Creating beautiful wooden table tops does not just require woodworking skills. It also needs brilliant work and you using one of the best epoxy resin to give it that glossy and high shine finish which we all come to associate with river tables. Although you can use stains and other types of paint jobs, most of these are not long term options because they tend to get damaged and required touch-ups on a regular basis.
This is not the case with epoxy resins. A good resin can not only give your table a lustrous finish, but it can also help you make the table resistant to scratching, wear and tear, liquid damage, yellowing, staining, UV damage, etc. However, to get the best results, you need to be very careful choosing your epoxy resin, because there are a lot of products in the market that do massive damage to your beloved projects.
That is why, we have compiled this list of the best epoxy resins in the market right now. Read on to find out the absolute best products in this category.
Best Epoxy Resins for wood
1. RTG : Best Epoxy Resin Overall
This moderately priced, two-part epoxy resin is one of the most affordable products that does not compromise on quality. It creates a very durable and glossy, clear coating on the surface which is resistant to stains, scratches, and moisture after finishing and drying. The resin is also self-leveling, and therefore quite easy to use. Even when you use it with embedded objects, there is no hassle.
The product does not blush and resists bubbling. Even if there are air pockets, they naturally rise to the surface and you can use a hair dryer to get rid of any stubborn blemishes. The final finish of the product is UV resistant, but you should still not use it for outdoor furniture because being exposed to sunlight for a long time will damage the product.
The final finish of the product is of excellent quality and prevents water damage and yellowing as well. You'll find it quite easy to mix and use the two-part formula, because there is enough work time. The whole thing takes about 24 hours to cure and even if you use multiple thin pours, you will get a flawless finish.
2. West system : Best Premium Pick
The west system epoxy resin includes a bottle of epoxy resin, slow epoxy hardener, and a pack of three epoxy metering pumps. This resin features an extremely versatile epoxy system that is low in viscosity and strong after hardening. Besides using it for woodworking projects, you can also use it for boat building, composite instructions, and repairs which include bonding, filling, waterproof coating, and high strength materials.
The resin is very great to wet the surface on which it is applied and you can easily modify it according to the project at hand and your working conditions. Moreover, the product does not show any shrinking after curing, and does not have any volatile solvents which may damage your health.
It also has a high flashpoint, no strong odor, and once it is cured, it produces a moisture resistant, high strength, and rigid material that has excellent bonding properties and barrier coating properties. However, be mindful that this product is not meant for clear coating.
Using the material is easy enough, you just need to mix 5 parts of epoxy resin to one part of hardener material. It also has a good working time and you won't have to spend a lot of time waiting for it to cure either.
3. Dr. Crafty : Best Pick under Budget
This resin has been specifically designed for artists and woodworkers. You get a 16-ounce bottle of resin and a bottle of hardener of the same amount in this kit. If you are just getting started with using epoxy resin, this is a great product for you as it also comes with bonus accessories to make the whole process easier for you.
For instance, you get cups for pouring and measuring, 5 wooden sticks for stirring the mixture, and a plastic spatula. Since the product is to be used in a 1:1 ratio, it is also quite easy to mix everything and get started. You get 45 minutes off working time with this product, which is quite generous. The product is also self-leveling and creates a high gloss finish.
It is also completely resistant to yellowing and does not contain any toxic products, so it is completely safe to use. It's also completely UV resistant, strong and durable. However, there is one drawback to this product - it takes nearly 24 hours to dry completely, which can be a bit cumbersome.
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Other Great Picks
This epoxy resin from Prima loc he's an outstanding product because of its distinctive quality. You do not need to brush or stir this product when you are applying it to a surface. Since it has self-leveling properties to exactly 1/8 of an inch, you just need to pour and you're done.
However, before doing this, you will need to apply a preliminary, thin layer of the resin. This is the seal coat and it will remove any roughness on the surface. It also allows the next quote of the resin to self-level in a much quicker fashion. Be careful because this product dries a little too fast.
The product is completely free of volatile organic compounds, so you can rest assured that it will not harm you or anyone in your house. It also offers maximum clarity, compared to its competitors. If you are going to do a lot of layering work, the resin is quite suitable for such projects as well. It should be noted that you cannot use this resin for coating outdoor use furniture, because it starts yellowing when left in the hot sun.
5. Pro Marine
Undoubtedly one of the most durable epoxy resins in the market, this product by pro marine supplies also has a formula that does not contain any vocs. This means that the resin is completely free of substances that may cause respiratory issues or cancer.
Besides being safe to use, the resin is also offering one of the largest coverage areas, that is, 48 square feet. The resin is completely blush resistant as well and comes with UV protection. Once the product is cured, you will notice that it is unquestionably one of the hardest curing substances.
It is also water resistant and has been dubbed as food safe by the FDA. For application, you will need to be a little careful as the working time is not that long. Moreover, when you are mixing the product, you need to make sure that the room is not hotter than 80 degrees and that you mix it for at least 10 minutes.
Keep an eye on the temperature the entire time and do not start pouring until it has reached 92 to 93 degrees. If you follow this method, and only use the mixture after the epoxy has heated up a little bit, you will get a surface that is harder and completely scratch resistant.
6. Better boat
Made in the USA and known all over the world for its exceptional quality, Better Boat offers an epoxy resin that is premium in quality and is held up to the highest market standards. The product features two parts - the half gallon bottle of epoxy and 1/2-gallon bottle of hardener.
Whether you want to make tabletops, or any other kind of art projects - this product offers you a smooth, hard, and a crystal-clear finish that is simply unparalleled.
If you are especially interested in making river tables, this is a holy grail product for you because it offers a high gloss, clear coating which is super hard and will last a very long time. The cured product is also UV resistant and does not lose its shine and luster even after years.
You can also restore the old surfaces that have gone dull with this product. All you need to do is sand the original surface a little bit and apply a coat of this product. The ultimate result will be a crystal-clear top. Moreover, working with the resin is also extremely easy because it offers plenty of working time and 100% self-eliminated bubbles.
7. UV PRO
The crystal-clear epoxy resin by Incredible Solutions is a terrific product which you can use for creating gorgeous table tops, filling cracks, and repair work. It mixes perfectly, cure within 6 hours, and results in the formation of a surface that is smooth, glossy, hard, and levelled.
It is quite easy to use this product, and the company even gives you detailed, step-by-step instructions for the job. The resin is UV protected, and does not leave any bubbles on the surface once it is cured.
There is also no yellowing of the final finished surface even after a long time. It's quite durable too – and since it is resistant to scratches and blemishes; you can rest assured that your lovely table top will not be easily damaged.
The epoxy also gives you protection from any accidents as it is impact resistant and waterproof once the curing process is finished. And because you only have to remember to mix 1 part of the resin with one part of the hardener – there is no chance of messing up the mixing ratios. However, one thing worth remembering is that if you stir the mixture too quickly, there will be too many bubbles.
This is one of the most affordable epoxy resins for wood, and despite its cheap price, this product stands out because of its excellent quality and unparalleled durability. However, be warned that this is not the easiest product to use. On the plus side though, if you are willing to get your hands a little dirty, you will get a finish that is simply not achievable with any other product.
The product comes with a curing time of 40 minutes, which is 10 minutes less than regular epoxy resins. If you are an experienced professional, you may find this perfectly okay. However, for people who are new to using this material, the reduction in 10 minutes of working time can be quite cumbersome.
Another possibly problematic feature of this product is that it takes a little over 24 hours to finish curing, which may be a little too long for some people. However, once the product has finished curing, what you get is a high gloss, UV protected, durable finish that is a delight to look at.
The product also comes with features like self-leveling, low odor, and FDA graded food safety features. All in all, it is a pretty good product once you have actually finished the curing process. But the lack of working time and prolonged curing time may be deal breakers for some people.
This is, by far, one of the quickest curing epoxy resins on this list. There are very few products that can compete with the 30-minute working time of East Coast epoxy resin. The total cure time of this product also sits at 16 to 20 hours, depending on how many layers you have applied - which is quite manageable.
However, the application of the product may be a little bit problematic, especially if this is your first-time mixing epoxy. The product needs more consistency in its mixing process function properly, compared to other products. If you, for instance, stir the mixture too much - there are bound to be lots of bubbles and other potential issues during the curing process.
Having said that, this epoxy resin does offer a lot of advantages like UV protection, water resistance, self-leveling, high gloss, and odor less application. And the product has finished curing, it is also one of the hardest and most beautiful looking finishes we have ever seen.
The most unique feature of this particular product is that it is probably the only resin that can boast of offering you 100% protection from water. This means that no matter how many times you accidentally spill or drink on your tabletop, you can rest assured that the cured resin will not be damaged.
Moreover, since this is one of the few resins that can also handle boiling temperatures without any damage - the above claim is not limited to cold drinks only.
This means that even if you spill hot tea or coffee, there will not be a single mark on the resin. The product is also completely immune to bubble formation during the mixing process, or blushes after you have finished curing.
It offers a clear and glossy coat, self-leveling properties that minimize labor during the working process, and fast curing time.
The few disadvantages of this product are that if you apply this resin to an outdoor furniture or work piece, it will not hold up well to the constant sun damage. In fact, the TotalBoat people tree is probably one of the worst products when it comes to outdoor performances.
The application process of the resin is also a little bit complicated - but this is not a huge issue.
Here are a few ways that can help you buy an absolutely great epoxy resin for your woodworking projects:
Do not buy your epoxy resins from just about anybody. Although they can be quite cheap, the damage done by a resin that doesn't quite work the way it is supposed to can be monumental. To get off to the right start, pick a brand name product that you have heard before.
However, if you are a beginner this might be difficult for you because you may not recognize any of the brand names. In that case, you can ask your fellow woodworkers, or search on the internet and see which products are the most recommended. You can also look up youtube videos, or check amazon reviews of the product.
There's a good chance that most of these platforms will be recommending the same couple of brands. If you are still confused, all the products mentioned above in this list are completely trustworthy.
Let's say that you do not know any woodworkers, or the products recommended on the internet are not available in your area. If you are completely on your own, start looking for companies that have a good track record, especially with making epoxy. If a company has long standing experience in a particular area, they are bound to have gotten the formula right.
This is not to say that newer companies should be completely rejected. There are many new brands that are simply brilliant, but without testaments from people you know personally or experts on the internet, it is not worth trying a new company, no matter how persistent they are with their excellent claims.
If you already know a brand that manufactures a variety of different products and you already trust them, you can also buy epoxy resin from them if they happen to make it. Established brands that have good reputation and have developed a good image in your eyes are more likely to be succeeding in the epoxy resin market too, even if you don't personally know this.
Yes epoxy resin can be used on wood. It helps in waterproofing the wood which otherwise would be prone to many problems. Epoxy resin also helps to seal the wood.
The best resin for wood turning are Orthophthalic resins because of their quality of harder than the usual epoxy. Users can even use polyester resin which is a great option and produces no smell unlike orthophthalic resins.
Yes, there are multiple differences between epoxy and resin. Epoxy gets hard quicker than resin. Epoxy is usually more expensive than resin. Epoxy only takes a maximum of 30 minutes to cure compared to resin which takes 8-10 hours.
At the end of the day, most of the epoxy resins mentioned above are truly the best in the market. whether you are getting on the basis of the finish, price, or coverage – you will not be disappointed by any of them. Having said that, some are definitely more beginner-friendly than others, and some of a bit on the more expensive side compared to others. So when it comes to choosing the best epoxy resins for wood, make sure to choose wisely based on your own requirements and your experience with using the epoxy.