There are two reasons people look into epoxy resin for wooden tables, countertops, and bar tops: they love art, or they’re looking to make a lot of money!
Whatever your reason is, you have come to the right place. If you have spent the past ten hours binge-watching videos on YouTube, then you know by now that not all epoxies are equal.
Luckily, here at Woodworking Clarity, we have scoured the net for the best epoxy for wood. We considered all the important criteria, from the ease of application to safety, drying time to wood type, and even the quality of the finish.
Best Epoxy for Wood
- Best for Small Projects and Artwork – ArtResin Epoxy Resin
- Best for River Tables – Superclear Epoxy Resin
- Best for Kitchen Countertops – Stone Coat Epoxy Kit
- Editor’s Pick – Pro-Marine Clear Table Top Epoxy Resin
- Best for Bars Table Top – Epox-It 80 Clear Epoxy Resin for Wood
- Best for New Users – Epoxy Resin 1 Gallon Kit
- Best Ready to Use Kit – Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin One Gallon Kit
- Best for Indoor Bars and Stools – RTG Bar & Table Top Epoxy
- Best for Remodeling Jobs – TotalBoat Epoxy Resin Crystal Clear
- Best for Artistic Expression – Art ‘N Glow Epoxy Resin
- Best for DIY Resin Art – SigWong Epoxy Resin
Best Epoxy Resin for Wood Product Reviews (Updated Reviews)
When finding the best epoxy resin for wood, we researched real customer reviews to ensure the epoxies we recommend are well-loved.
1. Best for Small Projects and Artwork – ArtResin Epoxy Resin
- Non-toxic when used as directed. (1 gal kit = 0.5 gal resin + 0.5 gal hardener)
- No VOCs. No BPA. No fumes. Non-flammable. Certified food safe.
- UV and HALS stabilized for unparalleled yellowing protection
- Easy to use 1:1 mixing ratio; 1 gal covers approx. 32 sq ft
- High-gloss. Self-levelling. Formulated specifically for art. Made in USA.
With a name like ArtResin, you can already guess that this epoxy resin was not made for wood. However, it can be used on wood and delivers exceptional results, hence why it’s on our list.
This is one of the easiest products to use, as the mixing formula is just 1 to 1, and it comes with the hardener. Even though it is specifically made for art, it is certified food-safe, so you can use it to finish kitchen table tops, dining tables, chopping boards and other food preparation surfaces for adults and children alike.
One thing you need to look for in a quality product is eco-friendliness, and this has it in spades. This ArtResin epoxy has no VOCs and no fumes, so it can be applied safely indoors, but of course, ensure the place is well ventilated. It also has no bisphenol A (BPA).
As long as you use the product as intended, the manufacturer says it is non-toxic. It is also non-flammable and yields a gorgeous high-gloss finish.
Another feature we like is that it is UV and HALS stabilized, so you don’t have to worry about it yellowing any time soon or the wood changing color over time from exposure to sunlight.
Two features we don’t like are this product has a small coverage area of just 32 sq. ft. and a long curing time of 72 hours. However, it is self-leveling, so you don’t have to monitor it while it cures.
- It is UV and HALS stabilized
- Dries crystal clear
- No VOCs and no fumes
- Food safe
- It is non-toxic
- Small coverage area
- It takes 72 hours to cure
2. Best for River Tables – Superclear Epoxy Resin
- 👍 FORMULATED for River Tables, Live Edge Table,s Countertops and Bar tops! The PERFECT Art Resin for using with Pigment Powder, Mica Powder, Alcohol Ink, Resin Dyes and Resin Tints!
- 👍 SELF-LEVELING & HIGHEST SUPER GLOSS! CLEAR, EASY TO CLEAN, SCRATCH & WATER RESISTANT!
- 👍 HIGHEST UV RESISTANCE! PERFECT Epoxy Resin Color Pigment Mixing Every time!
- 👍 DIY EPOXY KIT MIXER INCLUDES: Clear Epoxy Resin And Hardener!
- 👍 We Are the Original Manufacturer, and We've Been in this Business for over 60 years! 100%MADE IN THE USA!
If you are looking to make a river table, then this product was made for you.
The Super Clear epoxy was created specifically for live-edge tables, countertops, bar tops, and the aforementioned river tables. As a result, it is very durable and perfect for any other practical or artistic wooden project.
What makes this a fantastic art resin (arguably even perfect) is that it can be used with a wide range of dyes and colors, including pigment powder, mica powder, alcohol ink, resin dyes, and resin tints.
Besides wood, you can also use this product on cement, canvas, ceramic, laminate, and granite.
On any surface, it is self-leveling, so you don’t have to worry about smoothing out the mixture during or after application. Once it cures, the Super Clear Table Top Epoxy is food safe.
What really sets this apart is that it has remarkably high UV resistance, so it won’t yellow over time as quickly as other brands.
This product comes with the resin and hardener, which are to be mix in a 1:1 ratio. When working on larger products, be aware that it will heat up a bit during mixing and cure quicker.
The end product is very high gloss, and it is scratch and water-resistant.
- It can be used on a wide range of materials
- It dries ultra-crystal-clear
- Water-resistant and scratch-resistant
- It works with a lot of pigments and dyes
- Not ideal for large projects
- It takes 7 days to cure fully
3. Best for Kitchen Countertops – Stone Coat Epoxy Kit
- CRYSTAL CLEAR – Stone Coat Epoxy cures clear with a sleek, glossy shine! For stunning colorful results, mix your epoxy resin with color additives like Metallic Powder, Mica Powder, Glitter Powder, and Alumilite Liquid Dye!
- HEAT-RESISTANT – Stone Coat Epoxy is heat-resistant up to 470 degrees Fahrenheit for incidental contact, making it perfect for kitchen counters or other large surfaces!
- ZERO VOCs – No VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) means our epoxy can be used safely, without any harmful side effects! Stone Coat Epoxy resin kits are USDA approved without any harsh industrial chemicals!
- SELF-LEVELING – Our Countertop epoxy kits mix at a 1:1 ratio and are completely self-leveling, giving you a perfectly flat and even surface, without any bubbling!
- UV STABLE – Stone Coat Epoxy kits are made to last! Stone Coat Epoxy is UV stable, scratch-resistant, easy to clean, and resistant to yellowing! With the right prep and foundation, you’ll enjoy your new epoxy countertops for years to come!
Every DIYer and contractor hopes for an easy-to-use product, and that’s what Stone Coat delivers. Their countertop epoxy kit not only comes with a hardener but also has Rustoleum spray paint, so you can start creating magic in no time.
You can use this to restore old countertops quickly, and the entire process can be completed in under 48 hours. In addition, this is a great product that can be safely applied indoors because it has zero VOCs. As a result, children and pets can be in the home while you apply it.
When the Stone Coat epoxy fully cures, it is non-toxic, making it perfect for a wide range of projects. It is also food-safe, which is not surprising as this is primarily made for countertops. However, you can also use it for river tables, wood slabs, geodes, coffee tables, and other wooden and stone projects.
For woodworkers looking for an artistic flair, this product is compatible with metallic powder, mica powder, glitter powder, and alumidite liquid dye.
This product has a long drying time of 72 hours before light use. It needs about 5 to 7 days to cure fully. After 30 days, it will be fully UV and heat resistant.
One thing to be cautious of is you only have 45 minutes before the mixture begins to harden, so you have to move quickly when working on large jobs.
- Easy to apply
- UV and heat resistant
- It can be mixed with different pigments and dyes
- It is eco-friendly
- The mixture sets quickly
- Long drying time
4. Editor’s Pick – Pro-Marine Clear Table Top Epoxy Resin
- 💎 PREMIUM CRYSTAL CLEAR EPOXY- Designed for Table Tops, Bars, Wood finishes, See-Through Encapsulations, Art work, only limited by your imagination. Our custom Epoxy formulation allows for minimal bubbles, goes on smooth, helps eliminate fish eyes, craters and various other imperfections. We only offer the best because that is what we use!
- ⭐ USA MANUFACTURED- It is Safe once fully and properly cured, Low odor because we proudly manufacture here so you can rest assured you are getting the very best product produced!
- 💦 EASY 1:1 MIXTURE: Imagine spending hours gathering your materials and spending your money just to have it all wasted because of Epoxy resin that doesn’t Level, is full of bubbles or starts turning yellow. REST ASSURED we’ve already done all the guess work for you. It’s High Gloss, U.V. Resistant, self leveling, the world is your canvas!
- 💪 ROCK HARD VERSATILITY - We ONLY Produce a Tough, High Gloss, Water Resistant Coating so you know when it counts, we have your back!
- 🎯 TEST OF TIME – So many options, hard to decide, we have very knowledgeable customer support staff standing by to support you on your journey! Let us earn your business. So that you know if you’re stuck, we are right here to help coach you along. If this is your first time or a pro we can help with bar tops, tabletops, river tables, jewelry, coffee tables, countertops, serving trays…The list goes on we have pretty much seen it all.
This is one of the most popular epoxy resins on the market and what many consider the best. Pro Marine has a great reputation for high-quality products that stand the test of time.
As you’d expect from the name, the Table Top Epoxy was designed for tabletops, wooden countertops, bars, household furniture, and wood finishes. It can also be used for river tables, surfboards, art installation pieces, and whatever else you can imagine.
This is another easy-to-use product, with a 1:1 mixing ratio of resin and hardener. It is also self-leveling, so you won’t get a lot of bubbles, and it dries smooth.
The high gloss finish is UV-resistant, making it great for indoor and outdoor use. Even though it will yellow eventually as all epoxy resins do, the unique formula means you don’t have to worry about that for years.
Pro Marine clear epoxy is water and scratch-resistant, and it dries hard. In addition, the product is specially formulated to prevent fish eyes, craters, and other common problems with epoxy.
Besides wood, you can also use this on laminate, concrete, granite, porcelain, tile, marble, pennies, stainless steel, copper, and many other products.
- Scratch and water-resistant
- Works great on wood and many other surfaces
- It dries crystal clear and is UV-resistant
- It takes 72 hours to cure
- Short worktime of only 35 minutes
5. Best for Bars Table Top – Epox-It 80 Clear Epoxy Resin for Wood
- Crystal clear, glossy epoxy resin coating for tabletops, artwork, jewelry and more
- Resistant against water, blush and impact, with excellent air release for fewer bubbles
- Guaranteed fresh, quality resin made in the USA
- Self leveling, UV resistant, virtually odorless and clear with a 1:1 mix ratio
- A 1 gallon kit that includes 1/2 gallon of resin and 1/2 gallon of hardener
Next, we have another epoxy resin made for wooden table tops and bar tops. The Epox-It 80 yields a crystal-clear finish that makes it perfect for all routine installations, such as in bars, kitchens, and restaurants. However, it can also be used for river tables, jewelry, and artistic pieces.
Just like every other product mentioned so far, this is made in the USA with fresh resin. The special formula used for this product makes it blush-resistant, water-resistant, and UV-resistant. One unique feature is that it is also impact-resistant, which comes in handy in bars and other places with a lot of activity.
This eco-friendly product is virtually odorless, and once it has fully cured, it is food-safe. As you would expect from a contender for the best epoxy for wood, the Epox-It 80 is self-leveling. It also does a great job of minimizing the air bubbles that are released during application.
This product is sold with a hardener, which should be mixed in a 1:1 ratio. It has a decent working time of 45 minutes, which will give you a bit of time when working on larger projects.
Even though this product is professional-grade, it can easily be used by DIYers using epoxy for the first time. It is best suited for wood and fiberglass.
- Easy to use
- Odorless and food safe
- Blush and impact-resistant
- Water and UV-resistant
- A few complaints about customer service
- Limited range of materials it can work with
6. Best for New Users – Epoxy Resin 1 Gallon Kit
- Super Gloss Durable Finish
- Water resistant
- Self leveling
- Detailed instruction included with each kit
East Coast Resin is a company that takes a lot of pride in simple things. In this case, they take pride in making a highly durable product that anyone can use.
This super gloss product is perfect for tabletops, jewelry, artwork, bars, casting mold, and river tables. While it is primarily made for wooden objects, you can also use it on veneer, stone, metal, painted surfaces, and plastic.
While epoxy resin has a simple application process, minor mistakes can cause discoloration, fish eyes, and craters. To prevent this from happening, East Coast Resin has provided a very detailed instruction manual to ensure even novices get great results when using their product, and the thousands of positive reviews can attest to that.
When the instructions are followed properly, the epoxy resin yields a tough finish. However, you can choose to make the finish slightly softer, depending on what you are using it for, by using less hardener.
Once it has fully cured, this product is water-resistant, UV-resistant, and very durable.
The major drawback with this product is that 1 gallon only covers 25 sq. ft, with a layer thickness of 1.5-2mm. It also has a short working time of 30 to 35 minutes.
- Novices can easily apply it
- It is water and UV-resistant
- It can be used on a wide range of materials
- It comes with a detailed manual
- Small coverage area
- Very short working time
7. Best Ready to Use Kit – Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin One Gallon Kit
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE EPOXY RESIN: Our epoxies are trusted by professionals and hobbyists alike. We pride ourselves on creating epoxy resins that are strong, dependable, and easy to use. TableTop Pro is ultra-clear, self-leveling, and a beautiful high-gloss epoxy resin coating. You'll appreciate the quality and consistency of our product.
- QUALITY YOU CAN TRUST: For over 25 years, MAS Epoxies has taken pride in manufacturing the highest-quality epoxy products available. We proudly manufacture our epoxy resin from start-to-finish in the USA.
- EPOXY RESIN KIT INCLUDES SPREADER & BRUSH: Our 1:1 kit includes 1/2 gallon of Part A (resin), half gallon of Part B (hardener), a 4" spreader, and a 4" brush. Kit makes a great gift for the DIY person in your life!
- NUMEROUS POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS: Our epoxy resin kit works great for a variety of projects. Tabletop, bartop, resin art, and much more! Enjoy a stunning, glass-like clear finish on almost any surface.
- EASY TO APPLY: Application instructions will accompany your purchase to help make your project a success. You can also watch our instructional video which will walk you through how to apply to a table top.
MAS Epoxies takes the term ready-to-use epoxies to a new level by providing some of the tools you’ll need to apply the finish. Their one-gallon kit comes with not only the resin and hardener but also a spreader and a brush.
Besides coming in a convenient package, this is a professional-grade product that amateurs and seasoned pros alike can use. This beautiful, ultra-clear epoxy resin is very durable, high-gloss, and self-leveling.
This has been packaged with novices in mind, as it comes with a detailed instruction manual and video. So whether you are working on a kitchen countertop, bar, river table, resin art, or any other project, you will be confident that it will come out great.
While many manufacturers claim to have good customer service, MAS Epoxies actually does. They have a friendly team you can contact if there are any problems and in more than one instance have replaced a product that didn’t look right.
For the DIY enthusiast on your list, I recommend this Kit as a wonderful wedding present!
Even though this is a great product, it is best for smaller projects. For larger installations, get their deep pour epoxy instead, which has a long application window.
- Easy to use for amateurs and professionals alike
- It comes with additional utensils
- Outstanding customer service
- Very durable and hardens quickly
- It is not very heat resistant
- Not suitable for large projects
8. Best for Indoor Bars and Stools – RTG Bar & Table Top Epoxy
- 2-part, waterproof, ultra-clear epoxy resin coating for bar tops, countertops, and table tops.
- Self-leveling formula cures to a tough, smooth, high-gloss finish that prevents scratches. Color-stable formula resists yellowing.
- Versatile epoxy resin coating can be used for a wide variety of applications. Customize your bar or table top by embedding objects beneath the crystal clear surface, such as photographs, sea shells, coins, or glitter. For an eye-catching 3-D effect, pour multiple thin layers, embedding objects in each layer.
- Simple 1:1 mix ratio by volume. Compatible with colorants for epoxy resin. Apply to properly prepared wood, stone, concrete, metal, and ceramic surfaces that are horizontal and level. Cured material will not blush like other epoxies, and tolerates heat better than varnish.
- Sizes: 2-Quart Kit contains 1 quart resin & 1 quart hardener, Gallon Kit contains ½ gallon resin & ½ gallon hardener. Note: RTG Bar & Table Top Epoxy is not intended for outdoor applications with prolonged exposure to sunlight unless cured epoxy is coated with varnish. Do not place hot items over 125°F on cured surfaces.
One key feature you need for an epoxy table to be used in bars is water-resistant, and that is the first thing the manufacturer highlights. The RTG Bar & Table Top Epoxy is a crystal clear finish that is high gloss, durable and dries to a smooth finish.
It offers excellent UV and heat resistance. However, RTG emphasizes that this product should only be used indoors, as excessive exposure to sunlight will cause the finish to yellow. Also, you should not place items hotter than 125°F on it, making it perfect for bars, toilets and coffee tables.
Clearly, RTG isn’t trying to make a suitable product for all purposes but rather focuses on its niche, which it nails perfectly. When fully cured, this epoxy resin is scratch, blush, stain, and impact-resistant, which is rare for epoxies.
One thing we like about this is the versatility. It can be applied to wood, glass, ceramic, concrete and stone. As a result, you can apply this finish over different objects like seashells, coins, rocks, and even photographs to make your bar come to life.
The kit comes with the resin and a hardener. You can also add any colorants meant for epoxy resin.
- Scratch, stain and impact-resistant
- It can be used over different materials
- Hard cure in just 24 hours
- It is not suitable for outdoor use
- Cannot handle excessive heat
9. Best for Remodeling Jobs – TotalBoat Epoxy Resin Crystal Clear
- CRYSTAL CLEAR, HIGH GLOSS FINISH: Get stunningly clear, beautiful results on bar tops, table tops, and countertops. Ideal for kitchen and bath remodeling projects.
- TWO PART POURABLE EPOXY IS EASY TO USE: Simple 1: 1 mix ratio, easy to tint with mica powder, alcohol ink, and liquid pigments. Self-leveling resin system is easy to pour.
- DURABLE EPOXY RESISTS SCRATCHES AND YELLOWING: Cures smooth as glass at room temperature, with no blushing. 100% waterproof upon full cure.
- WIDE RANGE OF PROJECTS: Get pro results on wood, metal, stone, ceramic and concrete tables, bar tops, countertops as well as resin art, embedding objects, decoupage, casting & other crafting projects.
- PREMIUM QUALITY EPOXY SYSTEM FOR DIY AND PROFESSIONAL MAKERS. BPA-free formula contains no VOCs. Choose this smart alternative to products containing harsh industrial chemicals. 1 Gallon kit includes 1/2 gallon resin & 1/2 gallon hardener. 100% Made in the USA.
When carrying out a remodeling job, you need an epoxy resin that can fit easily on nearly any material you throw it on. This is one area the TotalBoat epoxy excels.
While this product has been made for wood, it can be used on metal, stone, ceramic and concrete without yellowing. It also has no VOCs and is BPA-free, so you can use it in a house with kids and pets.
This two-part pourable epoxy comes with the resin and hardener, which are to be mixed in a 1:1 ratio. Given the ease of application, first-time users, as well as experienced hands, can work with this and get outstanding results.
The epoxy dries crystal clear, does not blush, is high-gloss and self-leveling. These features make it perfect for kitchen and bathroom remodels. It can be used for tabletops, countertops, river tables, resin art, casting and anything else you can imagine.
You can also easily add color using mica powder, alcohol ink or liquid pigments.
When the epoxy resin fully cures, it is 100% waterproof, emphasizing why it is great for kitchens and bathrooms.
- No VOCs and BPA-free
- Versatile application on diverse materials
- It is 100% waterproof
- Scratch-resistant and does not blush
- Small coverage area
- It offers limited UV-resistance
10. Best for Artistic Expression – Art ‘N Glow Epoxy Resin
- Use our clear epoxy resin for all of your casting AND coating applications. Hardens crystal clear and hard as a rock
- Rigorous testing was done to ensure that our resin is a perfect match for all of our glow in the dark and other craft pigments
- Our resin is self leveling, self degassing, odor free, resistant to yellowing from sun exposure, and is made in the U.S.A.
- One to one mix ratio is fool proof and has a forgiving 40 minute work time
- Use to coat tables and bars, encapsulate objects, cast figurines and jewelry, make resin paintings and more
Finally, we come to a product made for artists in mind. The aptly named Art ‘N Glow is another crystal-clear epoxy resin that delivers on its name and function. It dries very hard, is easy to apply and can be applied on a wide range of surfaces and products.
Even though this is meant for wood, it can also be used on paper, canvas, stone, ceramic, rocks, concrete and granite. It can be used to coat tabletops, countertops, bar stools, resin paintings, and jewelry. It can even be used to create figurines, as well as other practical or artistic creations you can fathom.
Another reason artists love this is that it can be used for glowing pieces and produces a glass-like appearance that is extremely durable. This epoxy resin is non-toxic (BPA and VOC free), so younger artists can use it with supervision, of course.
Art ‘N Glow has a simple 1:1 mixing ratio and comes with the resin and hardener. It does not have a strong odor and it resists yellowing, although it should not be left outdoors.
Change the color of the epoxy resin using pearl powder, resin tint, and alcohol tint. The pearl powder provided by the manufacturer has 19 different colors, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect blend with which to express your artistic desires.
You also get a generous 40-minute working window, giving you enough time to flex your creative muscles.
- It can be used on different surfaces
- It can be used with glow in the dark colors
- Long working time
- Mixing powders may settle at the bottom
- Not suitable for large projects
11. Best for DIY Resin Art – SigWong Epoxy Resin
- SigWong art resin kit includes: One 260ml(10oz) bottle of resin and one 260ml(9.1oz) bottle of hardener, 3 x graduated cup, 4 x dropper, 4 x wooden sticks and 2 x gloves, and comes with a detailed instruction manual, which is very suitable for professional artists or beginners.
- Crystal Clear - self leveling and high gloss resistant formula, cures crystal clear and hard as a rock, anti-scratch and anti-yellowing function can make your artwork and DIY projects better protected.
- EASY TO USE - 1:1 ratio by volume, 40 minute work time. With eliminating craters, crawling and fish eyes, which could easily to get a perfectly transparent finish.
- We conducted rigorous testing to ensure that SigWong epoxy resin perfectly matches other hand-made pigments such as epoxy resin dyes, glow in the dark, mica and alcohol ink.The epoxy resin kit is ideal for use in DIY resin art, jewelry making, river tables, crystal clear coating, casting and the others.
- Please read the attached manual carefully before use. If you have any questions or are not satisfied with our epoxy resin kit, please contact us.
Becoming a master of epoxy resin is a skill that pays tremendous dividends. However, you will need time and experimentation to get to that level, and that’s precisely what this kit is meant for.
The SigWong Epoxy Resin kit comes with the resin, hardener, graduated cops, stirring sticks, a dropper, and even a pair of gloves. The small pack is also all you need to get started with your DIY wood crafts.
Even though this is novice-friendly, it is professional-grade and has exceptional features.
For starters, this is a self-leveling, high-gloss finish that yields a mirror-like effect on river tables, frames and artworks. The formula is anti-yellowing, scratch-resistant and rock-solid. This finish is also designed to prevent catering, fish eyes and crawling.
As you would expect, the mixing ratio is 1:1, and thanks to the graduated cups provided, you’re unlikely to get this wrong. To make it even easier to use, SigWong has included a detailed manual.
This is a stellar finish that can be used for creative exercises like casting and jewelry making but can also be used as a clear coat. If you want to change the color, it is compatible with epoxy resin dyes, glow in the dark, mica, and alcohol ink.
You also get a generous work time of 40 minutes.
While most people are happy with this product, there are a few reports of the epoxy not curing and the graduated cups being unreliable.
- It comes with different application tools
- No VOCs or BPA
- Anti-yellowing and scratch-resistant
- User friendly
- A few reports of the tools being unreliable
- The resin and hardener are not the same quantity
Epoxy for Wood Comparison Table
How to Choose the Best Epoxy for Wood Countertops and River Tables
With 11 options on our list alone to choose from, narrowing down the right epoxy for your project can be tricky. To help you find the best one, here are the most important factors to consider.
The purpose of an epoxy resin is to give a beautiful glow, so this is the best place to begin. Gloss refers to the brightness of the finish, or to put another way, how well it dances in the light. So the glossier the finish, the prettier the table will be.
You would have noticed from the manufacturers’ bios how they brag about the gloss. Some call it high-class, while others say super high gloss or some other iteration. They are basically trying to catch your attention.
Terms to look for are high-gloss and crystal clear, either of which would look great. Of course, how well you finish the table will impact how much of the gloss shines through, but the glossier it is, the less skill you need to make it shine.
How to finish a wood and epoxy table like a pro – https://youtu.be/OOrSIKFMGrY
Epoxy resin is a thick chemical that is impossible to mold once it hardens. Therefore, you must get it as level as possible during the application process.
As a result, you should only use a self-leveling finish. That way, you don’t have to worry about trying to flatten the resin as it dries.
If it doesn’t level, it also means you have to monitor the resin constantly while it dries. Luckily, all of the options on our list are self-leveling. Unfortunately, however, they don’t all level at the same depth.
Any epoxy resin that levels at 1/8 inches is pretty good. Super Clear can go as deep as ¼ inches per pour. If you are working on a huge project, you might want to use a deep pour epoxy, as these can level at 2 inches.
Scratch and impact-resistance
River tables have become very popular recently because of their timeless beauty. However, they are also meant to be functional – used as countertops, dining tables, or even kitchen islands.
If you can’t risk dropping keys, plates, or feeding bottles on the table, it is pretty much useless. That is why another factor you can’t compromise on is scratch and impact resistance.
While all epoxy resins dry really hard, some are better than others at withstanding torture. Given the mirror-like finish of an epoxy table, scratch resistance is vital because even the slightest line will show through like a nose pimple.
If you see many reviews about a product showing scratches, stay away, even if it’s cheap.
Most wood finishes aren’t resistant to ultraviolet rays. That’s because these finishes are meant for interior use, and epoxy resin is no exception. When exposed to UV rays, epoxy changes color. The discoloration could be mild (slight ambering) or extreme (turns brown).
Seeing as manufacturers know that you might want to show off the full beauty of your river table in natural light, some of them make their products UV-resistant. If you’re making a small table that will occasionally go outdoors, this feature is a must.
That said, epoxy resin is still mainly for interior use, and you can’t find one that is perfectly UV-resistant. So, you need to ensure you don’t leave the table outdoors permanently.
However, if you’re building a river table for your dining room or a countertop, then any UV-resistant option should suffice.
This is one feature that can be slightly annoying. As you know, there are two parts to epoxy resin: the resin and the hardener. These are usually sold in the same quantity, and you may have noticed that all of the products on our list come with a 1:1 mixing ratio.
This means to get your epoxy resin; you should mix the same ratio of resin to hardener. For some odd reason, this isn’t always the case. Some products have a mixing ratio of 100:60, or even more bizarre, 100:45.
In some of these instances, the manufacturer will pre-package each part to the correct quantity. Otherwise, you would need to do the calculations yourself.
Ensure you mix it as recommended by the manufacturer, whether by volume or by weight.
The beauty of river tables is the different colors you can mix to create the perfect blend. However, you should note that not all epoxy resins can be dyed.
If all you want is a crystal clear finish, then you can completely ignore this. Otherwise, you should not only consider if it can be dyed but also how.
From our list, you will see that Super Clear Epoxy Resin provides a range of coloring options from powder to ink, dyes, and tints. On the other hand, MAS doesn’t mention that color can be added, even though it can.
If coloring is a deal-breaker, then skim through the list to find the ones that tell you the dying options, so you don’t have to do more research to find out.
Ideally, you should look for a finish that can work with powder and liquid dyes. Some people prefer working with powder, while others choose the latter.
Household chemicals are beneficial but are also quite toxic. While this isn’t something we tend to prioritize when buying finishes, it should.
Epoxy resin is a skin irritant, so it should always be applied with gloves. Besides that, it can also cause breathing difficulties, whether you have an underlying respiratory condition or not. That is why you should also use a respirator during application and curing.
That is why you should use less toxic products, especially if you are doing this in an active home. ArtResin does exceptionally well in this regard. Beside being VOC-free, it also doesn’t contain bisphenol A (BPA).
If you have small kids in the house and you are worried about their exposure to BPA, then this is a great brand to get. Also, ensure that the epoxy resin is food safe if you use it as a table or countertop.
- Coverage area
A common factor when buying wood finishes is price. However, when it comes to epoxy resin, this can be misleading for the simple fact that gallons of the same size don’t necessarily cover the same area.
At 1/8 inch thickness, you can get as little as 12 sq. ft per gallon, up to 32 sq. ft per gallon. So, even though one product can cover more than twice as much surface area, it probably won’t be twice as expensive.
Before you buy the epoxy resin, it would help to calculate the quantity you need. Watch the video below for a simple process.
Given how much time epoxy resin takes to dry, this could have been placed higher. However, a lot of the high-end products take roughly the same length of time.
Most products dry between 24 – 72 hours. However, you need to wait for 7 days before it cures fully. At this stage, you can remove the mold and plane the surface without fear of cracks developing.
Note: some epoxy resins boast a drying time of just 30 minutes and a full cure in 24 hours. However, these are typically for small projects like artworks and not river tables.
Finally, we have another essential feature, which could have been placed higher. Bubbling is a woodworker’s nightmare. They ruin the most beautiful projects and often seem unpreventable.
The problem with bubbles in epoxy is two-fold:
- The bubbles can form between the wood and the resin, which prevents a strong bond. Over time, the gap will get wider and compromise the integrity of the table.
- The bubbles are not pretty and make the job look tragic. Plus, it also compromises the strength of the epoxy resin.
That is why producers work hard to create finishes with anti-bubbling properties. So, why did I place such an important feature last?
Well, that’s because the bubbles still show. The brand you use might reduce the number of bubbles, but it won’t remove it entirely. What is more important is learning how to apply epoxy resin to minimize bubbling.
Common problems to watch out for when using epoxy resin
Every wood finish has its pros and cons, even those that seem close to perfect, like epoxy. While learning from experience teaches lessons that are impossible to forget, it’s always better (and cheaper) to learn from the mistakes of others.
Here are some of the things that can go wrong with epoxy resin and how to fix/prevent them.
Formation of bubbles
We continue from where we left off in the previous section. Every liquid has bubbles, but they usually rise to the surface. However, due to the thickness of epoxy, this isn’t always the case.
Just like with polyurethane and other wood finishes, bubbles tend to appear when the epoxy resin is applied hastily, or you don’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Interesting: Can you put polyurethane over epoxy resin
As mentioned before, anti-bubbling features can reduce the presence of bubbles, but they certainly cannot eliminate it. For example, to minimize the chance of bubbles:
- Leave the epoxy to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes after mixing both parts.
- Use a heat gun on the bubbles that form in the bucket after mixing.
- Seal the edges of the wood.
- Pour it in slowly, and don’t allow it to splash around.
- Apply thin layers. Some products can only be poured up to a depth of 1/8 inch, while others can handle 2 inches or more.
If the bubbles appear after application, use a heat gun to burst them quickly. If the bubbles show up after the epoxy has dried, you can sand them or scrape them out before topping up with more epoxy.
When you mix and apply epoxy resin, it forms an exothermic reaction. What that means is that the finish gets hot. If it gets too hot, the epoxy will crack. That is why you have to monitor the temperature every few hours closely.
Pouring layers that are too thick can also cause the temperature to spike. One of the easiest ways to prevent cracking is to use a fan to cool it down.
If you are too late and it cracks, the solution will depend on how bad it is.
If the epoxy has split in two, you can either use an adhesive to keep it together or start all over. Otherwise, you can sand down or dig up the crack and fill it with new epoxy. This is not as straightforward as it sounds, and it is expensive, so try to prevent cracks as much as possible.
Have you noticed how manufacturers keep talking about how clear their products are? Well, that’s because they want you to ignore that epoxy resin will amber over time. This happens due to UV exposure, even for UV-resistant products.
Another common form of discoloration is when the hardening agent turns red. Luckily, you can see this before you mix it. Obviously, you shouldn’t try to use it in this state, even if you will put dye in it.
Speaking of which, adding color is an excellent way to hide the ambering of the river table over time.
After all, it is one of the reasons some people choose to do so.
Sadly, there is no way to reverse discoloration from UV exposure. The best you can do is take good care of the table by keeping it away from sunlight as much as possible. It is also worth noting that the ambering can actually make the work look pretty in some instances, so it’s not altogether a bad thing.
Imperfections on the surface
It is amazing how much dust there is all around us. What is even more impressive is how skilled these particles are at locating freshly applied wood finish.
Given how long epoxy resin takes to dry, it is not surprising that dust and other particles can settle on the surface and make it look dirty.
To prevent this from happening, ensure you work in a clean environment and properly dispose of the dust from sanding.
To get rid of the imperfections, sand down the epoxy before applying another layer. Seeing as you would need to sand the surface anyway before pouring the next layer, this problem is usually not a concern unless your workspace is really dusty.
The epoxy doesn’t cure
Epoxy resin takes a long time to cure, but it is typically quite hard in 72 hours. If after seven days it still hasn’t cured, then you might have a severe problem on your hands.
There are several reasons why the finish won’t cure, with the most common ones being the temperature and improper mixing.
The ideal temperature range for applying epoxy resin is 75-85F. If it’s too hot, it can crack. If it’s too cold, it will take a long time to cure, or it might not cure at all.
You can solve this by increasing the temperature in the room using a space heater or an HVAC system. As you do so, keep an eye on the temperature of the epoxy too.
If the finish isn’t curing because you didn’t get the ratio right, you will need to start all over as this piece isn’t fit for use.
Is epoxy resin water-resistant?
Yes, epoxy resin is water-resistant. That is one of the reasons why it is prevalent for art and woodworking. In addition, epoxy resin dries very hard and is airtight, so it also won’t leak.
As a matter of fact, epoxy resin is popular with boat makers because of its superior water resistance.
How do you keep epoxy resin from soaking into wood?
You need to seal the surface of the wood to prevent the epoxy resin from soaking into it. You can seal the edges of the wood using fast-drying epoxy.
To seal the top of the wood when making river tables, use shellac.
How do you remove bubbles?
To remove the bubbles that form on the surface of the epoxy, use a heat gun. Be careful to pass the flames over quickly as you don’t want to overheat the finish, as this can cause it to crack.
If the bubbles show after drying, scrape or sand the surface of the epoxy resin to expose the air pockets, then fill it with new epoxy.
How much epoxy should I pour at a time?
Most epoxies are self-leveling at 1/8 inch thickness, while deep pour epoxy can go up to 1.5 inches. Of course, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you pour more than the recommended depth, the epoxy might overheat and may not level properly.
Nothing but the Best Epoxy
With so many great options to choose from, it is hard to narrow down the best epoxy for wood. That being said, the product that offers the perfect blend of versatility and durability is the Pro Marine.
It is easy to use, making it great for pros and amateurs alike. Even better, you can apply it to a wide range of surfaces. It is also food-safe, water, scratch, heat and UV-resistant.
All of these features are hard to beat, even though the Super Clear epoxy resin gave it a run for its money.
Let us know if you found this review helpful and which of these products you have tried and tested.