Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Cruso n.c. in the Blue Ridge
I use epoxy quite a bit and it's a learning process. If you want to display items in epoxy you cannot top coat with anything but a hi-gloss clear, since anything else has solids in it and will fog and you can't see the items clearly. The only top coat that I know that is compatible is water based polyurethane. NEVER use oil based anything on it. It can crack up the surface.
I've never bothered coloring it, and air bubbles are an issue. Since when you mix epoxy, one trick I've read (but not tried) is to drain your mixing container on the project from the bottom, since the air bubbles rise towards the top. Still you will need to propane torch what's left.
I've so far implanted blue jay feathers, leafs, and coins into table surfaces and they went fairly well. I also use epoxy as a total surface first and second coat, troweled on with a toothed trowel. It snaps the grain and coloring out better than any hand rubbed oil or anything else I've practiced with. Many don't like the hi-gloss, and it is hard to get perfect. You can easily sand it after a solid 2 days of sitting (or it will ball up in the sandpaper). This of course is temperature sensitive and on the brand I buy, they give drying times based on temp. ALWAYS stay with the recommended mixing. You cant speed drying time by adding more hardener.
I haven't tried yet, but you can likely run down to finer grits even down to #0000 steel wool and pumice to bring back the sheen desired (but again, anything imbedded, the detail and sharpness will be lost unless you get a hi-gloss finish back on it. I generally sand the surface down and topcoat (after 4 days +) with water based poly to any sheen I like, and items deep in the wood get a hi-gloss brushed on in that area. I tape off the area with imbedded items so not to get solids in the mix.
It's fun stuff. I use Enviro-tek available at Menards. About $50 a gallon. Good product. There may be better, but I've gotten used to that brand. Hard as nails after about 5-6 weeks. The stuff cures to usable touch in about 48 hours but it slow cures for a solid month. It will dent early on with a fingernail pressure, but springs back. Later in life you cant dent it busting a beer bottle on it.
One question you asked was about it holding up against wood trying to move. Epoxy is glue so yes it'll hold unless (like any glue) you have some incredible stresses going on.
Last edited by Da Aardvark; 02-08-2013 at 09:12 AM.