Question about finishing a breakfast bar with Resin

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Forum topic by garageguy posted 08-14-2012 05:58 PM 2742 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 2433 days

08-14-2012 05:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: epoxy walnut

I have a slab of black walnut (with bark on both sides) that I am using for a breakfast bar. I was looking into the best way to seal this wood and wondered about epoxy. I have never used epoxy and wondered if this was the way to go.

Will the epoxy make any imperfections in the wood smooth?

Any input from the experts?

-- Joe - Kearney, Missouri

10 replies so far

View Pdub's profile


924 posts in 3354 days

#1 posted 08-14-2012 08:01 PM

I have used a clear epoxy resin on smaller projects and it worked great. It’s self leveling so the finish should be smooth. I don’t remember the brand but I got it at Menards. You can find many brands on line to choose from.

Disclaimer I am not one of the experts on this subject!!!

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

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779 posts in 2438 days

#2 posted 08-14-2012 08:08 PM

Well, the finish depends on what look you’re trying to achieve, usage, and environment. So, there are actually a number of different things you could do to finish that piece of wood. I’ll just move on to epoxy (resin) though.

Depending on the type of epoxy you’re using (I’m guessing you’re wanting to use one of the bartop-type kits), it should smooth everything out if you have small holes (really small) or dents, cuts, etc. (if those are the imperfections you’re talking about). Make sure to mix properly and be prepared to lay it down pretty fast.

Do not apply it on the work table as you have in your picture. Chances are, you’ll bond the two of them together.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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1850 posts in 3161 days

#3 posted 08-14-2012 09:28 PM

I used a 2 part epoxy from here to coat a bar that I made.
If you use an epoxy to coat it, first do a thin coat to seal the wood. That will help to prevent bubbles in the final thick coat.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3224 days

#4 posted 08-14-2012 10:52 PM

40 years ago I built a 2’ x 8’ work bench of 2×4s on edge and through bolted. As I was doing stuff like rebuilding carburators and transmissions on it, I wanted a durable, easy to clean surface. I used Behr Build 50 then ( can’t find it now but bartop kits are very similar). Now, the top has a lovely patina, the top still shines (when I can see it), and the few scratches (it’s really hard) go away with a coat of wax. It’s great.

What you have to do is build a dam around the edges of your slab. Use really stiff tape. I believe my kit came with adhesive backed stiff paper like card stock. Get it on around the perimeter to allow the epoxy to build instead of running off. Mix and pour. It self-levels, so make sure the slab is level. It will fill any imperfections if you mix enough. Do it in ONE coat.

If you’re careful, it will level and air bubbles will work to the surface and disappear. I had none on 16 square feet. I had my wife’s hair dryer ready in case any looked stubborn, but none stayed. Follow the instructions and especially the temp recommendations. Use in a well ventillated place—garage door up. The stuff gets hot as it cures so I would screw some battens across the underside to keep the heat from pulling the slab. Once set up, you can drop an anvil on it with no worries. Gloss like glass and eaasy to clean; nothing sticks to it.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View garageguy's profile


11 posts in 2433 days

#5 posted 08-15-2012 12:28 AM

Thanks for all the input. I am not sure exactly how I will build a wall around the edge of the slab, as it is bark and an interesting shape. I am sure I will figure something out. Thanks again….

-- Joe - Kearney, Missouri

View PittsburghTim's profile


232 posts in 2496 days

#6 posted 08-15-2012 12:44 AM

From my experience, I would caution you against keeping the bark. While it is beautiful, it would not likely remain in tact for long, even if coated with epoxy. When someone leans on it or bangs a chair or stool against it, it will break off.

Also, if you use epoxy, take Mr. Smith’s advice. Walnut is somewhat porous and air bubbles will form and ruin the finish if the grain is not filled or sealed in some way. I have learned this the hard way. Epoxy takes a lot of sanding to remove.

Hope this helps.

-- She asked me, "Who are you going to please with that?" I said, "Me."

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11 posts in 2433 days

#7 posted 08-15-2012 03:35 AM

Thanks Pittsburgh, I planned on applying a thin coat first then the thick stuff once that dried.

-- Joe - Kearney, Missouri

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2438 days

#8 posted 08-15-2012 04:20 AM

Well, that stuff should set rather quickly. It starts becoming unworkable fast enough that you shouldn’t worry too much about it getting all over everything if you’re careful.

Use a brush on the bark and a trowel or spreader on top. I agree with Tim. If that bark and slab aren’t fully dry and holding, chances are they aren’t going to stay together long. Sometimes though, the bark clings pretty good. It’s going to be a judgement call on your end and a possible roll of the dice.

You might be able to use a torch to coax any bubbles to the surface… or a heat gun. Avoid direct flame contact though. That could cause a bad situation quickly. Just heat the surface above the bubble and, again, do not hit it directly with the flame. This advice should only be followed if the manufacturer makes no warning about application of heat or flame. Always follow warnings and directions

Make sure that the epoxy you’re using will allow 2 coats. Sometimes that stuff is a one shot deal (though most of the time you can add another coat).

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2864 days

#9 posted 08-15-2012 01:46 PM

Spray on a layer of seal coat, this will prevent most bubbles from forming in the epoxy.

With your “live” edge I wouldn’t try to control the pour on the sides, I would let it run down over them so that they become encased in the epoxy.

Don’t pour too fast, let it work it’s way around on the board, don’t stir it too vigorously as this will add bubbles. Also, any bubbles that do appear, stick them with a needle to release them, but only while the epoxy is still very wet, once it starts to set up, you’re done and it’s then up to the epoxy gods.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Brett's profile


661 posts in 2857 days

#10 posted 08-15-2012 01:57 PM

Honestly, at first I wondered why you would want to finish one of these breakfast bars with resin:

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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