If I were to ask a room full of wood workers who has ever used, or seen epoxy in use, there is very good odds that most, if not all would raise their hands! Epoxy has become a growing trend over the last few years and has become a commonly incorporated product in many wood workers, and craft makers “tool box”. The ease of use and its ability to take an un-usable piece of wood destined for the fire pit and turn it into a work of art, makes it a very valuable material for wood workers. In our business, we use epoxy almost daily in various projects, from filling voids in wood to large 20+ gallon epoxy pours! Working with epoxy can be more intimidating than it actually is, therefore we would like to cover some of the fundamentals, or 101s of working with epoxy and common mistakes that you might run into.
One thing to note is, all these tips are in regards to Super Clear Epoxy. This is the epoxy we use on all of our projects. No this is not a sales pitch and we were not asked by Super Clear to write this blog post. It is our honest opinion that Super Clear Epoxy has been the best epoxy to work with (and we have tried a lot of different brands in our time!).
First, I would like to start out by talking about Liquid Glass Deep Pour. Deep Pour can be used on epoxy pours up to 4-inches thick (examples include: charcuterie boards, river tables, and Dining tables). When mixing Deep Pour, always measure to a 2:1 ratio, that is 2-parts resin (Part A) and 1-part activator (Part B). You will want to mix these together in a clean, dry bucket or cup for at least 5 minutes while scraping the sides and bottom to make sure it is fully mixed. Once the epoxy is mixed you can add your pigment or dye and stir until the pigment is fully mixed in. After this step you are ready to pour the epoxy into your mold! With Deep Pour you need to wait at least 3 days before removing the project from the mold. I know the wait can be hard, but you do not want to run the risk of ruining your project. Of course, temperature always plays a role in how fast or slow the epoxy cures but we will talk about this in a little bit.
Second, we will go over Table Top epoxy. Table Top can be used on pours up to ¼ inch thick (examples include: thin bottom layers, flood coats, and coasters). When mixing Table Top always measure to a 1:1 ratio, that is 1-part resin (Part A) and 1-part activator (Part B). You will want to mix in a clean, dry bucket or cup for at least 3 minutes while scraping the sides and bottom to make sure it is fully mixed together. Once the epoxy is mixed you can add your pigment or dye and stir until the pigment is fully mixed in. After this step you are ready to pour the mixture into your mold! With Table Top you need to allow it to cure 24-hours before removing the project from the mold. Again, you want to make sure to wait until the epoxy is fully cured and hard to the touch to avoid the risk of ruining your project.
The final piece we would like to cover, and this is not a fun one especially if you are on the receiving end is epoxy mistakes. We will be the first to raise our hands when asked if you have ever made a mistake with epoxy. It will happen at some point! When it comes to mistakes, in our experience one of the biggest ones you will see happen is not measuring the proper ratio or not stirring long enough. If epoxy is not mixed exactly as the directions say then it will never fully cure resulting in negative effects. Some of these effects can be “tacky” epoxy, or the inability for the epoxy to fully cure. Another factor that can cause epoxy problems is weather/temperature. In cold weather, below 65 degrees, epoxy will tend to thicken while in the original containers. Don’t worry, this is normal! In order to correct this, we will use 5-gallon buckets and fill them with warm water and let the epoxy containers sit in the buckets for about 30-min to 1-hour or until the epoxy has warmed up. Once the epoxy has warmed, you can begin the mixing process. Because our shop is near impossible to keep warm in the winter months, we have been using seed growing mats underneath our epoxy pours to keep them warm. Using these mats, we are able to have our epoxy project cure within the proper time frame, even though our shop is not the proper temperature. Cold weather is not the only weather challenge we face, warm weather can also affect epoxy projects. Temperatures above 84 degrees can result in quicker curing, shrinking and lots of bubbles causing clarity issues. In the hot summer months, we make sure the molds are elevated and will have fans nearby the pours to create cooler air flow. Just remember, warmer epoxy will always cure faster than cooler epoxy.
After hearing this information, if you are interested the materials we use for epoxy pours we have placed some links below. There are certainly many options but these are the ones we use daily!
As always if you ever have questions feel free to reach out to us! Thank you for reading 😊