Serious Education ... plus the most fun you can have in metal finishing.
Coating tables and bar tops with thick clear pourable plastic++
Q. I have been to eating and drinking spots with unique tables. On the surface of the table, underneath what seems to be one-half or three-quarters of an inch thick clear coating, are maps and coins and beads and other trinkets. I asked the bartender how they made the table tops, and she told me that there is a product sold by the gallon which is poured onto the table surface to whatever thickness. And when it dries you have what looks like a hundred coats of decoupage. I can not find the product anywhere. Do you know of these products, and where might I find them?Bill Henry
- Somerville, Massachusetts
A. I've seen the stuff you are looking for in a local hobby shop - I think it is called Clear Cast - it is I think an acrylic resin - a two part epoxy like thing. I think it cost about $10-20 per quart. I've seen more than one brand name.
steel pans - Gulf Breeze, Florida
A. What you are looking for is a two part pourable polyurethane.David Parker
- Baltimore, Maryland
A. The stuff you are looking for is a two-part epoxy =>
One popular brand is called "Kleer Koat". It is a tricky process for a novice, as any little contaminate or unmixed resin will mess up the top.
- Kansas City, Missouri
Q. I am also trying to do a project using the epoxy. Every where I read about it, they all say it is not a product for a beginner. But I have no other choice, I have to use this particular product to complete my project (a bar table top with pictures and solid objects). Is there any hope for a beginner and this product? Also, my table top area is about 20" x 30" and I want the epoxy to be at least 1/4 of an inch when I am finished. How much epoxy do I need to buy?Leah [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Nacogdoches, Texas
A. A gallon is 231 cubic inches, so it sounds like about 2 gallons. Good luck, and send a picture when you're done.
By the way, see a bunch of beautiful bottle cap tables on letter 17560, and discussions with the guys who made them.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
i. Heads up guys,
Regular epoxy will not do what you're trying; it will yellow and probably crack as will any form of polyurethane at that thickness or any acrylic coating from a retail store. I do Commercial installations for bars and nightclubs I've used several different products over the last few years the best I have used is a two part plastic. Epoxy coatings are difficult to use at best and are specially formulated for this application typically around $100 - $150 for a gallon kit and Most of the suppliers I've dealt with only offer wholesale services. Keep in mind this is not an easy thing the epoxies must be mixed exactly by volume 50/50 stirred well left to "sweat in" for 1/2 hour applied then two or three hours minimum going over the surface with a blow torch to release the air bubbles out of the surface. Note this takes a light touch and determines the quality of the results. If the last part is done well you get a crystal clear thick coating that will last in a high wear commercial environment for years. My first job with this type of product was over 5 years ago and still looks great in a club open 7 days a week
Hope this helps there is a lot of confusion about how this is done I talk to a lot of people who do it wrong and ruin a project they spent a lot of time on. Even saw a bar owner try pouring poly over his bar to achieve the same effect ruined his bar and it had to be tiled over to hide it.Adam Jones
general contractor - Clemson, South Carolina
A. There are several brands out there, I have been using Famowood by Eclectic Products [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. I have also been doing a search online to find a more reasonable cost. Be well and much success to you!
- Plymouth, Maine
Q. I would like to encapsulate pea gravel in the top of a small patio table. The maximum thickness would be about 1/2". Will a two part epoxy or plastic hold up in direct sunlight?
Also, logic tells me that I should be able to minimize the presence of bubbles by covering the pebbles only partially. If this is the case can the total encapsulation be done in two steps and how many hours between pours are allowable?
For example would you expect good results using a hair dryer per the following: Partially covered pea gravel on Day #1(pour 1/4" thick) and complete the encapsulation on Day #2 (pour the last 1/4")?
retired engineer, hobbyist - Ventura, California
A. I respect the warnings above from professionals, but I tried a 1 gallon Environmental Tech EnviroTex Lite [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] , a deep (1/2 inch) pour on top of a large maple trunk section to produce a coffee table, and it came out great. The propane torch comment is true, with much patience and time required to pop the surface bubbles after they gradually emerge from any unsealed cracks in your substrate, while the polymer sets over several hours. Plenty of drips, too, through any openings.. the stuff flows well for a couple hours. But I'll do it again!Kent Murphey
- Gainesville, Georgia
Q. What was the size of your coffee table? What did you spread the resin with and use to seal it first? I want to try this to a 7' x 2' bar top. Thanks.Dan Romero
- Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
A. I use EX-74 made by environmental technology inc. I make slab tables from large trees I cut in P.A. The EX-74 degases very easily with a propane torch.You have to stay with it for an hour or so. It must be mixed exactly.Then stirred for a few minutes vigorously. Then poured on right away.Spread evenly with a credit card.Then wait for the bubbles to appear usually about fifteen minutes. A dust free environment is a must. If anyone has questions feel free to ask.George Leonard
- Bayville, New Jersey
Q. How exactly do you use the propane torch to degas?
Has anyone seen a description of the whole process? I am a newbie, but I am determined to made my own patio table with maps and coins.
- Pompano Beach, Florida
A. Just a note to let you know how to get bubbles out after you pour Pourable Clear Epoxy on a surface. The product I use, you can breathe over the surface not blow and the bubbles will disappear from the carbon dioxide we breathe out.Todd Lawson
- Winston Salem, North Carolina
Ed. note: But avoid breathing in over the surface; these solvents aren't good for you.
Q. I used Famowood by Eclectic Products [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] high build epoxy coating on a table project of mine. The first table went well...beautiful finish. On the second table there's a spot about 3x3 inch that will not harden. Still after nearly two months it still tacky to touch. Is there any thing I can do to make this harden? Can I remix and re-pour it on top of the original? OR what can I do?Phyllis Brown
hobbyist - Kerens, Texas
Q. With regard to achieving a completely flat surface when pouring a thick layer of epoxy on a tabletop, is it self-leveling if poured quickly? how do you create a completely flat, blemish -free surface? furthermore, what materials would you use to create moulds for table edges, where you want to pour a half inch layer of epoxy on a table top and its sides? and finally, can anyone recommend any dyes for tinting the epoxy?William Gant
- Glasgow, U.K.
A. I use this as an artist.
Environmental Tech EnviroTex Lite [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]
is the product of my choice. This stuff just needs to be mixed well 50/50, in a dust free environment. You can add anything to the mix like dried flowers, beads you name it.
I pour it on from center out. I only mix what I need. You can use popsicle sticks or a credit card to gently move product to edges.This method is only for small surfaces. If you want a 1/4 inch thick or more, you have to build a cradle frame flush to fit around your table or surface. I put Vaseline on edges for easy free up. Then the edges are ground or sanded down. Wear a MASK!
You can use a small crafters blow torch Blaser Micro Torch [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] or cooking creme brule blow torch. Heat will not remove the bubbles. Only carbon dioxide will, hence exhaling on a small surface can be done. Don't stay too close to surface. WEAR A MASK!
WARNING I was intoxicated from exhaling on my wood panels. I would not recommend it unless you have an area no bigger than 12 x 12. The bubbles pop and believe me they release small quantities of epoxy in the air as they pop. I had an accumulation in back of my throat which lasted a week. I came close to going to EMERGENCY.Water, dry bread, nothing worked. I was slowly feeling the product harden in back of my throat! What a nightmare!
I now USE A MASK when I work with this product as I do not want lung cancer or other health problems.
It takes about 8 hours to harden.
second coats are possible. You wipe your surface with alcohol. add on more decoupage if you want, then follow instructions above again.
If you want to remove the gloss finish, you can give it a light sanding and you will get a frosted glass look. Test this method first before attempting it on big surface.
REMEMBER, wear goggles [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and a mask. Don't be fooled by no odor. This stuff is toxic, and I could have sued for bad instructions given by company to exhale onto surfaces. It's just not worth it.
Q. Polished white pebbles in a clear resin tile? I would like to know how to make a tile or a sheet of pebbles that are suspended in resin. How do I make the resin? they are to be set into a coffee table I am making.Julie Charbonneau
- Montreal Quebec, CANADA
Q. I would like to make a countertop for a beachside condo (approximately 18 inches wide by 5 feet long and about 1 inch thick. Just a bar type counter to sit at to look over ocean while I drink my AM tea). Do I pour resin into a self built frame or could I use a mold w/ bull nose edge and then mount it to wall with supports? Has anybody tried this project or something similar? Suggestions, comments, ideas?
Thanks, Tammy -- who would love to be in Siesta Keys, Florida but lives in Northeast Ohio. Sunny days to you all.Tammy Kubek
hobbyist and wanting unique coastal condo - Hudson, Ohio
Q. I have used Envirotex-lite on many projects. I do worry about this product and it's link to causing cancer. I do not have much information on this subject and was wondering if anyone is informed of the "risk" associated with its use. I also use a blow torch to rid of surface bubbles. Does this produce any toxic gas? Is it dangerous when I leave it to dry in my house? it does have a strong scent...I would appreciate any knowledgeable info on this subject...or any answers to my questions.Mandy Ornstein
- Cherry Hill, New Jersey
A. Hi, Mandy. You need to ask the supplier for an MSDS (material safety data sheet) because no one else knows what is in it, and they can change the formulation at any time. A Thunderbird is a 2-seat sports car, 4-seat luxury car, or a 6-seat family car whenever Ford changes their mind; and Envirotex-lite contains whatever chemicals the supplier decides. They'll know what an MSDS is. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
A. Advice for the beginner:
When using pourable epoxy, make sure you use a non-yellowing epoxy, such as bio clear 810, by progressive epoxy polymers, inc.
Be sure to measure (as accurately as possible) the volume you need for your project, and mix that amount plus 2-5% for what gets lost in your mixing container and on your stirring tool. Make sure you are not exceeding the recommended thickness for the particular kind of epoxy you purchase. Some mixtures (especially 50/50) generate a LOT of heat when setting, and can discolor, bubble, melt plastic, even darken your poly undercoat or wood finish. If you need a thicker layer than 1/4 inch, be sure the epoxy you buy specifies that it's safe to do so.
Before pouring, spray the surface and objects to be encased in polyurethane and allow to fully cure. This helps minimize gassing and bubbles trapped at the bottom of the epoxy layer.
When mixing your epoxy, don't be in too much of a hurry. The pouring itself takes so little time, and it levels itself, so relax, and make sure you mix thoroughly. Don't whip the epoxy, as introduced air bubbles are more difficult to eradicate than the gas created during dry time. Smooth, slow strokes are best, allowing the epoxy to settle behind the stirrer. I recommend using as sturdy a piece of wood or metal as you can manage. A friend of mine uses a strip of nylon cutting board wrapped in plastic wrap.
As a previous post indicated, heat is not what helps epoxy gas, it's the chemical composition of the air. Get a block of dry ice(available at most grocery stores), put it in a bowl of water, and hold the bowl over the table. The CO2 will sink to the tabletop, and provide you with as bubble-free a surface as possible. If you are using a frame, this is a bit easier, because the heavy gas will settle into the frame and sit there as long as the air remains still.
If you need a smooth, polished finish around the edge, but are worried about the dust, build a flush frame, and very carefully wrap it in plastic wrap, stretching it and securing it with super glue on the back side. Make sure there are no wrinkles, for those will be impressed upon the edge. I've found it useful to wrap the wood first, then assemble the frame. Epoxy does not adhere to plastic wrap because it is a truly non-porous surface, and will leave a perfectly transparent edge. Beveling is also possible, if you add a second small triangular strip of wood to the top of your targeted level. Also wrap this piece in plastic, of course. Be sure to use latex caulk around the join of the table to the frame, because pourable epoxy is wickedly flowable, and will find any tiny little gap to end up all over your floor, which brings me to:
CARDBOARD UNDER YOUR WORK AREA! Always use scrap wood or cardboard, newspaper will end up permanently adhered to your floor.
I hope this helps people! You don't need to be a professional to use epoxy surfacing, just make sure you are safe. Always work in a well-ventilated area, and wear a mask and goggles at all times.
- United States
May 3, 2009
Q. I use Polytex 2-part epoxy resins for embedding decorative stones into carved wood handles or burls/knots in wood tables. It mixes (1:1) easily and bubbles pop ok on flat surfaces with my exhale or the torch. My problem is how to remove bubbles in the recesses. My sonicator did not help. A slight vacuum helped somewhat. What do you recommend?
Speciality Furniture manufacturer - Tucson, Arizona
May 30, 2009
Q. Can I use a blow torch to also tease out those small bubbles in my satin Minwax polyurethane?Cori Barry
consumer - Virginia
September 12, 2009
Q. I do not have a bubble problem after we poured the mixture on our bar top. What I have is one end is thicker than the other due to the floor being slightly off level. The thicker part is still tacky. It has been 6 days and it is still tacky. Just one end. Will this ever harden up or is there something I can do like use a heat lamp?Beth Johnson
novice, homeowner building a bar - Toledo, Ohio
December 4, 2009
Q. We made a bar used polyurethane to make top a lot of bubbles appeared after it dried. How can we get them out after it has cured? They are many large ones Can you use a blow torch after it has cured?Peri young
student - Escanaba, Michigan
A. One tip I would like to add to the post about the pour on epoxy. I used it for the tops of 3 credenzas. I had a very hard time spreading the epoxy on the large surfaces until I used a large stainless steel trowel. It worked like a dream.Mary Anne Merfeld
- Alpharetta, Georgia
May 3, 2010
Q. I've so enjoyed reading about and seeing pics of all the projects made with this liquid plastic. I am wanting to use it to create lacy-looking lamp globes to encase twinkle lights to hang from trees for my daughter's wedding. Has anyone ever tried to pour this epoxy resin once it's gotten pretty hard. The idea is to wait until it's quite thick and pour it over an up-turned bowl covered with plastic wrap in swirlies and circles. I've thought I would try to meld two halves together to create the "globe". Does anyone have any experience with this type of use, or know anything I need to know before I get started? I would like to make a dozen or so of these light globes and in various diameters. Any thoughts or advice?Leslie Booth
- McKinney, Texas
May 14, 2010
Q. I'm doing your standard bottle cap beer pong table with Kleer Koat. Should I apply a seal coat on the wood before placing bottle caps? Or can I apply my seal coat after I've already glued my caps? Or do I need to do both?Chuck Bee
- Portland, Maine
Ed. note: Letter 17560 has pictures of more than a dozen bottle-cap tables, and great discussions about how they were built. Although at least one reader did not glue his caps down, almost all readers did.
July 30, 2010
A. When pouring a 2 part epoxy finish, air bubbles will form after the pour is completed. Use a blow torch to lightly heat the surface of the pour. The bubbles will immediately disappear.Dennis Drechsler
- Victoria, BC, Canada
i. If you check over on Make:Projects site by Make Magazine, I posted step-by-step instructions on doing a countertop covered in $77 worth of pennies =>
- Dallas, Texas, USA
August 24, 2010
Nice job on that countertop. I've always been good at "guess the number of jellybeans" contests. Looking at the above picture, and utilizing my carefully honed estimating skill, my guess is there are approximately 7,699 pennies in your countertop -- how close am I?
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
August 31, 2010
Q. I have searched everywhere for a solution to my outdoor-specific problem. Can I use the methods and products mentioned above to encapsulate vinyl letters on a small porous rubber substrate to create outdoor-durable signs? Any help or links would help as I've really hit a wall in the process.
- Raleigh, North Carolina USA
January 12, 2011
I have been trying enviroTex light, a 2 part epoxy on some marquetry (thin wood veneers cut into designs) with not very good results. I am trying to do this as a business so production time is very important. Has anybody ever tried to thin this product down?
It seems there is no easy way to work with this besides trial and error.
Yesterday I used a one part water based finish and it destroyed the entire project...oh well..
thank you all for you interesting inputs.
Here is a question I almost didn't ask because it seems stupid...but then I remembered something about there are no stupid questions except the ones you never ask...
So my work is sitting flat on a table and every time I lift the torch up and point the flame down it "flames out" than goes out. A friend said that is because the propane in the tank is partially liquid and it will do that every time. So how do you point the propane torch down without it flaring and going out?
- St. Thomas, Virgin Islands USA
A. Hi all,
I figured the torch out (use mapp gas)...but I cannot deal with Envirotex any more. There are always imperfections, something and I cannot run a business like this anymore. I wonder if there are some other coatings out there that might do somewhat the same thing that Envirotex does. I don't need heat resistance, nor such a thick coating. I am covering wood veneers and they are about 1/32 of an inch high.
- St. Thomas, Virgin Islands USA
September 3, 2011
Q. This question is for Bill Carli (St. Thomas) from Jan. 2011-- Did you ever find a solution/product better than Envirotex lite? Sounds like my art pieces are very similar to what you are doing. Thanks for any input.Meredith Keith
- Birmingham, Alabama, USA
January 18, 2011
Q. Hi there
I have used the 2 part epoxy resin on canvas paintings, it works wonderfully. I now have a sculpture that I want to coat. It is a plastic upright mannequin covered in coins and paua shells. what product would be thick enough to pour this on? As you can imagine it is an upright non-flat surface.
I would love some help with this
Kind regards from Auckland New Zealand
artist, buyer - Auckland, New Zealand
February 10, 2011
A. Have used Envirotex Light for years for covering paintings on panels huge and small.
Wear a respirator with organic filters, not a mask. The stuff is carcinogenic even though it doesn't smell too bad at all.
Do it in a totally dust free area with plenty of heavy plastic on floor as you will make a mess the first few times and, if you do, it's there to stay unless it's on a wood or non porous floor.
Warm temps like 70 to 80° speed up drying of epoxies like this.
Mix equal parts, stir very well until it gets clear and makes bunch of bubbles.
Pour onto surface center and with latex gloves spread to edges. if it goes over it will continue to drip for hours (thus the plastic on the floor)
You have about a half hour or more depending on room temp to spread it. It is very easy and just fills out nice, nothing to it.
I then come back in 1/2 hour and crank up the butane torch and lightly go over the surface as a very shallow angle to pop any bubbles. Do this a few times, then let it cure, which takes about 8 to 12 hours to surface dry and 12 to 24 before it's hard.
If you do a thick pour it will crack as it heats up with the epoxy reaction; and also will show a yellow cast with coats over 1/8 inch thick.
Clean up is with rubbing alcohol. Don't use a hair dryer instead of torch to pop surface bubbles - you will just get tons of lint in it!
Never gets super hard; can get soft in heat. I would not use this product at all for bar tops. that is a different product altogether that is more durable to scuffing and won't crack when the internal temps get to 150° F if pouring out a half inch of e-tex.
- portland, Oregon usa
September 5, 2011
I just completed a penny bar using US Composites Kleer Coat. All the advice on the page was correct. I mixed a total of 1 gal at a time and stirred for just over 10 min. The working time was longer than expected. I made a raised edge around the bar using molding and used liquid nails and finish nails to mount it. Any corner I thought was sealed well enough, wasn't. Almost every corner dripped, but not badly. (I'm not a carpenter, so my angles weren't perfectly cut.) This IS NOT AS HARD as you think. I used cabinet grade plywood for top, stained it and then put 3 coats of regular poly on it and used molding to as described above to trim it out. I used fruitwood stain, would go darker if I did it again. The tip on popping bubbles with torch is awesome. It is especially useful on second coat where most bubbles are tiny (I thought they were dust particles) from the mixing process and the torch pops them very easily. First coat bubbles were bigger and used nail to pop. Top is CRYSTAL CLEAR ! Not that difficult. 2 man project though. Would definitely do it again. LOVE IT!John Norwillo
- Duryea, Pennsylvania, USA
October 26, 2011
A. Most Artists are using EX-74 epoxy coating to coat paintings.
It has a UV inhibitor, which retards the ambering of the finish. EX-74 is also used to coat bars, and tables, and for making plaques with pictures, etc.
Other products which are similar but do not have the UV inhibitor are EX-88, Envirotex Lite, Crystal Sheen, GlazeCoat, and KleerKote. All of these products are similar, and work the same. They are easy to install, but you have to read the instructions.
I have been coating bars and tables for over 20 years, and I have also coated several paintings. Most people that have problems with the coatings do not mix them properly, and that is a critical point. If you want it to look swell, you gotta mix it like H......
CREATIVE WHOLESALE - Stockbridge, Georgia, USA
November 29, 2011
Q. How thick is the EX-74 when it is poured onto your surface? Is it thin like water or thicker? I have a 48" section cut from an oak tree and was thinking about using the EX-74 to cover it, but would also like to cover the bark. On the surface I would like to get it to a 1/4". Anybody have any tips on coating the bark or the whole project?Tyler Smith
- Jefferson City, Missouri
December 5, 2011
Q. I am thinking about making a copper penny bar top outside by my screened pool area. It is 24 sq ft and will get a lot of sun exposure. Is the EX-74 the best coating to protect it since it has the UV inhibitor? Is it too hard for a beginner to use? Would some type of surfboard gloss resin be better? I want it to be a thin covering, and I don't want to worry about it yellowing... Any help or recommendations are appreciated!Pamela Noto
- Lithia, Florida, USA
A. I have used clear resin to cover decals and also mixed paint into the clear resin to add additional color. As far as the bubbles... find a spray bottle that when sprayed gives you a real fine mist. If you spray alcohol across the top of the resin, it will cause the bubbles to come to the top and pop all by themselves.
If you mist the surface of the 3 to 6 times for the first hour that should do it, you can use more if needed. But, do not spray so much causing it to pool. I have used US Composites Kleer Coat for the last 3 to 4 years.
Like everyone else has said... make sure you mix it correctly, makes sure the resin is mixed well, mix it slowly so you don't cause bubbles, take your time. I
normally pour the thinner hardener into the thicker portion
of the resin. If you have a large area get some help, one person to mix and one person to pour. Hope this helps.
- Clyde, Ohio
March 4, 2012
Q. All of the projects described just talk about the top surface. What have folks done at the edges? You either finish up with that sharp epoxy that has to be sanded or if the dam leaks the drips have to be cleaned up. Can you do the high gloss on the top and regular varnish on the edges? My daughter wants to do a bathroom vanity and I don't see any way of doing the front edge and the back splash in the clear coat. One surface only and the others will have to be varnished.David Wills
- Kingston, Ontario, Canada
February 18, 2016
A. Leggari products sells the epoxy you are looking for it was specifically formulated for resurfacing countertops.Tylor Svangren
Leggari - Kennewick Washington USA
April 11, 2012
Q. I am gluing pennies on my kitchen floor. Need a a hard CLEAR coat to put on top to finish the floor. Will polyurethane made for wood floor stick to the pennies? If not, any suggestions?Cindy Whitehawk
- Honaunau, Hawaii, USA
A. Hi, Cindy. I'd use the polyurethane made for floors as this bartop stuff is rather soft and probably not good for foot traffic (deep scuffing). A think the poly will stick to the pennies, but do a sample: put four pennies on a scrap of wood and try it before committing it to your kitchen floor. Cleaning the pennies with acetone will probably help, but remember that it is flammable. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 28, 2012
Q. I want to do a table top encapsulated with larger items (i.e. board game pieces, dice, etc.) what product would be best for something that thick? Is it possible?Todd Wahlquist
- South Jordan, Utah
May 2, 2012
Q. Any thoughts about using pourable epoxies for edges? I am using it to coat plywood bamboo and love the cut edge the bamboo which also should be sealed, but I don't want a drippy edge or an epoxy edge the abruptly "ends". Any thoughts on how to make it a consistent finish? Should I stand it on its side to coat the edge? I have also thought about routing a a rounded corner to let the epoxy coat, but I don't want it to flow off either. Anyone have any experience with this?Ben Lowry
- Denver, Colorado, USA
May 3, 2012
Q. I have a "Tiki" bar at my pool.It has a mahogany bar top, I would like to encase sea glass and shells in the bar top with an epoxy finish. Can I stain and urethane the mahogany wood before I use the epoxy?Frank Silva
- Truro, Massachusetts, USA
May 21, 2012
Q. I just poured a clear coat on my concrete table top using this product. There was a 20% chance of rain and guess what ... it rained about 1:30hrs after I poured the clear coat on. now that the product is hard. I have bubbles and pock marks in the clear coat. How do I fix this problem. It's suppose to be in the mid 90's this week and I'm hoping that will soften up the product and work the bubbles out.
- Peoria Illinois
June 18, 2012
Q. Does either Envirotex product hold up to outdoor conditions, aka and outdoor bar top?PJ Maloney
- Albany, New York, USA
July 18, 2012
Q. I am building a tiki bar for my yard and wanted to achieve the same type finish that I have seen in many bars and restaurants. My question is will one of these pourable products work for my needs???Mike Messina
- Toms River New Jersey
A. Hi neighbor. Rather than the thick pourable stuff, I used several coats of polyurethane spar varnish on cabinet grade plywood for my outdoor bar countertops as we've always had great success with it outdoors =>
Of course, it's very thin by pourable standards. If you want the thick pourable stuff, I'd probably follow Tyler's advice about using EX-74 because I think yellowing would be a serious problem if the coating doesn't have UV inhibitors. You can be talking serious money for those thick coatings if it's a large bar. A gallon is 231 cu inches, so divide that by the thickness you want and by 144, to determine the coverage in square feet -- and you'll see that you'll probably need several gallons.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
July 27, 2012
Q. Well guys, this was my first attempt at using epoxy and resin
I followed the instructions, but it's been about 2 weeks and it is still sticky. Is it possible to peel the whole mess off and try again in the same table. After reading all your comments, I know I didn't stir long enough (arms get tired)!
Or, is there any way to get my mix to harden?
- Orcutt, California US
August 2, 2012
Q. Would the two part epoxy resin work on the inside of a chicken coop? It is the season for red mite and they live in the dark creases and crevices of the coop and come out at night and feed on the chickens blood. They are a perpetual problem - one only solved by housing chickens in the plastic coops, however they are an extortionate price to purchase. I am looking for a plastic type coating I can apply to the insides of the coops to prevent having to use the blow torch and insecticides on a weekly basis to treat these critters. Any advice welcome. Many thanks.Annette Aldridge-Allen
- Essex, United Kingdom
October 22, 2012
Q. I'm attempting to use 1/4" pourable poly to finish a custom built bar top. Apparently, my friend the carpenter, built the top for use to finish, but had never used, nor researched the poly. The bar top has a swing door that closes down on the top. It's installed as part of the bar top with hinges that stick out above where the poly would go, but he didn't put moldings on some parts of the bar to hold the poly in. I understand, now that I read this article, that I can build a frame and cover with plastic wrap or wax paper, but how the heck am I supposed to work this around the hinges?
Heather T. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Peekskill New York USA
A. Hi Heather. It's a beautiful cabinet-grade bar. Maybe just use spar varnish instead of 1/4" thick pourable coating?
Otherwise, you can probably take a length of 3/4" diameter flexible clear plastic tubing, slit it in half lengthwise, and cover the hinge line with a dome of half tubing. Your pourable coating should run up to it and hide it pretty inconspicuously.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
November 21, 2012
Q. I use EX-74 to coat stained & sealed wooden boat transom signs that I make. While easy enough to get a nice clear finish, my problem is that the fingerprints left during the drip removal process (after 5 days of untouched curing) won't go away. I follow the mixing instruction to the tee, using 2 containers and placing hardener in first one (recommendation from ETI). Tried to use beeswax furniture polish to remove fingerprints...no luck...even left a couple new scratches in surface and dulled a small portion of sign. This is not the first time this has happened ... but a problem I don't remember having with the non-UV protected Envirotex Lite.
- Warren, Michigan, USA
February 12, 2013
Q. I wish to coat old books with a plastic (waterproof) coating that will protect them enough to be placed outside. These old books are made into bird houses. And I would like to, in effect, turn these books into a solid "slab" like a board. Ideally I am thinking that the liquid should be able to be "painted" on, all over the book, edges, etc. Any ideas? I would really appreciate any input. Thank you.Lee Desmarais
- Ashcroft B.C. Canada
February 24, 2013
A. Fiberglass resin should do the trick for getting the waterproofing you want. I would suggest a slow set resin thinned down with a styrene based thinner rather than acetone. You can heat cure the resin if you like (around 175-200 °C), but considering that it is books I think the standard catalyst should be used.Marc Banks
A. Thank you for the response, I will be sure to try it..
best regards Lee
- Ashcroft. B.C. Canada
August 4, 2013
Q. My project is an outdoor bar. Can anyone tell me of an epoxy product that is UV protected and can handle the extreme range of temperatures we get in north Texas? From what I have read here the EX-74 will not stand up to freeze. Any help would be greatly appreciated.Scott Jones
- Ft Worth, Texas, USA
August 25, 2013
Q. We just did a pour on epoxy on our bar top. Unfortunately we didn't do the seal step and there is a spot of bubbles that came after words and it is drying now. Is there a way to get this out and there is also some spots that didn't fill in like the rest, is it possible to put on a second thin coat to fill in?Carole Strong
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
September 12, 2013
Q. What great advice, tips & warnings! I'm now encouraged to do my own project (3 pc coffee table set).
Quick question: has anyone tried the "Rustin's Plastic Coating"?
If so, How did you like it?
Thank you for all your help (so much of it above, fabulous!)
- Calgary, Alberta, Canada
September 16, 2013
Q. I have covered a dining room table w sand from different beaches and lots of flat seashells, sea fans, star fish, sharks teeth, seahorses ... etc. it turned out great. I didn't bother with torching the bubbles as to me the bubbles make it look like bubbles under the sea! It's COOL!
However I had to use too many small, expensive packages of resin mix.
I know it's not cheap but I need to buy EX-74 in gallons. Several friends are now getting in line for me to do tables for them!
Anyone know where to buy gallons in Florida or online? Thanks a bunch!
- Sarasota, Florida, US
October 1, 2013
Q. THIS IS A CRAZY ENDEAVOR...creating a 'living room' area outside. It is down about three feet down from grass level, and found a unique corner I am turning into a small pond area. The colors are absolutely unique and there is a table rock across the bottom of part of the area. Rather than put a pond liner down that covers up the beauty, would it be possible to pour and spread this epoxy resin right on the dirt and rock to make a sealed pond effect that I could put water in? It would be in a shaded area. I really would like to do this or any other method that would show the 'dirt color' a beautiful rock through the medium. I have never handled this type of product before.Evelyn Garrett
- Nashville, Tennessee, USA
November 5, 2013
Q. I poured the Envirotex on my bottle cap table for the top coat finish it said it gives, and its been drying for 2 whole days now, and is still not dry. What should I do?Elizabeth Wilson
- Cedar Falls, Iowa, U.S.
November 16, 2013
Q. Yikes! Now I am scared. We live on a Gulf Island and I have created an 'antiqued' map of the island. My husband has created a kitchen island and we are about to to use EX-74 (recommended by our plastic store) to put the 2 together. I have the humidity down (not too easy this close to the water) and the temperature up, edges dammed and miles of plastic down. Any last minute advice?Moira Laurie
- Protection Island, Nanaimo BC Canada
November 19, 013
A. Hi. My advice is to read the mixing instructions very carefully. The thing to remember is that 2-component coatings don't "dry", they "react". Without the proper amount of hardener, properly mixed in, they will remain wet and sticky forever. Best of luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
November 19, 2013
Just to let you know it went very well. We followed the directions completely and it has dried hard and clear with no bubbles. It seems a little thin though, the edges of the map and a few wrinkles in the paper still show, so we think we might do another pour on the weekend after it has had a chance to really settle. It's been a fun project!Moira Laurie
- Protection Island Nanaimo BC Canada
Cold weather coatings for bartopMarch 21, 2014
Q. I am building a bar on my back deck and it will be under a roof. What I am looking for is a clear coat to put on the bar top like an epoxy resin but the trouble I have is I live in Pa. and I have heard horror stories about the epoxy cracking and peeling off in the cold states. Does anyone have suggestions for a glass finish that will withstand the cold weather? Thanks.
Standard clear acrylic resin should do fine. Since I'm inclined to be a bit on the cheaper side I'd do a sheet of acrylic over the bar top and glue in place with something like Lexel. That way the acrylic sheet can expand and contract with the temperatures and won't have that sheering stress it would if attached.
Blacksmith - Lenoir, North Carolina USA
May 3, 2014
Q. I gave a glass top coffee table. The glass fits inside the table. Will it work to glue and epoxy pennies on the underside of the table top, leaving enough room around the edges for the glass to fit in when complete? Will the pennies stay adhered to the table upside down? Suggestions?
- Pembroke, Massachusetts
A. Hi Kim. If the glass is clean and the pennies are clean, I think transparent Crazy Glue would work fine.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 14, 2014
Q. I'm wanting to make a sand and seashell resin floor in my kitchen. It's a small kitchen, maybe 30 sq ft. How thick does it need to be? Is this even doable? Can it handle it if I had to pull out my refrigerator? Thanks for any help and advice.Gary Randall
- Florida, usa
A. Hi. If there is no air below the shells it doesn't sound to me like a refrigerator or anything else would break the coating if the floor under it doesn't flex. And it sounds like a very cool project. But we must learn to crawl before we walk, and I personally would not attempt such a large, questionably satisfactory, and non-fixable project without prior experience. For example, what happens if the coating doesn't harden and remains gummy? Play with the coating on something smaller first :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Is there any solution to epoxy that didn't harden?May 24, 2014
Q. I admit that I am at fault. I must not have stirred the ingredients for a long enough period of time because it has not fully hardened and it's been 2 days. I am writing to see if there is anything at all I can do to salvage the project. I love it and so want to be able to keep it.
I placed mirror and slate on a black painted background then poured the clear Enviro-Tech mixture over the whole thing as a counter top. The first time I poured it, it settled and hardened beautifully...but I needed more material to finish the job. I waited a couple of days and then finished the job. It looks beautiful but it feels tacky. It has been raining for the past few days so I am hoping that the moisture in the air may contribute to a slower drying time.
If you have any suggestions at all, I would greatly appreciate your help. Thank you.
- Weare,New Hampshire USA
A. Hi Ellen. I doubt that humidity has anything to do with it, as these two-component coatings don't "dry" through the evaporation of water, they "cure" through a chemical reaction between the components.
Nobody has ever written to this site with a solution to epoxy that didn't harden because of too little hardener, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is no solution. I think I'd try painting the tacky finish with a very light coat of the hardener and see what happens. With luck, it will harden and leave only an oily film of excess hardener that you can wipe up after allowing plenty of curing time. It's probably worth a try.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 25, 2014
Q. Thanks, Ted. I will definitely try your suggestion and get back to you. I really appreciate your help.
Quick question - Should I do another mixture of the material or simply use the hardener?Ellen Dokton [returning]
- Weare, New Hampshire USA
A. Hi Ellen. Again, I've personally never heard of anyone achieving success with poorly mixed and sticky epoxy, so I'm only suggesting something to try, not promising a solution.
But the hardener is an oily solution, and I believe you will be able to wipe up any unreacted hardener. So I'm suggesting that you try just applying hardener, hoping that it will react with any uncured epoxy, and hoping that the excess will wipe up fairly easily. You might experiment first, making a small sample batch of material with two little hardener, and apply it to scrap, then apply this second wash of hardener and see if it hardens and can be cleaned up.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
September 26, 2014
Q. We have built a counter top and poured Famowood Glaze. There a few puck marks. It looks great and the marks can be fixed.
We HATE the fact that our coffee cups leaves dents! The glaze can only take 120 degrees. And also that the glaze is flexible. If we leave the mixer on the countertop it leaves foot marks from the mixer that are to disappear after awhile(self-leveling). We know it also needs to be sealed because food types will stain the glaze deep into the epoxy.
We want to know if there is an epoxy we can pour over our cured epoxy glaze. That can tolerate extreme heat(like 200 degrees) as well as finishes out hard without the flex of Famowood Clear Glaze.
DIY - Reamstown, Pennsylvania USA
November 8, 2014
Q. I would like to paint my walls in my bathroom with a clear Polyurethane, the walls will be Opal. I plan to seal the whole washroom to use a power spray to wash it with.
Can I use this to do walls and ceilings?
Any help would be appreciated.
- Toronto Canada
November 25, 2014
Q. I want to do a round table about 5 foot diameter. I'm wanting to place some coins and mostly matchbook covers. have used a router for a nice 1/2 inch round edge. Do I have to make a border around the edge or can I just do multiple coats that run over the edge.Frank Thomas
- Newport Michigan USA
A. Years ago there was a product called "liquid plastic". it was a one-part product primarily used to finish wood. Does anyone know if it is still available and at what retail outlets?
I used it as a wood hardener/preservative by thinning it down with paint thinner and then letting it soak into the "dryrot" wood and had pretty good results. it was a lot cheaper than using Minwax's wood hardener.
- des moines, iowa
January 15, 2015
Q. I have some 2" thick oak planks that have been cut from old warehouse timbers. The wood is filled with cracks, worm holes, knot holes, and other imperfections which give it character. I am making a table top out of it and am looking for advice on how to fill those imperfections but still allow them to be visible. I want a relatively smooth, matte or satin finish when complete, not glossy.Jim Petek
- Athens, Alabama USA
March 15, 2015
A. Hi, I'm responding to the question regarding the reclaimed oak planks. I use a two part 50/50 epoxy all the time to fill any nail holes, checks, dry rot etc. that I want to fill or stabilize yet remain visible. You need to make sure the product won't run out the bottom of the piece, so after applying a few sealer coats on the bottom I always heavily tape anywhere I think it might flow out as it's so expensive and it WILL find somewhere to flow if it can. I preheat both containers with a hair dryer prior to combining and continue with heat as I mix which I do slowly as not to create excess bubbles. My product I stir 4min. then pour into another container and stir additional 2 min. The heat creates a virtual bubble free mix and aids the flow. I fill all holes etc. and let sit over night as they almost always settle below the surface which I then refill just above surface and sand down after hardening flush with surface. it is now ready for a good over pour. To achieve matte finish I then overspray with dull lacquer which maintains clarity while muting the high gloss. (Note: small holes such as wormholes take several rounds of filling as air gets trapped and takes time to come to surface.)Tom Powers
Reclaimed wood - Ontario, Canada
February 5, 2015
Q. So I'm refinishing my kitchen table and I'm making a luminescent table and want to put a high gloss epoxy finish. What epoxy allows UV light to go through to get the full effect of the glow powder?Mario ortiz
- Grain valley, Missouri
February 25, 2015
Q. I make a lot of wood things -- beds, kitchen tables ... and I have used good wood for these. my daughter wants a country kitchen table. I'm going to use some oak I have and it has knots in it and some thin cracks. all of these are in the middle of the planks. I want to fill them with a clear poly -- something like EX-74. I wanted to tape the bottom, then pour in the poly stuff to level; sand; then put a poly coating over it. Any idea as to what substance to use?richard merriss
- alvaton, Kentucky
Fixing a sticky epoxy tabletopMarch 29, 2015
Q. I recently made a table, with thousands on bottle caps on the top. I sealed it with a two bottle expo resin that was mixed together. I let the table dry for about 4 days, and I thought it was done. The first day, a box was sat on the table and part of the cardboard stuck to the table. Obviously the table was not done drying, but now I have a huge "peeled paper" look on the top of the table. I have tried every cleaner and goo gone to get it off. Nothing seems to work. Can I sand the top and reapply a new layer of the epoxy resin? Or will this make the table cloudy? I'm not sure what to do and I don't want to make the table any worse.
Thank you for your help!
- Mansfield, Texas, USA
Resin, Epoxy, Other?April 28, 2015
Q. We are remodeling our home and doing it on a very short shoestring. Right now we're working on the bathrooms, which were a later priority until the plumbing upstairs started leaking.
My husband is an old master cabinetmaker/yacht builder. He's built a million interiors in high end homes, yachts, and custom coaches. For forty years he's been creating amazing masterpieces and everyone who has ever worked with him or has seen his work is in awe of his abilities and know-how. He and I butt heads over every project we attempt together. He wants to stick to the "tried and true" while I see a brave new world with all sorts of possibilities.
You know what materials he's looking at for the vanity counter tops...laminate, solid surface, boring, boring, boring. What I want to do is make the counter out of resin, epoxy, whatever with sand, shells, and other beachy things embedded in it.
My idea is to use whatever substrate is needed and cover it with resin or something mixed with white sand. Then, I suppose once it's set up some, I'd arrange shells, pebbles, dried seaweed, grass, little dried or fake sea life, tiny "beach things", sparkles & stuff, on the sand. I have read that things like shells should be clear coated before covering them with resin. Then, of course, I'd pour a final layer of resin, let it cure, un-mold it, hand it over to my husband to cut the hole for the sink and install it.
My gigantic problem is that I have no idea what materials to use. I've been researching for about a week and am just getting more and more confused. My husband and son have finally seen pictures that helped me illustrate what I'm visualizing and now they're both on board and very gung ho. I'm being asked how much this is going to cost and how long it'll take to cure but I don't have those answers since I don't even know what materials to use. Can ya'll please throw out some suggestions and education? I'll really appreciate it!
I have a few more questions about some other things going on with this project but I don't want to overload ya'll all at once.
Homemaker, Hobbyist, Wife of a Pro Woodworker - Wakefield, Virginia, USA
A. Hi Cheryl. Although I haven't used the thick, pourable epoxy myself, I have read hundreds of postings about it and come to the conclusion that it's like anything else: you'll make mistakes on your first try: the shells will float, or the carefully placed sand piles will be washed away by the flowing epoxy, or another little problem will mar your first effort. So get some small pieces of plywood, discarded shells and extra sand -- and try it first :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 28, 2015
Q. Hi Ted! Thanks for the rapid response. Shoot, you mean I'm going to have to work to figure this out? ;)
Can you or anyone recommend materials that should do what I'm attempting? I think my husband might frown upon me buying a whole lots of stuff to experiment with.
- Wakefield, Virginia USA
A. Hi again Cheryl. As I said I haven't done it, but "thick pourable epoxy" is what you want if you want something thick and pourable. But yes, it's expensive. A gallon is 231 cubic inches, or 462 square inches at say 1/2" thick.
I'm sure your husband no longer makes the mistakes he made 40 years ago, as he's been experimenting for 40 years. But if he wants you to bet it all on one shot rather than getting a bit of hands-on learning and practice, start right off with your final piece :-)
I suspect you're going to find it almost impossible to let it set up some and then arrange. I don't know from personal experience, but I'm pretty sure that fewer pours is going to work better than many pours, although good success is reported above with two layers. You may be able to glue your sand and shells and stuff down before the main pour(s). Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 4, 2015
Q. Can I use epoxy coat to fill in areas that did not hold the clear epoxy to my tabletop?melissa voyles
- marshfield Missouri usa
Best type of clear finish for a rough surface to be used as a bar topJune 3, 2015 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. I've been researching what the best clear finish is for rough surfaces to give a Class A finish.
For example: I have a rough countertop made of stone, has a sandpaper feel. I want it to be even smoother and have that nice glossy finish.
What options can I use to achieve this?
1. Clear epoxy
2. Tempered glass on top -- what I'm clueless about is what adhesive I would use to attach this to the rough stone countertop.
Contractor - Florida
June 16, 2015
I'd certainly use glass.
It will cost less.
It will resist scratches and stains better
It will not discolor over time
It can easily be replaced if damaged
Any glass shop can recommend the best type and thickness, cut it to size, and polish the edges smooth.
You do not need to glue it in place. Simply glue some 1/2" or 3/4" diameter rubberized cork dots to the underside. you need them only at the corners, and about every three feet along the length.
Any car parts store will have 1/16" thick rubberized cork as it is commonly used to make gaskets.
What accelerates the cure time of bar finish?July 16, 2015
Q. I would like to know if there is a way to accelerate cure times for bar finish. I'm trying to build a coffee table for my parents anniversary. I've made it a memorial table. Pictures of their dogs. With dog tags and collars. To encase the collars with bar finish I had to go 3/8" thick on the bar finish. We left 12 hours between coats. The 4th coat is still wet. Been wet for 5 days. How can I speed up the cure time?Ryan Rexin
hobbies. - Sturgeon Country, Alberta, Canada
Why do I have pock marks after a few hours of applying the high gloss resin and how do I fix it?November 5, 2015
Q. i used the high gloss epoxy on a dining room table, I used it over a well cured oil based polyurethane. I got the air bubbles out and the surface was nice and smooth. After a few hours I started getting pock marks. Why does this happen and what can I do to fix it?sandi haines
hobby - reading Pennsylvania
May 2, 2016
A. I have worked a few "poured" tops and have a couple tricks that work really well.
Mixing... Accurate measurements are critical. ALSO some are measured by weight and not volume, so I suggest reading closely. The "mixing" container should never ever be used for pouring to the table/surface top. Parts of the binary will hug the walls of the container (you won't see them) and will create soft spots in your pour.
Substrate prep... Porous surfaces need pre-sealed or coated with a thin layer of your resin prior (or deco glue will work) to the main pours (1/8 to 1/4" pour is best). Set time is critical on pours and products will tell you the best time gap.. ANY cracks or holes WILL be drain holes when you pour.
Air bubbles... First thing is avoid creating them. The mixing process is tedious and best done with a mixing tool on a drill. Do not "whip" up your resin, and do not get in a hurry, you have plenty of time to mix. After the pour, a simple heat gun works the best.. Propane is great if you have some practice but the heat gun will avoid burn/discolor issues.. (a blow dryer is not a heat gun FWIW) I suggest multiple passes as you can not see most of the tiny bubbles at all (you will only notice them popping as you run your heat gun across the newly poured surface). Repeat the process as many times as it takes to observe no bubbles popping..
Cleanliness... A clean shop is important here as your poured top is going to be a dirt magnet for hours and hours. It is not a bad idea to make a cover (that does not touch the table top) to set in place after the pour and blow out (bubble removal).
I have more but these are the main catch points I found..
- Fort Wayne, Indiana
April 24, 2016
Q. I just poured a bar top for my tiki bar and we got bugs and leaves that landed on it while wet...how can I get them out? I'm planning on pouring over it with a UV resistant epoxy...if i cut the bugs out , can I pour over that with no signs that they were there?Karen Jarolik
- Copperas Cove, Texas
June 12, 2016
Q. Hi there, I am in the process of re-vamping my kitchen worktops. I have primed them with Zinsser BIN, and will be adding a coat of V33 cupboard paint. I would then like to coat them with epoxy resin, to get that high gloss finish. I am OK to use Envirotex over the V33 cupboard paint? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your help.
- United Kingdom
Resin table top problemSeptember 7, 2016
Q. The wood slab i poured with a resin (enviro tex) is
Lifting at some places on the edges. How and what can I do to fix this without doing a repour?
- grand island, nebraska united states