Wood, with its timeless grace and quiet strength, weaves its way into our lives in countless forms. From the floorboards to heirlooms passed down through generations, wood tells stories.

But, as the years pass, even the mightiest oak can succumb to the relentless march of time. Here, the unsung hero of woodcraft: the wood hardener, enters.

It’s the magic that breathes life back into weary, weathered timber. A guardian against decay, and a friend to every wooden wonder that’s seen better days.

Right at the heart of my exploration of the best wood hardeners in the market, is the Abatron LiquidWood 2 Pink Kit which shines as the best overall.

Bid farewell to rot and fragility, and say hello to enduring elegance as we delve into the art and science of wood hardening.

Our Top Picks

Best Wood Hardener

  1. Best Overall Wood HardenerAbatron LiquidWood 2 Pint Kit
  2. Best Bang for the BuckPC Products Water-Based Wood Hardener
  3. Most Professional GradeMinwax 41700000 High-Performance Wood Hardener
  4. Fastest Drying Wood HardenerBondo Rotted Wood Restorer
  5. Most Easy to UseElmer’s Rotted Wood Stabilizer
  6. Most Durable Wood HardenerJ-B Weld 40001 Wood Restore Liquid Hardener
  7. Best for Outdoor ApplicationsSystem Three RotFix Wood Restoration Rot Repair
  8. Best for Quick FixesNIUB Resin,19Oz Epoxy Resin and Hardener Kit

8 Best Wood Hardeners – Updated List

With wood hardeners, picking one off the shelf is a pretty hard choice to make. You don’t want to end up with a product that is difficult to work with or one that only hardens the rotten wood for a short while.

With that in mind, we have taken the time to comb through the market and present you with the best wood-hardening products from trusted brands.

1. Best Overall Wood Hardener– Abatron LiquidWood 2 Pint Kit

Abatron LiquidWood 2 Pint Kit – 2-Part Structural Epoxy...
  • REPAIR DAMAGED WOOD: Penetrates and restores the strength of worn and deteriorated wood. This wood epoxy works on windows, doors, trim, columns, posts, and other wood elements. Permanently repairs damage caused by weather and poor design.
  • FOR INDOOR AND OUTDOOR USE: Use for both exterior and interior repairs. When used in conjunction with our WoodEpox wood replacement compound, this kit makes permanent, strong, structural, and shrink-free repairs.
  • GREENGUARD CERTIFIED: This product contains almost no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and does not have water or solvents. It has a low odor and is a clean, safe wood repair soluiton for both the user and the environment.

Abatron LiquidWood 2 Pint Kit doesn’t just repair damaged wood; it rejuvenates it. It penetrates into the fibers of weathered and deteriorated wood, resurrecting their strength.

From windows to doors, trim, columns, and posts, this kit tackles it all. It’s the remedy for the havoc wreaked by the elements and shoddy craftsmanship.

In the world of wood hardeners, I’ve seen my fair share, but none come close to Abatron’s prowess. The moment this epoxy-based solution touched the damaged wood, I knew I was dealing with something exceptional.

Its 30-45 minute working time ensures precise application. Within hours, my treated wood had transformed into a fortress of strength.

Abatron LiquidWood sets itself apart with its structural and shrink-free repairs. It’s a permanent solution that ensures your wood remains intact for years to come.

And while it may bear a higher price tag, it’s an investment in the longevity and beauty of your wood projects. I’ve tested various wood hardeners, and the value this kit provides is unparalleled.

If you are wondering why this liquid wood hardener is regarded as a kit, well, that is because it comes as a set containing epoxy wood consolidant and two other mixable substances.

So, if you’re looking for the best wood hardener that transcends the ordinary, look no further. Abatron LiquidWood is the pinnacle of wood hardening excellence.

It delivers impeccable results for both the user and the environment. It’s more than a kit; it’s a key to unlocking the full potential of your wood restoration projects.

What I Liked Most

  • Compatible with most wood fillers
  • Suitable for all wood types
  • Nearly invisible finish
  • Versatile. It can be used in exterior and interior applications

What Could Be Improved

  • Challenging to work with on a vertical surface
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Requires mixing with other substances



2. Best Bang for the Buck – PC Products PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener

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PC Products PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener, 1 gal,...
3,603 Reviews
PC Products PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener, 1 gal,...
  • Wood Hardener repairs wood damaged by insects or rot
  • It is a liquid that is brushed, sprayed or injected into the pores of the wood
  • No mixing

The PC Products PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener also stands out among the many hardeners I have tried. First and foremost, it’s an environmentally friendly option, a feature that’s worth its weight.

What sets it apart is its lower toxicity compared to the majority of wood hardeners out there. You won’t need to fret about inhaling hazardous fumes or dealing with overly toxic substances.

But there’s more to its charm than just being gentle on the environment. This wood hardener is incredibly versatile.

In fact, it moonlights as an outdoor primer, which means you can bid farewell to the hassle of removing old paints when working on your projects.

Speaking from my own experience, I’ve found it to be a real game-changer. And don’t even get me started on its prowess when it comes to handling insect-damaged, deteriorating wood.

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: price. The PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener is the most budget-friendly option.

While the first product may be the most expensive, this one doesn’t compromise on quality despite its affordability.

So, if you’re on a budget and looking for a wood hardener that’s gentle on the environment, versatile, and incredibly effective, go for this.

What I Liked Most

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Affordable
  • Thick consistency
  • Can be applied by spraying, injecting, or brushing
  • Preps surface for filling, painting, and priming.
  • Doubles as a primer

What Could Be Improved

  • Not suitable for structural repairs
  • Not compatible with some common wood fillers



3. Most Professional Grade – Minwax 41700000 High-Performance Wood Hardener

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pt Minwax 41700 High Performance Quick Dry Wood Hardener
1,914 Reviews
pt Minwax 41700 High Performance Quick Dry Wood Hardener
  • Is a quick drying liquid formulated to strengthen and reinforce decayed or rotting wood
  • The hardener penetrates deep into the wood and its special resin binds and reinforces the decayed wood fibers
  • High Performance Wood Hardener seals from further moisture penetration and hardens to a rock hard solid base for lifting

I’ve also had the chance to put this wood-hardening champion to the test in another project. It earns its reputation as the absolute best professional grade, a title it has held for decades.

This is not your run-of-the-mill wood hardener; it’s a premium, high-performance solution that won’t break the bank. Minwax has a track record of delivering top-notch products for reviving and restoring deteriorating wood, and their Minwax 41700000 is no exception.

This wood hardener exceeded my expectations. It’s a high-performance marvel for several reasons.

Not only does it dive deep into the heart of rotted wood, but it also moonlights as a sealer. Once it dries, it forms an unyielding foundation, adding strength to the wood’s surface.

But here’s the icing on the cake: the finish it leaves behind is nothing short of exceptional. When you apply Minwax wood hardener to a deteriorating surface, you can rest assured that the end result will be splendid.

However, let’s not sugarcoat it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. One drawback worth noting is its rather potent chemicals.

These can be a bit tough on latex gloves, so be prepared to switch those out if you’re planning to go hands-on with this solution.

What I Liked Most

  • Prevents further moisture penetration
  • Fast and deep penetration
  • Easy to apply
  • Compatible with almost all wood fillers
  • Fast drying time
  • It offers a great finish
  • Increases wood durability

What Could Be Improved

  • Contains harsh chemicals – melts latex gloves.
  • A bit too watery, allowing runoffs
  • Very collusive on bodily or eye contact
  • Fast and easy absorption means that you will need to work very fast and probably use more.



4. Fastest Drying Wood Hardener – Bondo Rotted Wood Restorer

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Bondo Rotted Wood Restorer, 8 fl oz., Penetrates into...
  • Stops rot and hardens soft wood surfaces
  • Restorer penetrates into soft, spongy, rotted wood fibers creating a hard surface
  • Formula creates a solid base for the application of Bondo Wood Filler (sold separately)

Bondo wood restorer also shattered my preconceptions on another project I had.

I know when you think of Bondo you often think of car structural repairs. But do you know that the same manufacturer has another gem in the wood hardening industry?

Now, I won’t deny that it comes with a slightly higher price tag compared to some other options like the Minwax wood hardener. However, let me tell you, the quality you get in return more than justifies the cost.

But here’s where Bondo Rotted Wood Restorer truly stands out – drying time. It’s like the Usain Bolt of wood hardeners.

Whether you’re applying it solo or mixing it with Bondo wood filler, you can expect it to start drying within the next five minutes. Yes, you read that right – five minutes.

In most cases, it’s fully dried within a mere 2-hour time frame. If you’re working on repairs that involve multiple layers of coating, this lightning-fast drying time is an absolute game-changer.

And let’s talk about strength. This wood hardener means business. It doesn’t stay on the surface. It dives deep into the wood, reinforcing it like a champ.

It’s so tenacious that trying to remove or modify it a few hours after application can be quite the challenge. That’s the kind of reliability you want when working on your projects.

What I Liked Most

  • Improves productivity
  • High-quality waterproof formula
  • Speedy drying time
  • Penetrates deeply

What Could Be Improved

  • Costly
  • It doesn’t allow for a lot of working time
  • A bit toxic



5. Most Easy to Use – Elmer’s Rotted Wood Stabilizer

ELMERS Rotted Wood Stabilizer 16 Oz (E760Q)
  • Seals and hardens dry rotted wood
  • Easy, one-coat solution
  • Solvent free with no odor

It would be hard to find a highly functional wood hardener that is as easy to use as Elmer’s Rotted Wood Stabilizer.

The usage convenience captured in its easy one-coat solution is one of its most distinguishing features, but it is not the only one. This rotten wood stabilizer is also solvent-free and leaves no distinctive odor behind when dry.

The formulation has a versatile application and could be used to reinforce or fix decayed wood, window frames, flooring, entryways, furniture, fence posts, door frames, etc.

However, it is not recommended for structural applications. Though it doesn’t absorb as fast (or dry as fast) as most other wood hardeners on this list, its penetrative abilities are on the high end.

Also, the wood stabilizer makes up for its slow absorption rate with the easy one-coat feature. This means that one coat applied generously might be all you need to fix your rotted wood.

The drying time makes up for the time that would have been expended by applying multiple wood hardener coats.

What I Liked Most

  • It is very easy and quick to use
  • Suitable for horizontal applications
  • It’s odorless and solvent-free
  • Suitable for outdoor and indoor applications

What Could Be Improved

  • Slow absorption



6. Most Durable Wood Hardener – J-B Weld 40001 Wood Restore Liquid Hardener

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J-B Weld 40001 Wood Restore Liquid Hardener - 16 oz.,...
  • JB WOOD RESTORE LIQUID HARDENER: Is a quick drying liquid for sealing and reinforcing decayed or rotted wood; for reducing moisture in decaying or rotted wood surfaces, prior to putty filling.
  • WHAT THE PROFESSIONALS USE: Builders, mechanics & repair pros know our products bond strong to a variety of surfaces in even the toughest environments. Choose the product pros trust for your project.
  • WOOD PREPARATION: The special liquid formula penetrates the wood to reinforce the fibers stopping further decay and providing a solid base for J-B Wood Filler Compound. Easy brush on, no mix formula.

The manufacturing company, J-B weld wood, is quite popular for its 2-part metal-epoxy mixtures. They brought in as much goodness into their wood hardener, which is gaining ground as a top choice in the wood industry.

Interestingly, it comes with a remarkable advantage over other products in J-B shelves. It is not a two-part mixture, and thus, it doesn’t require any unusual wood preparation or mixing.

One of the most remarkable distinctions of this liquid wood hardener is its ability to draw out moisture while drying and reinforcing wood fibers.

This means that it leaves no room within the wood structure for moisture to get trapped and start causing wood to rot from within.

So far, this product is the only liquid wood hardener that provides this offering. Consequently, the formula goes a long way to ensure the prolonged durability of the finished wood surface.

Working with J-B wood restore liquid hardener is a bit exhausting. Though the manufacturers are modifying the formula to be a bit friendlier, it still remains a hazardous substance to work with.

So with this one, you might want to gear up on your PPE and rubber gloves while working with it and keep it away from everyone.

What I Liked Most

  • Easy  to use
  • Long-lasting repairs
  • Draws out moisture from woods
  • Fast-drying formula

What Could Be Improved

  • Might have to sand between coats
  • A bit toxic



7. Best for Outdoor Applications – System Three RotFix Wood Restoration Rot Repair

System Three RotFix Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, 3 Ounce Kit
  • Premium Epoxy: RotFix is an ultra-low viscosity, solvent-free, low-odor wood epoxy that penetrates deeply into soft, punky wood substrates
  • Easy To Apply: Brush our penetrating epoxy over the repair area; Some wood substrates are highly porous and will absorb the RotFix rapidly
  • Versatile Application: Our epoxy resin hardens punky wood, and it can also be used as a stand-alone wood consolidant product for firming up punky wood prior to primer or paint application

When it comes to outdoor wood applications, durability and resilience are non-negotiable. That’s precisely where the System Three RotFix Wood Restoration Rot Repair shines. 

Manufactured by Paint Sundries Solutions, this 3 oz product, packaged with both resin and hardener, proved to be a game-changer in my woodworking projects. 

Its clear epoxy resin formula penetrates deep into rotted or deteriorated wood. So it reinforces it from the inside out, ensuring long-lasting results. 

Whether it’s restoring outdoor furniture or tackling garden projects, this wood hardener is up for the challenge. What sets it apart is its exceptional ease of use.

You do not have to guess the mixing ratios. That means you will move forward without unnecessary delays. 

I’ve tried many wood hardeners, but the System Three RotFix secures its spot as the top choice for outdoor applications. 

What I Liked Most

  • Exceptional durability
  • Easy application
  • Versatility
  • Quick drying time

What Could Be Improved

  • Contains relatively strong chemicals



8. Best for Quick Fixes – NIUB Resin,19Oz Epoxy Resin and Hardener Kit

NIUB Epoxy Resin, 19oz Resin and Hardener Kit- New...
  • HIGH QUALITY NEW FORMULA: Our NIUB Epoxy Resin is made with a high quality, new formulation that guarantees excellent results every time.Our epoxy resin is safe and non-toxic, making it suitable for use in any environment. However, we recommend using it in a well-ventilated area for optimal results.
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR AND BUBBLE-FREE: Our epoxy resin is crystal clear and ensures a bubble-free finish, giving your artwork a professional and polished look.Once fully cured, our epoxy resin provides a bright and perfect textured surface that is non-yellowing, high temperature resistant, and wear-resistant. It is perfect for creating durable and long-lasting artwork.
  • EASY TO USE FOR BEGINNERS: With a 1:1 equal volume mixing ratio, our epoxy resin is easy to use for beginners. No need to worry about complicated measurements, just mix and pour!

The NIUB Resin Epoxy Kit is also a game-changer for artists and DIY enthusiasts. The standout feature of this kit is its remarkable clarity and resistance to yellowing over time.

With a hardness rating comparable to rock, it’s not just scratch-proof but also waterproof, promising enduring preservation of your artwork. What truly sets this kit apart is its user-friendliness; it’s perfect for beginners and seasoned artists alike. 

The 1:1 mixing ratio by volume, generous 40-minute work time, and efficient 4-6 hour demolding period make it even more incredible.

Its self-leveling and bubble-free properties guarantee smooth, professional results. Plus, its versatility opens up a world of possibilities, from jewelry making to woodwork and beyond. 

The comprehensive package also ensures a stress-free creative experience. This kit embodies simplicity, quality, and artistic freedom all in one.

What I Liked Most

  • Exceptional clarity and yellowing resistance
  • Self-leveling and bubble-free
  • User-friendly and convenient
  • Versatile applications
  • Comprehensive package

What Could Be Improved

  • Too many bubbles appear during the application



Buyers’ Guide

What is Wood Hardener and Why is it Necessary?

Wood hardener is a liquid solution or epoxy resin used to strengthen and restore damaged or deteriorating wood. It is necessary for several reasons:

  • Structural reinforcement. Wood hardeners penetrate deep into the wood fibers, strengthening weakened or rotted wood. This is important for maintaining the structural integrity of wooden structures and preventing further deterioration.
  • Damage repair. Wood hardeners can fill in cracks, voids, and cavities caused by rot, insects, or other forms of damage, restoring the wood’s original shape and strength.
  • Preservation. By sealing the wood, hardeners protect it from moisture, preventing further decay, and extending its lifespan.
  • Adhesion. In some cases, wood hardeners can improve the adhesion of paints, finishes, or adhesives to the wood surface, ensuring a more durable and long-lasting bond.
  • Cost savings. Repairing damaged wood with a wood hardener is often more cost-effective than replacing the entire piece of wood or structure.

Interesting Read: How to Prevent Wood From Rotting

What is Wood Hardener and Why is it Necessary?

Pros and Cons of Wood Hardener

Pros

  • Strengthens wood
  • Restores appearance
  • Prevents further decay
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy application

Cons

  • Not Suitable for All Damage
  • Only provides a temporary relief
  • Some wood hardeners contain toxic chemicals

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wood Hardener

There are a bunch of factors you have to bear in mind whenever you decide to hit the market to get some wood hardener. Let’s take a look at some of the important factors below.

1. Surface type

Some recommended wood hardeners are formulated to perform better on certain wooden surface types than others. More so, the efficiency of these hardeners is dependent on the wooden surface they are being applied on.

Hence, it is important to examine and note the condition of the wood surfaces, so you can buy the wood hardener that is most suited for them.

For example, thick wood hardeners are best suited for wood surfaces with crevices or extensive cracks.

Also, if you’re fixing a splintered wood deck that’s constantly exposed to rainfall, snow, or other forms of moisture, it might be best to opt for a wood hardener that acts as a wood sealer.

2. Drying time

It is most likely that you want your best wood hardeners to dry as fast as possible, with hopes that nothing disrupts the wood hardening process before it is fully solidified.

Additionally, it could be that you have a lot of outdoor projects to handle at the same time, so the hardener needs to dry fast enough so you can get on with other tasks.

For the best outcomes, it is advised that you opt for hardening solutions with a quick drying time. This is because they are not only advantageous when you need to work fast but are also of some merits if the surface is exposed to rainfalls and moisture.

3. Hardener Durability

Using a formula that doesn’t last can only offer you disappointing results. You might as well not use any wood hardener if the one you are opting for is not durable.

You must ascertain the durability of the hardener you are buying. Running a quick check on online buyer reviews can let you in on all you need to know about the durability of the formula before you make a purchase.

4. Hardener Price

With best wood hardeners, no law says that the more expensive the wood hardener, the better it is.

True, there are lots of good wood hardeners within the higher price range, but that doesn’t in any way negate the fact that there are just as more within the lower price range.

The point here is that you shouldn’t let price be the most deciding factor when making your purchase. If you can afford the expensive ones, sure, go for them.

However, if you are working on a budget, you could be torn between sparing more money within straining limits or waiting to afford an expensive one. 

The advice would be to look at the cheaper ones within your budget; you’d be surprised to know some gets the job done as much as the expensive ones.

5. Hardener color

You probably don’t want the surface you worked on to be the odd one out. Hardeners come in different colors, so it is best to use a formula that suits your expectations.

Also, it is important to bear in mind the color of the wood filler you intend to use. Here are the best wood fillers for decks that will last longer. To ensure befitting woodwork, it is worth mentioning that the colors of your wood hardening product and most wood fillers should be compatible.

6. Severity of damage

Minor surface issues may require a less potent hardener, while deep rot or structural damage necessitates a stronger, more penetrating solution. Matching the hardener’s capabilities to the extent of the damage is crucial for effective wood restoration.

7. Application process

Some wood hardeners are designed for brushing or spraying, making them suitable for large, accessible areas. Others are meant for injection into drilled holes, ideal for hard-to-reach or interior spaces.

The choice depends on the specific repair needs, accessibility, and the extent of damage. This ensures that the application method aligns with the repair process and maximizes effectiveness.

How to Apply Wood Hardener

Applying a wood hardener is quite easy, though the process requires that you pay attention to details. Here are the steps of applying wood hardener:

Clean the surface

Before you start spraying or spreading your hardening product on the desired surface, you need to make the surface as smooth or as even as possible by removing unnecessary wood crumbs and decayed wood fibers.

That way, it becomes easier for you to work on. Ensure that the surface is dry and clean, free of debris, dust, paint, or any oil-based contaminants.

Apply your hardener

Depending on the composition of the formula, you might have to shake or stir to ensure an even mixture. Don’t forget to put on your rubber gloves.

Then proceed to spray or pour the product on the targeted surface, and spread evenly with a paintbrush to form the first layer. If your wood had some holes, you can apply wood fillers.

Allow to dry

This is the point where the importance of a fast-drying formula can be witnessed.

After spreading, allow about 1 or 2 hours for the layer to dry – a fast-drying formula would take a little over an hour to be fully dried.

Then add the second layer. Repeat step 2 up to a fifth layer if you want the surface to be stronger, ultra-smooth, and shiny. Leave to dry for at least 5 hours after applying the last layer.

Coating

Though this step is optional, it is still important. By adding a protective coat or painting over the surface, your wood gets to last a bit longer.

How to apply wood hardener

FAQs

Does wood hardener work on particleboard?

Yes, they do. However, not a lot of wood hardening products are formulated with such compatibility in mind. Minwax wood hardener and a few other products are suitable for hardening particleboard, especially after the board has been properly dried.

How long does it take a wood hardener to dry?

It takes about two to four hours for wood hardeners to dry fully after application. However, some products might take longer to dry; in such cases, it might be best to give two to four hours for them to dry properly before proceeding to coat or finish the surface.

Can you paint over wood hardener?

Yes, you can. Of course, you have to make sure that the hardened surface is smooth and dry before you paint over it. When appropriately applied, painting can provide an additional layer of protection for the surface.

What is wood hardener made of?

Wood hardeners are solvent-borne products usually comprising of a crosslinking polymer, a film-forming agent, water, and sometimes a defoamer and/or biocide. The constituent of the polymer or film-forming agent used in a product varies from one manufacturer to another.

Will the wood stay strong after hardening it?

Yes, for at least 1 year. The extended durability would, however, depend on the condition of the wood before getting hardened. For woods that weren’t too soft before being hardened, you can expect them to remain hard for another 5 years, while a very soft or rotted wood would at least give in another 2 years.

Is it possible to strengthen any type of wood?

Yes, it is possible. However, you would find it a lot easier to strengthen softwoods and hardwoods than you would if you are working on human-made woods like soft plywood, particleboard, fibreboard, etc. Most wood hardening products are unable to fix human-made woods once they start getting soft.

Should I harden a broken piece of wood?

Sure, you should. Woods that a broken or with a crevice, splits or cracks can be hardened. It is very helpful to also make use of wood fillers and protective coating in the strengthening process. This ensures that the durability of the harden wood is assured thereafter.

Can wood hardener be used on new wood?

Yes, they can. It doesn’t matter how new the wood is or where it has been installed. If you intend to use it again, then you should be getting it fixed.

How do you remove hardener from wood?

There are quite a few unorthodox ways to remove wood hardener from wood. Before you delve into the use of strong solvents, try soaking a paper towel with vinegar and rubbing the hardened surface until it gets softened. Then scrape. Other options include using acetone, acetone-based nail polish remover, cellulose thinner, or xylene, but you have to apply caution while working with them.

Can wood hardener be applied to wet wood?

Yes, though not as a surface treatment, but as a base for hardening wood before applying wood fillers. In cases like this, wet rotted wood hardener, which is specially formulated for this purpose, is used.

Learn More: What Does Wood Rot Look Like

Conclusion

Honestly, it is tricky to pick out the best amongst all these products because where one lags, the other measures up.

Nevertheless, Abatron LiquidWood 2 Pint Kit wood hardener takes the crown as the best wood hardener. It comes from a trusted brand, absorbs quickly, and allows for versatile application.

The wood hardener reviews provided in this post are intended to give you insights that could help you make an informed and wise choice. Now head on to our next post on wood rot prevention with bleach to explore strategies for safeguarding your wood against future deterioration.

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