Epoxy resin offers a variety of possibilities that is unlike any other material. In conjunction with wood, you are able to achieve a wide range of design possibilities: epoxy resin coated with wood as a protective layer, wood in cast molds, epoxy resin river tables, and much more is possible. We are showing you what is possible with the combination of epoxy resin and wood and giving you specific instructions, ideas, and tips.
- 1 Different Properties of Resin Products
- 2 Wood Epoxy Recommendations
- 3 Wood and Epoxy: This Supplies You Need
- 4 Step 1: Wood Preparation
- 5 Step 2: Mixing the Resin
- 6 Application 1: Sealing Wood
- 7 Application 2: Epoxy wood filler – Filling and Repairing Wood
- 8 Application 3: Casting Wood in Resin (Resin Casting)
- 9 Coloring Resin to Create Contrast with Wood
- 10 Sanding after Curing
- 11 The last Step – Polishing, Oiling, and Finishing your Artwork
- 12 Processing Challenges – Tips and Tricks
- 12.1 Does Epoxy Resin bind to Wood?
- 12.2 The Epoxy Resin shrinks too much
- 12.3 The Epoxy Resin sinks into the Wood
- 12.4 Several Bubbles in Cast Resin
- 12.5 The optimal Working Temperature
- 12.6 The Resin is extremely hot during Casting
- 12.7 The Epoxy Resin cures too quickly
- 12.8 Resin appears cloudy after Curing
- 12.9 Preventing Yellowing
- 12.10 Storing Epoxy Resin
- 12.11 Is the Cured Epoxy Food Safe?
- 13 Calculating the required Quantity of Epoxy Resin – the Epoxy Calculator from acrylgiessen
- 14 Health Advice for Working with Resin
- 15 More interesting articles about epoxy resin
Different Properties of Resin Products
Epoxy resin or resin is a two-component material which cures within a few hours of the components being mixed together then can be cut, grinded, and polished. In contrast to polyester and polyurethane resins, resin epoxy shrinks considerably less during curing. All other products could come off of wood in a few hours or days and as a result are not appropriate to use. There are products for different areas of application, and it is important to choose the correct product here.
- low-viscosity resin for coating layers
- thick-viscosity resin for casting molds or for Resin Art
UV Protection / Resistance to Yellowing
Resin reacts differently to UV rays. The resin usually comes in a clear form and tends to turn yellow under the sun and is no longer completely translucent. As a result, there is a highest uv-resistance epoxy resin for outdoor and furniture use that is resistant to yellowing. In some instances, additives that protect against UV rays can be mixed in to reduce yellowing in the best possible way.
After curing the mixture, there is a huge difference. Some products are rather soft, other products are resistant to scratches and temperature. For everyday objects such as cutting boards, tabletops, and other items that are exposed to high mechanical stress, it is worth buying a higher quality resin.
Tip: Make sure you stick to the specified mixing ratio so the resin cures well.
Wood Epoxy Recommendations
You can’t go wrong with the following professional products and are guaranteed to get good results. They are characterized by less shrinkage, good quality of flow, and good compatibility:
Wood and Epoxy: This Supplies You Need
You will need the following things in order to use epoxy resin on wood:
- Epoxy Resin for Coating Wood
- Countertop Epoxy for Resin-Casting and Sealing
- Highest UV-resistance Epoxy for Outdoor and Furniture
- GE 100% Silicone Caulking
- Caulking gun
- Silicone Oil
- Orbital Sander
- Grinding and polishing paste for glossy surfaces
- Orbital Buffer / Polisher
- High-Quality Wood Oil
- Resin Mixing Cups and Stir Sticks
- Heat Gun
- Butane Torch
- Professional Masking Tape
- High-Density Drop Cloth
- Nitril Gloves
- Respirator Mask
- Eye Protection
- Wood of your choice
Step 1: Wood Preparation
The wood should be prepared before coating with epoxy resin or using for embedding epoxy resin:
- Not pretreated with oil
- No hairs / fibers or loose pieces of bark
Small fragments can cut your hand. For larger surface areas such as a wooden table, we recommend using an orbital sander to prevent stress marks.
Tip: Before pouring, use a bubble level to check if the wooden surface is in the water. Due to flow characteristics, the epoxy resin will only flow in one place and not spread as desired.
Step 2: Mixing the Resin
The two components (resin and hardener) must be mixed together in a container. It is very important that the entire mixture is combined well over several minutes. It is the only way to ensure the curing process will work out as planned. At the end, it needs to have a uniform fluidity without any streaks. Only then can the color be added.
Wear nitril gloves so that your skin does not come into direct contact with the fluid.
The mixing ratio can be found on the packaging. In the market, there is three different systems: a 1:1 ratio, a 2:1 ratio, and a 4;1 ratio. Epoxy resin is usually sold with the resin and hardener pre-packaged in the exact amounts needed.
Plastic or wooden rods are best for mixing. Make sure to stir carefully to minimize air bubbles.
You are now able to pour, fill, or apply the resin mixture.
Application 1: Sealing Wood
Epoxy resin is suitable for sealing wood as well as waterproofing it. Some examples of this application include sealing a table top, wooden boards in the kitchen, or furniture. Sealing kitchen work surfaces, wooden flooring, or any other application is also possible with it. As you can see, application possibilities are nearly unlimited.
How to use epoxy resin on wood?
After the wood has been prepared according to Step 1 and the resin mixture has been stirred, you are ready to begin. The greatest challenge lies in the fluidity of the material: as long as the resin has not cured, it quite quickly flows wherever it can.
- If you want to make a table out of epoxy resin, you have to tape the edges so the resin does not run over and drip onto the floor.
- Pour the epoxy over the wooden surface and spread it over the entire surface with a spatula or a squeegee. If you calculated the necessary amount correctly, a completely covered surface that levels out automatically because of the flow property is created.
- Remove air bubbles with a hot air gun or a Bunsen burner.
- As soon as you notice that the viscosity is becoming thicker, you should stop working otherwise you will no longer be able to achieve a homogenous surface.
- Before you attempt large objects and surfaces, it is recommended that you begin by practicing with a test piece. This is how you get a feel for the process and how to handle the product. Timing should also not be neglected because you only have a maximum of half an hour to seal the entire surface.
Application 2: Epoxy wood filler – Filling and Repairing Wood
Old weathered pieces of wood, boards eaten by woodworms, or gnarled pieces of wood with knots are typically not of interest to carpenters. For artistic use, however, this wood is perfect for filling with resin.
How to fill cracks in wood with epoxy?
If you have a board with holes or inlays that you would like to fill, first check that the hole is not continuous and that the resin can drain off at the bottom. You can seal continuous holes with tape or use silicone sealant which can easily be removed later.
Now you can fill your rolls with the resin mixtures. It is worthwhile here to color the resin so there is a contrast between the color of the resin and the color of the wood in the filled areas. Dyes that glow in the dark or under a black light are also exciting possibilities.
After the resin cures, you have to sand the surface.
Application 3: Casting Wood in Resin (Resin Casting)
Beautiful pieces of wood can be completely cast in resin. Pieces of wood with a vivid grain or fine burling are ideal. For example, you can make epoxy jewelry, use the piece of wood for turning, or to create a decorative piece.
Tutorial for Casting Wood in Resin:
There are two possible options for this application:
- You can use a silicone mold. There are special molds for epoxy resin in all shapes and sizes. You place the piece of wood in the desired silicone mold and then pour in the epoxy resin. Depending on the size of the mold, you may need to cast several layers so that the resin doesn’t get too hot. After it cures, carefully pull the mold over the cast piece and use it again and again.
You make a casting mold yourself. For this process, use resin-coated panels that you seal with silicone caulking and then sprayed with silicone oil. If you don’t have coated boards, the resin will bond to the plates and you won’t be able to release the mold.
Coloring Resin to Create Contrast with Wood
Resin can be used when it is transparent, but it can also easily be colored. There is a myriad of possibilities such as transparent colors to metallic effects to opaque liquid colors. Normal acrylic paint won’t work as they contain water. The following paints can be mixed with all epoxy resin:
Color Pigments and Powders
Sanding after Curing
To be on the safe side, we recommend waiting a week before sanding and polishing the resin surface. Seemingly cured resin can be soft under the surface and won’t leave you with a nice finish.
Depending on the size of the object or the surface, you can use sandpaper with a fine grain for small objects. This sandpaper has been useful for this and can be used for dry or wet sanding. You should always sand from course to fine grain so that there are no visible traces of sanding.
For larger surfaces like tables, floors, countertops, etc., you should use an orbital sander for the best results. The orbital sander not only rotates but gives you much finer sanding. Additionally, sanding is done in a fraction of the time and are much less likely to sand unevenly in some places.
The last Step – Polishing, Oiling, and Finishing your Artwork
Epoxy resin does not necessarily require surface treatment. However, depending on the application, the wood next to it is raw and untreated. In addition, fine stress marks in the epoxy resin may still be present and the depth effect is less-than-optimal. In that case, the following procedures can be utilized:
- Take a fine polishing paste on a rag and rub in a circular motion over the epoxy resin. You will polish the surface and eliminate any grind marks present on the surface of the resin. Be careful that the paste is not spread onto the wood, otherwise the pores of the wood will get clogged. For larger surfaces, a orbital buffer / polisher is recommended.
- Wipe the polishing paste away carefully, making sure there is no residue. The surface should now shine beautifully.
- If you are still not satisfied, repeat the first steps.
- Now the wood needs a final treatment. Resin epoxy can also withstand a finish. Use a high-quality wood oil, apply generously with a rag, work in for a few minutes, then wipe dry. You can also use a lacquer. Additional steps are then needed for further polishing at the end.
Processing Challenges – Tips and Tricks
Working with epoxy resin casting has its pitfalls. We have listed the biggest issues for you and will tell you how to avoid or resolve these issues
Does Epoxy Resin bind to Wood?
Yes, epoxy resin generally adheres with nearly all surfaces. The thinner the resin, the more likely it is to penetrate the pores of the wood and adhere to it. Resin with a thick viscosity builds a layer on top instead.
The Epoxy Resin shrinks too much
Resin, especially cheap resin, will shrink during the curing process and can lead to fractures or detachments in the surface. Here is a tip: test how the resin will react on a scrap piece of wood, and if needed, purchase a higher-quality product.
The Epoxy Resin sinks into the Wood
For any porous surfaces such as wood, it is particularly important to seal the surface first. You do not need a separate product for this, rather you can simply apply a thin layer of resin to the wood and let it cure. Then you have perfectly prepared the wood for the final surface treatment.
Several Bubbles in Cast Resin
Air bubbles occur when the two resin components are thoroughly mixed. This can’t really be prevented, but typically they can be removed from the material without a problem: After the casting process you can take a Bunsen burner or hot air gun over the surface in quick motions and the bubbles will rise and disappear. For stubborn bubbles, you can also use a toothpick to break the bubbles. Hair and dust can also be removed this way. It is important that the surface is still liquid and able to level itself back out, however.
Tip: Don’t keep a heat source in one area for too long otherwise the resin will discolor and liquify again. This can lead to unattractive patches.
The optimal Working Temperature
Ideally, you should work with the material at around 20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit and with as little humidity as possible. This will give you the best results and reduce loss of quality. Until the curing is complete, ambient temperatures should remain constant to prevent cracking or unevenness. It is recommended that you read the specifications from the respective manufacturers as they differ from system to system.
The Resin is extremely hot during Casting
Depending on the resin used, the appropriate thickness of each layer is approx. 1cm-2cm (1/3in-3/4in). The resin can start to boil if you cast the layers too thick. For this reason, you should try to pour thin layers and wait until they have hardened, then you can pour the next layer, and so on. This will give you the desired thickness of the surface.
The Epoxy Resin cures too quickly
The different resins have different curing times. Additionally, the guideline applies that the faster the curing process, the greater the mixture quantity. It may then be beneficial to split up the mixture to prevent it from curing prematurely.
Resin appears cloudy after Curing
This could be because of three possibilities:
- The epoxy resin is too old and has exceeded its shelf life.
- You did not follow the exact mixing ratio.
- You are using a low-grade resin.
In order for transparent or crystal-clear epoxy resin to retain its brilliance and transparency, you must purchase a special resin that protects against yellowing. For colored resin, this is not necessary.
Storing Epoxy Resin
Epoxy resin that has not yet been mixed has a relatively short shelf life of around 12 months from production. Therefore upon purchasing, it is important to pay attention to these dates and use the material within this timeframe. To avoid quality loss while storing the product, keep it between 10-30 degrees Celsius (50-86 degrees Fahrenheit).
Is the Cured Epoxy Food Safe?
In its cured state, epoxy resin is chemically neutral and fundamentally suitable for contact with food. It is no coincidence that this material is also used for prosthetics, aquarium decorations, food tanks, coating for kitchen work tops, and much more. However, we recommend that you read the following carefully. This may vary from manufacturer and system. There is a certification that approves use with food, but it is expensive and very few manufacturers use it.
Calculating the required Quantity of Epoxy Resin – the Epoxy Calculator from acrylgiessen
Resin is relatively expensive and mixed resin must be used quickly, which is all the more reason to mix the appropriate quantity. At acrylgiessen.com, we have created a Epoxy Resin Calculator for this purpose to calculate the required amount of resin for a desired area.
Health Advice for Working with Resin
Even if this is not explicitly stated by the resin manufacturer, you should use the product in a well-ventilated room. It is also recommended that you wear a respirator the appropriate filter and use nitril gloves so that you don’t come into contact with potential allergens.
More interesting articles about epoxy resin
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