using your chipping tools. Then, clamp your wood to your workbench. Take hold of your angle grinder to smoothen the curved edges.
Before applying the resin, you must prep the wood by sanding because a smooth wood surface is necessary. This way, the resin will adhere well to the wood minimizing the risk of damage to the wood after applying epoxy resin.
You must also remove the bark though it is tempting to let it stay on the wood piece for visual effect. Yet, it might affect the adhesion level of the epoxy resin.
Once you’ve cleaned the wood, you can seal the imperfections and natural edges using a quick-drying epoxy. Let the resin cure to make the wood impervious to moisture. Once the fast-drying epoxy cures, you can start applying the decorative epoxy.
Step 2: Begin Taping the Edges
When applying epoxy, the epoxy resin might drip along the edges of the wood down into the floor. You can prevent this by using tape on the surface’s edges. Choose a high-quality adhesive tape for this purpose because the epoxy resin mixture is quite potent and can corrode the adhesive tape if it is not of high quality.
Step 3: Make a Reasonable Calculation of the Resin You will Use
If you’re a first-timer, you might get confused about how much epoxy resin you need to prepare. Yet, you don’t need to use a mathematical formula to calculate the amount of epoxy resin you will use. To make a reasonable calculation, measure the width and length of your workpiece in inches. Also, figure out the thickness of the epoxy resin you would like to apply. Once you’ve multiplied the length, width, and thickness, you will get the volume in cubic inches.
You can convert cubic inches into liquid ounces. For every cubic inch, you will get .055411255 oz. Calculating becomes more complicated if your project has irregular shapes.
Generally, bar top epoxies can produce roughly 12 square feet for every blended gallon with 1/8-inch thickness.
Step 4: Begin Blending Epoxy Resin
When blending epoxy resin, you need to follow some simple tips. First, working in a well-ventilated environment with a temperature over 18 degrees Celsius will be best. Set up two containers over steaming hot water for half an hour at 50 degrees Celsius.
After thirty minutes, you can start mixing. Then, place the containers on one side to let them cool down to room temperature. Avoid heating the water beyond 100 degrees Celsius.
Afterward, you can mix resin and hardener in your graduated mixing cups. Your mixing proportions may be any of the following: 1:1, 2:1, and 4:1.
But if you want to ensure that you will not foul up everything, you can start with the equivalent amount of resin and hardener. Use a clean stir stick to mix both parts until you get a consistent mixture. Mixing can take up to 7 minutes to achieve consistency.
Step 5: Then, Infuse Resin Color into the Mixture
You can now add colors to your mixture. You can add liquid dye, resin pigments, alcohol inks, or any other element that could enhance the color of the mix. Adding pigment, of course, is an excellent option to add color to the resin.
You can use dry mixing cups to produce multiple colors in your mixture. You can pour premixed epoxy onto the mixing cups. Then, stir slowly to mix thoroughly. Add a tiny fraction of pigments to achieve the desired color.
Step 6: Pour the Epoxy Resin onto the Wood Surface
Once you’ve achieved the desired color and consistency, you can pour the epoxy into the wood surface. Spread the resin over the wood surface using a plastic spreader.
Follow a spiral pattern when pouring the resin to distribute the mixture evenly. You can cover the entire surface if your calculation is correct.
Step 7: Eliminate Resin Bubbles
After pouring in the epoxy resin, you will notice air bubbles on the epoxy surface within ten minutes. Using a heat gun or a torch, you must get rid of these bubbles. You can also use a hair dryer if you don’t have any of the tools mentioned earlier.
Wave the heat gun, dryer, or torch for a few seconds over the epoxy resin to pop air bubbles. It will be best to get rid of bubbles as soon as possible.
However, air bubbles might get trapped near the bottom of the resin layer. If you are using a heat gun or hair dryer, you will find getting rid of these bottom bubbles a challenge.
You can resolve this issue by applying a small layer of resin at a time. This way, you can ensure that there are no bubbles left in the inner layer of the resin.
Step 8: Let the Resin Cure Completely
The time for the complete curing of resin is forty-eight hours. If the epoxy resin is already solid but has not yet cured, you can still apply another coat of epoxy.
Step 9: Cut Your Epoxy Resin
Once the epoxy resin has completely cured, you can begin cutting it. Cutting epoxy resin requires care. You should do it slowly and carefully to avoid cracking the epoxy resin. Afterward, you can sand the surface to create a smooth texture and polished edges.
If you would cut an inch-thick cured epoxy, it will be best to make several passes up to four passes instead of trying to cut it in one pass.
You should polish the resin surface using fine-grit sandpaper to do away with marks and blemishes. You can also engage in wet sanding to achieve an excellent level of polishing.
You can wet sand the epoxy resin using 400-grit sandpaper to do away with scratches. Then, sand it again using 600-grit sandpaper and 800-grit sandpaper, and 1,000-grit sandpaper. Afterward, make the final sanding using 1,500-grit sandpaper. Dry the resin and polish after that.
Step 10: Give it the Final Treatment
For your final treatment, you can utilize a quality wood oil. You can use, for example, Odie’s Oil, for this oil has proven itself to provide sterling shimmer.
You can use, likewise, a polishing compound that can provide excellent polish. Besides, wood polishing pastes will also work well on epoxy resin.
Additional Tips on Dealing Possible Issues on Resin
Aside from knowing the straightforward steps on applying epoxy resin on the wood surface, it will also help if you are familiar with the following tips to remedy possible issues:
Shrinkage of Resin
If you’re new to using epoxy resin, you might experience resin shrinkage as the resin cures. One possible reason for this is you’re using a poor-quality resin. Besides, various epoxy resins react variably to different wood types.
To determine if a resin brand will shrink, try it in scrap wood. Apply epoxy resin to the scrap wood and let it cure. If it shrinks, then your epoxy resin is not good. In this case, you need to search for the best resin.
Watch Out for the Temperature
One primary element you need to consider when applying epoxy resin is temperature. You must ensure you use the epoxy resin at the optimal ambient temperature. As mentioned above, the temperature range best for applying epoxy resin is from 24-30 degrees Celsius.
Another issue you may encounter when applying epoxy resin is the yellowing of the resin. Several reasons might be behind the yellowing of epoxy resins. These reasons include exposure to UV light, lack of sealer, excessive water content, and exposure to high temperatures.
You can remedy these issues by keeping the resin from UV light, ensuring there is not much water in the mixture, using a sealer, and using a similar shade to yellow.
Fish-eyeing can also occur. You can forestall fisheyes and dimples by showering the surface with clear paint splashes and applying clear epoxy afterward.
Bubbles are frequent issues when applying epoxy resin. To remedy this issue, you can use a handheld torch to disperse and let the bubbles escape. If you don’t have this tool, you can use a hairdryer. You can also apply epoxy in a small amount to avoid trapped bubbles underneath the epoxy layer.
Very Hot Resin When Casting
When you pour in hot resin, it may get further hot because substances usually respond to resin and hardeners, producing more heat. So, it will be best to direct a fan to the resin to drive away air from your resin mixture. This way, the resin will remain cooler.
A growing number of people are using epoxy resin because of the endless artistic possibilities afforded by its application. Epoxy resin has also been used to design trays, jewelry, coasters, knives, tabletops, countertops, and many more. Epoxy resin has many other uses, such as adhesives, painting, coatings and sealants, and repairs. It is also used in the electronics industry in producing motors, insulators, generators, and transformers.
If you haven’t dabbled in the use of epoxy resin, it’s high time to try its use, for using epoxy resin is an excellent way to raise a notch your woodworking activities. Besides, it’s a great way to add an extra oomph to your monotonous woodworking activities.