Your creative mind as a woodworking artist will always look for new ways to showcase beauty. And with the right finish, you get added advantage of enhancing the already beautiful art you shall have crafted. Much as there are many finishes to give your craft the much needed lustrous look, epoxy products will always carry …
If you’re underwhelmed by the effects of moisture, UV rays, and other degrading elements on your wood, epoxy resin is a great way to revive its look.
The formula offers so much when applied to the wood. It creates a protective layer and offers possibilities for artistic projects. But, what is epoxy resin?
Epoxy resin is a synthetic liquid that comes in two forms: a resin and hardener and dries to a durable and solvent-resistant coating once mixed.
You can mix epoxy with hardening agents for specific performance characteristics, making it suitable for many industrial applications.
What Is Epoxy Resin Used For?
Epoxy resin is a highly durable and resistant liquid. It has become increasingly popular due to its outstanding characteristics when applied to various surfaces.
The liquid is used in many consumer and industrial applications because of its strong adhesion, resistance, and other specialized properties.
Here are some of the uses of epoxy resins
Renewable Energy Applications
Epoxies contribute to various products and technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions and enhance energy efficiency.
Most renewable energy sources, including natural gas and new battery technologies, rely on epoxy technological innovations to become more productive.
Building and Construction
Using epoxy resins in building and construction eliminates the need for refurbishing and repainting because they improve the look as well as durability of structural parts.
This increases the lifespan of the building materials such as wood.
Paint and Coatings
Epoxy-enhanced paints provide a protective coating and dry more quickly than other paint options.
They are used in cast aluminum applications, factory cast iron, woodworking and cast steel.
You can also use them for supporting metal casings as they resist damage from impacts.
Epoxy resins are essential in flooring applications, primarily in areas that require sterile surfaces like food processing facilities and medical settings.
Epoxy-coated floors withstand strong cleaning products. Epoxy resins are also helpful for decorative and high-performance flooring.
Plumbing and Pipes
Epoxy resins are used as coatings for steel products and for making composite pipes.
The durable properties of this formula can resist chlorine, microbes, and other elements that can degrade pipes and tanks.
High Performance Adhesives
Epoxy resins are more chemical and heat-resistant than other glues.
This high resistance makes them a great candidate for high-performance applications like manufacturing laminated wood for walls and decks.
Epoxy-based coating technology has been a necessity in the automotive industry for years.
You can apply an anti-corrosive epoxy-based coating to the auto body as a primer, then cover it with a top coat to resist UV light damage.
This coating also resists rust and corrosion on the metal parts of your car’s body.
Using epoxy resin in cars also helps decrease the weight of some automotive components, encouraging fuel efficiency.
Epoxy resins are critical for food packaging as they provide a protective layer to separate drinks or food from the metal used in making cans.
If epoxy resins are not used, the metal can corrode, allowing bacteria to enter the cans.
This can compromise the safety of their contents and the nutritional value of the drink or food.
Epoxy-coated cans have a longer shelf-life, meaning you can store food for an extended duration.
Epoxies also allow you to export seasonal food year-round while helping to preserve color, taste, and texture.
Glass packaging also depends on epoxy resins to keep the metal lids from corroding.
Sports and Leisure
Epoxy resins make sporting appliances like the wooden hockey sticks, fishing rods, and tennis rackets more robust and durable.
These excellent adhesives are also applied to boats to provide strong abrasion and moisture resistance.
Aircraft and satellite systems use epoxy resins as a binder for reinforcements like glass. This makes the structural parts stronger, lighter, and resist the extreme temperatures that aircraft endure.
Epoxy Vs. Resin
Epoxy and resin are durable adhesives useful for creative purposes and are known for their strong bonding properties.
Despite their similar working principles, epoxy and resin have some differences in their properties and other aspects that I will unfold in this guide.
Epoxy is among the most vital types of adhesive. It is suitable for reinforcing wood structures, sports equipment, planes, and vehicles.
Epoxy has essential elements that dry to form a hard shell more tolerant of heat, moisture, and chemicals.
It only takes 6 to 30 minutes to cure due to its quick-drying properties.
Resin is available in powder and liquid forms. You can mix the powdered form of this adhesive with water while the liquid form is packaged with a powdered catalyst that you must mix before using.
Resin takes longer to dry than epoxy, but this depends on the temperature.
The slow-drying characteristic of resin makes it suitable for woodworking projects that need careful and unhurried completion.
Besides wood, you can also use resin with floor finishes, countertops, and panels. Check out other notable differences mentioned below:
- Both resin and epoxy form durable bonds, but epoxy is much stronger.
- Epoxy has properties that dry much faster than resin.
- Epoxy is more expensive than resin because it has great bonding capabilities.
- You can use epoxy in larger projects, whereas resin is ideal for projects requiring slow assembly.
How to Apply Epoxy Resin to Wood?
Epoxy resin is known for its low shrinkage when curing, high mechanical properties, material compatibility, and high resistance to heat and moisture.
You can cross-link epoxy resins with hardening agents for a tough coating to protect your wood from degrading over time.
Let’s see the steps involved in the application of epoxy resins to wood
Step 1: Sanding
Use 120 grit sandpaper for sanding your wood to create an even, smooth surface for the epoxy to go on quickly.
Sand in the wood grain direction to achieve the smoothest surface.
Step 2: Clean the Wood
Wipe down the sanding dust with a clean microfiber cloth. You can also use a vacuum or brush to remove the stubborn dirt.
Let the wood air dry completely before applying the epoxy resin if you choose to wet the cloth.
Step 3: Use a Painter’s Tape to Cover the Back of the Wood
Place your wood piece on a flat surface and attach painter’s tape along the perimeter of the backside of the wood.
Press down the painter’s tape firmly to ensure the epoxy resin will not leak on the underside of the wood.
Note: The painter’s tape should only go along the wood’s edges.
Step 4: Protect Nearby Surfaces from Epoxy
Choose a flat surface such as a work table to do your project. Then cover the surface with plastic or cardboard, so the epoxy resin doesn’t ruin the surface.
If using plastic, secure it to the table using painter’s tape, so it doesn’t move when coating the wood with epoxy.
Step 5: Mix the Epoxy In a Well Ventilated Space
Epoxy resins have a strong smell, so it’s good to mix them in an area with plenty of fresh air.
It’s also worth mixing the epoxy in a dust-free area to avoid creating a cloudy coating.
Wear gloves to avoid contacting the epoxy resin, then measure the hardener and resin into different disposable cups.
Follow the package instructions to pour the correct amount of resin and hardener.
Step 6: Combine the Hardener and the Resin
After adequately measuring the resin and hardener, pour them into one disposable cup and mix them using a plastic wood rod.
Scrape the sides of the cup while mixing to ensure all the two products blend evenly.
Continue stirring the two ingredients until it forms a uniform consistency.
Tip: Don’t stir too vigorously to avoid creating air bubbles. However, don’t worry if you notice bubbles in the mixture, as you can remove them using heat.
Step 7: Pour the Epoxy Resin Over the Wood Surface from the Center
After mixing the epoxy, pour it on the wood. Don’t worry if the epoxy resin doesn’t spread uniformly because it’s the first coat.
Start from the center and pour enough resin to cover the whole wood piece in thin layers.
Tip: You can either pour a large pile of resin in the center of the wood and spread it evenly or pour thin streams around the entire wood piece.
Pour the epoxy resin over the wood immediately after mixing it because it has less time before it hardens.
Use a foam brush to spread the epoxy along the wood’s edges using back and forth motions.
Aim for even layers and ensure you coat the entire wood piece. After achieving even coverage, wipe off the excess epoxy from the edges using your foam brush and pull back to check for other imperfections.
Step 8: Move a Heat Source Over the Surface to Get Rid of Bubbles
Air bubbles are an unavoidable part of applying epoxy to wood surfaces. Fortunately, you can prevent them with a hairdryer, torch, or heat gun.
Turn on the heat source and hold it 5 to 10 inches away from the wood surface.
Move the heat gun or hairdryer back and forth over the epoxy’s surface until the bubbles pop.
Holding the heat source in one place can burn the epoxy-coated surface.
Step 9: Allow the First Coat to Dry for 4 Hours
Set your timer to ring after four hours and allow the first epoxy resin coat to harden.
Although it won’t be completely hard or dry, the surface should feel tacky as it cures, indicating it’s time for the second coat.
Step 10: Apply the Second Coat
Mix another epoxy with the correct resin to hardener ratio, then pour the mixture into the wood piece center and spread out evenly.
Pull the epoxy resin towards the edges as many times as it takes to create a flat epoxy layer.
Wipe the excess drips and continue coating the surface with a spatula or a plastic spreader.
Note: Using a foam brush to spread the second epoxy resin coating won’t deliver an even surface compared to other flat objects.
Step 11: Let the Epoxy Resin Dry for 24 Hours.
The epoxy resin dries after 24 to 36 hours. You should avoid touching the wood piece during this curing period to ensure it isn’t messed up.
After it completely hardens, flip over the wood piece and remove the painter’s tape to reveal the epoxy coated wood.
Is Epoxy Resin Waterproof
If you don’t apply the correct sealing topcoat, your wood, concrete, and other surfaces can leak because they aren’t waterproofed.
Luckily, various products are designed explicitly for creating a durable waterproof layer on various surfaces, including wood.
Besides its great adhesive and filling qualities, epoxy resin is waterproof and non-corrosive.
This makes it a viable option for addressing household repairs except for most plastics.
Waterproofing surfaces using epoxy resin reduces exposure to cracks, risk of erosion, and rust.
Epoxy resin has unlimited uses in marine applications, including boating restorations, repairs, and maintenance.
You can also use waterproof epoxy resin to bond and fasten pipes, sinks, and fittings.
Generally, having waterproof epoxy resin at your disposal is beneficial, assuming you mix it correctly with hardening or curing agents.
You should also apply the resin in thin coats and let it dry according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
If you go against the manufacturer’s guidelines, the epoxy resin will not serve its intended use.
Because of its exceptional performance in many applications, epoxy resin is becoming more popular than other products in its category.
It has a solid and compact chemical structure making it the top-most product for multiple construction projects.
However, epoxy resin’s toughness takes a few steps to get demanding results. Therefore, ensure you sift through the tips discussed in this guide to get the best out of this product.
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