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How to seal wood with epoxy resin

Updated February 21, 2017

Epoxy can give wood a waterproof, resilient finish. In most cases, it is an ideal coating for wood projects that will be exposed to moisture or heavy wear. However, there are some cases where it is not advisable to use epoxy resin as a finish, but you can still get the benefits of epoxy by using it as a sealer before applying your final finish coat. While sealing with epoxy will add a bit more time to this stage of your project, the extra effort will pay for itself with greatly increased longevity and lower maintenance costs.

Sand the project. The surface should be smooth and free of rough spots, gouges or voids.

Remove all dust from the project with tack cloth. Any debris left on the surface of the project at this point will become permanently bonded to the surface when the epoxy is applied.

Place newspapers or a dust sheet underneath the project. Epoxy is very difficult to remove from almost any surface.

Pour epoxy resin and hardener into a clean coffee jar. Stir slowly and thoroughly with a paint stick.

Apply epoxy using a bristle brush. Work from the middle of the working surface toward the edges. Always work from wet to dry areas.

Check for runs or dry spots as you paint. Porous woods may soak up a considerable amount of epoxy as you work. Aim for a consistent coating.

Allow the wood to cure for 24 hours in a dust-free room.

Tip

For best results, apply at least two coats.

When mixing epoxy, stir slowly. Stirring quickly will create bubbles that may stay in the material long enough to cure. The result will be a rough surface and unsatisfactory protection for the wood.

Mix epoxy thoroughly. Unlike paint, epoxy does not "air dry." The two-part resin depends on a catalytic reaction to cure. If the resin and hardener aren't completely mixed, you may wind up with patches of epoxy that take weeks to harden if they do at all.

Curing time will be affected by several variables, such as room temperature, humidity and the type of catalyst. Most manufacturers suggest allowing 24 hours before re-coating. If you are used to applying latex paints, this may seem like a long time. Be patient, the results are worth it.

Warning

When working with epoxy, acetone or any related chemicals, always use a respirator and chemical-resistant gloves.

Work only in a well-ventilated area. Keep chemicals away from heat sources or open flames.

Read and follow all manufacturer's instructions and warnings.

Things You'll Need

  • Epoxy
  • Coffee jar
  • Wooden paint stick
  • Bristle brush
  • Sand paper
  • Tack cloth
  • Acetone or thinner
  • Respirator
  • Chemical-resistant rubber or vinyl gloves
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About the Author

Finn McCuhil is a freelance writer based in Northern Michigan. He worked as a reporter and columnist in South Florida before becoming fascinated with computers. After studying programming at University of South Florida, he spent more than 20 years heading up IT departments at three tier-one automotive suppliers. He now builds wooden boats in the north woods.