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How to Seal Coat on an Epoxy Resin Table?

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

As enthusiastic young epoxy resin novices, we made every mistake under the sun on our way to becoming proficient at our craft, some mistakes were made many, many times.


One of these common mistakes was solving the troublesome task of pesky bubbles in our finished resin product, and once they’re in there, they aint coming out. In some projects you can get away with this to a degree, including intensely pigmented/coloured resin mixes, or those with a low/matt sheen finish.


However, good practice dictates that these safety nets should not lull you into a false sense of security, and good practice should be followed on all projects. Bubbles even in coloured projects will always be somewhat visible and reduce the overall quality of the piece.

Joe & Tony with a Epoxy Resin Table

I will get into bubbles in your resin mix via air entrainment in another blog, for now I wish to deal with the less talked about issue of air within your timber slabs, when crafting an epoxy resin table.


For context, there are two trains of thought when it comes to an epoxy resin pour – sealed vs unsealed wood.


Sealed wood consists of painting the edges of the timber that will be exposed to resin with a thin coat of the same resin 24 hours prior to the actual pour. This allows the first coat to penetrate into the wood pores and prevent any air escaping from said pores during the curing process.


Unsealed wood consists of the somewhat risky but less effort inducing method of chucking your resin into the mould with raw timber and hoping for the best……


Now, one method seems to be the obvious choice doesn’t it?


Wrong


The Jury’s still out on which method works best, with several prominent resin professionals swearing by the latter method of ‘screw it, let’s pour’


The logic behind this is simple, most epoxy resin tables are using deep pour, slow cure resin. Depending on your resin type a full cure can take 2 weeks, with it talking 48 hours to become firm. This means that in practice, resin will be able to seep deep into the wood pores, cracks, crevice’s and splits, seal the air and all available bubbles are released before a full cure. And if you possess resin that allows this every (and I mean EVERY) time, then knock yourself out, pour away and sleep easy.


HOWEVER, at Alderwood, this previously adopted attitude has led to sleepless night and more often than not, resin tables being thrown at walls.


We have found that in many cases, the resin simply sets too fast, and along the edges of the timber, we find occasional streams of bubbles rising from a spot in the timber to the surface, and folks, that’s all she wrote. Try explaining the additional character this brings a to your clients £3000 dining table and see the response you get.


Additionally, sometimes air pockets trapped under undulations in the bottom of the wood slabs can seep out during their cure and leave a gaping hole in the resin. Also, in sections of the slabs where you have cut the timber, i.e. not the live edges/debarked surfaces, these capillaries in the wood are especially open and can lead to streams of bubbles in your resin.


SO in summary here’s our advice, SEAL YOUR EDGES in your epoxy resin table..


This task takes minimal additional effort, if done correctly, prevents a table killing problem, and basically has no damn downsides.

HOWEVER here are the 10(ish) commandments of sealing edges:


1 – ALWAYS SEAL WOOD YOU HAVE CUT (NON-LIVE EDGES)

2 – ALWEAYS CLEAN THE MOULD AND TIMBER PRIOR TO PREVENT DEBRIS IN YOUR RESIN

3 – OVER APPLY THER RESIN TO ALLOW IT TO SEEP UNDER THE WOOD TO YOUR MOULD – THIS PREVENTS AIR POCKETS SEEPING INTO YOUR TABLE FROM BELOW THE WOOD MID-CURE

4 – IDEALLY ALLOW 24 HOURS BEFORE SECOND POUR (TACKY RESIN)

5 – IF THE RESIN HAS SET HARD ON THE EDGES, SCUFF THE EDGES BEFORE SECOND POUR TO ACHIEVE A CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL BOND

6 – MAKE SURE TO USE THE EXCACT MIX RATIO EVEN FOR A SEAL COAT OTHERWISE A POOR BOND WILL BE ACHIEVED

7 - AS WITH ALL RESIN WORK – USE CORRECT PPE

8 – A REGULAR HOUSE PAINT BRUSH IS BEST FOR APPLICATION

9 – DON’T MIX RESIN BRANDS FOR SEAL VS REAL POUR


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How to Seal Coat on an Epoxy Resin Table? | Alderwood Studios 2022


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