Working With Epoxy
At Built By Ben Woodworking, we’ve been using a lot of epoxy in the last year. It’s a fun way to experiment with designs and start to hone your woodworking skills. Here are a few things I’ve learned after using resin in roughly 20 tables:
Difference between bar top epoxy (thin layers, 1/8” thick max at a time) and casting epoxy (1/4”-2” thick layers). Bar top epoxy would be your total boat and marine epoxy brands and casting epoxy is Ecopoxy and other brands.
What’s the difference in epoxy drying times?
- Bar top epoxy is typically 1-2 days dry time.
- Casting epoxy is typically 3-6 days dry time.
The main difference is the amount of time for the resin to get into every crevice and for the bubbles to rise to the surface and pop. A longer dry time means more time for better coverage and for bubbles to rise. Be careful mixing resin part “A” and “B” with a drill powered paddle mixer. Some brands will get real frothy and bubbly and mixed at high speeds and the bubbles will never rise to the surface and you’ll be pissed.
- Heat up part A of the resin container in a 5 gal bucket of hot water for 15 min before pouring. Not part B.
- Always store resin at above 60 degrees and try to pour with the room around 70 degrees.
- If you pour really thick with casting epoxy, you need to have fans set up to cool the resin because the resin gets real hot when it starts to kick off, but only if you’re pouring more than 1-1/2”.
Also, dust is crazy important. Ecopoxy takes 72 hours to dry and you have to absolutely leave it alone for at least that long.
- Epoxy doesn’t stick to sheathing tape like tuck tape brand. Make a mold with plywood covered in sheathing tape and caulk the joints with silicone.
- Use a torch for some bubbles that will rise to the surface if you have any voids in your piece.
Be real careful with fumes once part “A” and “B” start kicking off. The torch will flame up from the gasses rising from the table.
- Be cautious, we don’t recommend using a torch within 30 minutes of pouring the bar top, and within 12 hours for casting.
- Like any liquid, the resin is self-leveling…so level both ways before you pour.
Think about the layers of epoxy too. When I pour a river table, it’s probably more than one pour. You can mess with Mixol brand liquid pigments too. Or Black Diamond Pigments powder mica pigments. Check out some of the custom projects I’ve completed on my woodworking gallery page.
Even though eco poxy resin is stronger than wood, it scratches extremely easily. Especially when poured as a clear top coat or when the purpose is to see through a piece. Car headlight pushing compound or acrylic polishing compounds will work to remove minor surface scratches.
These are my own opinions about working with epoxy resin. People love to argue…hope this helps.
– Ben Harmon, Built By Ben Woodworking