Embarrassed Newbie

Finishing epoxy and wood on River Tables

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Hi.  I'm looking for some guidance on finishing epoxy river tables.  I know there are a ton of videos online; I've watched many.  But my results were not as expected.  I have a small table (really just a test since I had never used epoxy that my daughter now wants for an end table).  As recommended in a couple of videos, I sanded it all down to 320 and used two coats of Osmo Polyx, but I had a lot of scratches on the epoxy.  It was also overall fairly cloudy.  It was always meant to be opaque, but this was cloudy from the finish.  So I decided to wet sand the whole top to 1500.  Naturally, that also took off the Osmo Polyx from the wood.  Even wet sanded at 1500, the epoxy has scratches although it's clearer than it was.  I'm planning to polish the epoxy with Meguiar's Ultimate compound to remove those scratches.  My question is at what point do I refinish the wood with Osmo?  Do I polish the epoxy to get that as clear as possible and then Osmo the whole project?  If I get the epoxy perfectly clean from scratches, what will the Osmo do over the epoxy?  Thanks for any advice you can provide. 

 

IMG_4871.thumb.JPG.e395f7a148d3183843c62d42d81e22d6.JPG

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I don't think Osmo is going to work on epoxy. Part of that finish is an oil that penetrates into the wood and leaves solids in the wax behind. The oils won't penetrate into the epoxy and the wax is going to wipe off the surface as not much sticks to epoxy. Even epoxy doesn't stick to epoxy which is why when it's layered you have to complete the layers before the base cures completely or you have to provide a mechanical means for the layers to adhere (aka sanding).

In order to remove the scratches you need to polish the epoxy. It sounds like you tried this to some extent and the stuff you are experiencing is that you aren't removing the scratches form the previous grit before you move on to the next grit or you have detritus on your sandpaper that is leaving scratches behind. When it gets to finishing the osmo will work on the wood but it's just going to wipe right off the polished epoxy and essentially will leave you with unprotected epoxy. If this is for a table i'd rather have a film finish on there than unprotected epoxy. Epoxy is very soft and will scratch easily and after a short time your table is going to look like a bar top. If it were me I'd take everything down a bit more maybe move back to 180 grit or 220 grit and then work your way back up. If the scratches that are left behind are large you might need to move all the way back to 120. This will be an exercise in sanding properly. So 120 180 220 320 400 500 1000 no skipping. Then i'd hit it with a film finish like a wiping poly or shellac. The film will fill in the very small scratches on the epoxy that get left behind. If you are going to go osmo i'd polish that sucker the same way you'd finish an automotive clear coat. Then be prepared for the epoxy to get micro scratches.

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Chestnut-  Thanks for the response.  Your comments on Osmo on epoxy make sense, but I saw a couple of youtubers who really like Osmo on epoxy.  Just because it's on youtube, though, doesn't make it correct!  I'll polish the epoxy like auto clear coat.  Then I'll look at a different finish.  I liked the look of the Osmo on the wood.  Could I hit the wood with Osmo and then protect the whole thing with wipe on poly?

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7 minutes ago, Embarrassed Newbie said:

Chestnut-  Thanks for the response.  Your comments on Osmo on epoxy make sense, but I saw a couple of youtubers who really like Osmo on epoxy.  Just because it's on youtube, though, doesn't make it correct!  I'll polish the epoxy like auto clear coat.  Then I'll look at a different finish.  I liked the look of the Osmo on the wood.  Could I hit the wood with Osmo and then protect the whole thing with wipe on poly?

You could probably do the opposite hit the whole thing with a thinned wipe on poly and then osmo on top of that. A couple thin coats will build on the eopxy but may not build fully on the wood leaving the best of both worlds.

As with everything try this on a scrap piece before you main project, or test it on the underside. Also to note beings that you have already applied osmo to it you have oil and wax in the wood. Poly won't adhere to that you may be stuck.... but i don't use osmo so I'm not entirely sure. I don't know how deep that finish penetrates nor if that will impact the poly my gut says it will impact the poly.

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I haven't tried to polish epoxy but I use Alumilite resin quite a bit in turning and process should be similar.  Fine scratches are really visible and a lot of tuners recommend sanding up to 12000.  What works well for me, is to sand to 800, then I use as series of shop made polishing compounds that are progressively finer in grit.  I use Mothers Mag and Aluminum polish to bring it to a high gloss.  I have tried to skip the polishing compounds and go straight to the final polish and it doesn't work.  You might be able to use a rubbing compound before your polish to accomplish the same thing.  For a finish I  would use a couple of coats of wax like https://www.minwax.com/wood-products/specialty-finishes/minwax-paste-finishing-wax    It is durable, easy to repair and you won't have compatibility issues between the wood and epoxy. 

 

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Just Bob has the key - the plastic must be sanded to a much higher grit to achieve a clear finish. 1500, or 2000 isn't going to cut it.

Be careful about using compounds to polish, as the paste carrier may stain the wood.

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I'm kind of currious why the epoxy needs polishing?  I thought it would be pretty smooth when poured.  Did it get scratched during other parts of the construction?

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6 hours ago, Embarrassed Newbie said:

, but I saw a couple of youtubers who really like Osmo on epoxy.  

Take it with a grain of salt please. There are some literal morons producing how to's on YouTube.

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3 hours ago, Mark J said:

I'm kind of currious why the epoxy needs polishing?  I thought it would be pretty smooth when poured.  Did it get scratched during other parts of the construction?

Wood isn't finish ready off the saw, epoxy isn't furniture ready from the pour unless you're pouring in a clean room, with heated resin on a vibrating table.

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27 minutes ago, Brendon_t said:

Take it with a grain of salt please. There are some literal morons producing how to's on YouTube.

That and remember that these you-tubers may be getting money from Osmo to push their product and can hide a lot of stuff in video that wouldn't fly if you see it in person. I can put lipstick on a pig and make it look super attractive in a picture/video.

If you follow Marc (the woodwhisperer) at all he's posted many many times on Instagram about getting hate mail and nasty calls from company owners for products he gives bad reviews on.

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On 5/25/2019 at 7:22 AM, Embarrassed Newbie said:

Chestnut-  Thanks for the response.  Your comments on Osmo on epoxy make sense, but I saw a couple of youtubers who really like Osmo on epoxy.  Just because it's on youtube, though, doesn't make it correct!  I'll polish the epoxy like auto clear coat.  Then I'll look at a different finish.  I liked the look of the Osmo on the wood.  Could I hit the wood with Osmo and then protect the whole thing with wipe on poly?

Hi Just picking up on this. Have a look at the Canadian guys videos from Black Forest Wood Co, and Blacktail Studio,  

https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi6k4TRxPbqAhUaxzgGHctHCVIQwqsBMAF6BAgJEAc&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DWSOgOByM100&usg=AOvVaw04WxUWrq7eT7e6zlc1xaan

https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwi6k4TRxPbqAhUaxzgGHctHCVIQwqsBMAB6BAgJEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DQv_cOr9Usn4&usg=AOvVaw1PWRMFNGfrqmXhDcjDRsBB

 

Just finished a small coffee table doing this and all works fine,  photo below, this is the Polyx Oil satin finish

 

Martin

 

IMG_1948.jpeg

Edited by MartinW
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A couple of pine boards, some epoxy and metal legs.  That's some fantastic woodworking:ph34r:

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