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4 Best Finishes for Epoxy Table Top (Updated 2021)

4 Best Finishes for Epoxy Table Top (Updated 2021)

In this article, learn the 4 best finishes for epoxy table top. Also, I show you how to choose the best finish for your project and how to apply each.

Even if you don’t need to finish a wood or epoxy table top, the techniques I cover in this article can be applied to any epoxy or wood project.

Video Tutorial: Epoxy Table Top Finish

There are several things which are difficult to fully explain with words and images, so be sure to check out the video tutorial below!

So, let’s dive right in with a list of things I use to finish epoxy wood tables.

Tools and Material

I included all the tools and materials for this project below.

For your convenience, I wrote an article to help you choose the best epoxy resin for your DIY project.
I encourage you to read this article to learn about the various types of epoxy resin.

Choosing the Best Finish for Epoxy Wood Table

When it comes to epoxy table top finishes, one-size-fits-all does not apply.
Three factors help me determine the type of finish I use on my tables.

  1. Sheen Preference (Matte, Satin, Gloss)
  2. Location (Interior or Exterior)
  3. Maintenance or Upkeep

Essentially, these finishes allow me to satisfy most of my client’s requirements.

My 4 best finishes for epoxy table tops as well as wood and resin art projects are:

best finishes for epoxy river table

Now, it’s time to learn about each table top finish in greater detail.
So, keep reading.

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c Pure

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c
Plastic Spreader
Measurement Syringe

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c is a 2-part (3 parts oil to 1 part activator) finish which leaves a matte/satin sheen and fantastic protection.
This stuff literally works like magic and it’s great to use on wood and resin projects.
I use Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c to finish epoxy wood tables to satisfy the following requirements:

  • Interior projects
  • Matte/Satin Sheen

Cost for Rubio Monocoat

For 350mL, RMC oil plus 2c will set you back $50.40 on Amazon.
So, it is roughly $4.25 per ounce.

Best Finishes for Epoxy River Table Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c

RMC oil plus 2c comes in 2 cans stacked on top of one another.
The larger can is the oil and the shorter can is activator.
Keep in mind, you can use the oil without the activator, but it takes much longer to cure.
I don’t have any experience with only using the oil as I only use it with the activator.

Rubio Monocoat Tips

Due to its advanced molecular bonding technology, it only requires a single layer.
It is truly a 1 step finish with 0% VOCs or water and also bonds to bare wood at the molecular level.
Rubio Monocoat is used quite often for wood flooring, so it’s made to withstand abuse.

Rubio monocoat oil plus 2c is available in 40 standard colors plus multiple trend colors.
I prefer to use Rubio Monocoat without color, but I may use color in future projects to enhance the grain of certain wood species.
Although Rubio Monocoat produce many wood finishes for exterior use, oil plus 2c is not one of them.

I have learned RMC oil plus 2c has a 2 week shelf life after opening the can if the cans are sealed properly.
After mixing, it lasts 6 to 8 hours.

How to Apply Rubio Monocoat to a Table

Rubio monocoat is very simple to apply.
Most importantly, I recommend to use a proper wood sanding technique and grit sequence (40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320, etc.).

As a quick tip, I sand up to 320 grit then back down to 120 grit before applying rubio monocoat oil plus 2c.

Determine Square Footage

First, determine the coverage area by calculating the square footage of the area (Length (ft) x Width (ft) = Square Footage).

How much rubio monocoat do you need per square foot?

One ounce of Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c covers 10 square feet.
Keep in mind, porous wood may require more material; however, start with 1 ounce per 10 square feet in order to not waste material.

Mix Rubio Monocoat

Next, mix 3 parts oil to 1 part activator.
This stuff goes a long way and it’s very easy to apply.
In order to achieve the proper mixture, I use a measuring syringe.
The syringe makes it easy to remove the material from the can without spilling it.
Also, I use a different syringe for part A and part B so the material doesn’t cure in the syringe.

rubio monocoat mixing ratio

Apply Rubio Monocoat

Next, I dump the material in the middle of the table.

rubio monocoat oil plus 2c furniture application

I use a plastic spreader to work the material towards the sides and ends of the table.

apply rubio monocoat to an epoxy river table

Once the surface is completely covered, I allow a bead of oil to drip over the sides and use my hand with nitrile gloves to spread the material.

apply rubio monocoat oil plus 2c to epoxy wood table live edge

I allow the finish to sit for roughly 10 minutes to make certain the molecular bond reaction occurs.
Then, I wipe off the excess with a rag.
I try to remove as much excess with the rag in a 10 to 15 minute time interval.

apply rubio monocoat to epoxy table top

As a last step, I use my Festool RO125 sander in rotary mode with no vacuum attached to completely remove the excess.

how to apply rubio monocoat oil plus 2c to a table

Depending on the wood surface, I use a soft felt pad or sheepskin pad to remove excess rubio monocoat oil plus 2c.

How to Clean Wool Buffing Pads

As a quick tip, use a spur tool and simple green to clean sheepskin and polishing pads.

how to clean wool buffing pads

The spur tool combined with simple green allows me to reuse my sheepskin and polishing pads.
To prolong my sheepskin wool pads even longer, I use one pad per finish.
In other words, I have 1 pad I only use with Rubio Monocoat.

how to clean wool buffing pads

In a well ventilated room, the surface can be used within 24 to 36 hours. 

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c Best Finish for Epoxy River Table
Transparent Epoxy River Desk with Rocks Final Picture

Odie’s Oil Finish on Epoxy Wood Table

Odie’s Oil
Scotch Brite Pads
Terry Towels

Like Rubio Monocoat, Odie’s oil protects wood surfaces with one coat, contains no toxic solvents, and it’s easy to apply.  

Furthermore, it is made in the great US of A.
Odie’s Oil costs $54.99 for a 9 ounce bottle on Amazon.
The 9 ounce bottle covers 400 square feet of hardwood surface area, which is roughly $6.00 per ounce.

When do I use Odie’s Oil to finish epoxy table tops?

  • For interior and exterior projects.
  • To better control sheen levels.

Control Sheen

The final sanding grit determines the sheen level of Odie’s Oil.
Higher grit sandpaper produces a high sheen level and lower grits produce a lower sheen level.

I use the following sandpaper grit to sheen level guide to achieve various sheen levels using Odie’s Oil.

220 Grit = Flat/Matte Finish

400 to 600 Grit = Satin/Eggshell Finish

800 to 1000 Grit = Semi-Gloss Finish

1200 Grit and above = Gloss Finish

How to Apply Odie’s Oil on Epoxy Table

It is important to thoroughly mix the oil to a consistency close to honey.
Many of the ingredients of the oil sink to the bottom, so I mix well before each application.

As a quick tip, do not skip any grits while sanding.  My sanding grit progression is 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200.

To apply Odie’s oil, I use either a fine scotch brite pad or a polishing pad with a low speed setting on my RO125.

Additionally, gloves are not necessary when applying Odie’s Oil.
Next, I allow it to setup for 45 minutes.
Odie’s oil produces a light haze (similar to dust on a surface) when completely set up.
I remove the as much of the excess oil with a clean, 100% terry towel.

Then, I buff it off with a sheepskin pad using my Festool RO125 in rotary mode with no vacuum attached.

Keep in mind, buffing isn’t necessary as long as all the finish is removed from the surface with the Terry Towel.
Buffing the surface gives me the peace of mind to know I removed all the material.

The piece can be handled almost immediately after buffing, but I recommend to give it 24 hours before any use.
If the piece will be exposed to water or liquid, Odie’s Oil recommends 10 to 14 days of cure time.
I’ve exposed pieces to water after 5 days with no issues.
However, I recommend to err on the side of caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Festool Polishing Compound MPA 5010

Festool Polish 5010
Polishing Sponge (Orange)

I use festool polishing compound MPA 5010 with the corresponding sponge in the following situations:

  • To remove scratches from epoxy and apply a finish at the same time.
  • For high sheen levels.
  • Mostly, I polish epoxy for my epoxy resin wall art projects.

For example, I used this polishing compound on my resin wave wall art project to not only remove tiny epoxy scratches, but also as a finish.

Festool Polish - Best Finish for epoxy river table

Festool Polishing System

Festool has a system for everything and their polishing compounds are no exception.
This system works well in the automotive industry and can also be used to achieve a high sheen on wood.
The color-coded bottles and sponges provide a system to achieve great results without frustration and confusion.
In addition, the sponges come in flat and waffled versions.
I normally use the flat sponge as it works well for flat surfaces, but the waffle sponge works on flat surfaces as well.
Basically, I use the sponge that is cleaner of the two.

As a quick tip, MPA is a festool abbreviation system for their polishes. So, the number 5010 equates to 5000 grit polish.

I find the orange polish is perfect for wood surfaces as it produces the least amount of gloss compared to other festool polishes.
For wood and resin surfaces, the sheen of the orange festool polish is plenty in my opinion.

How to Polish Epoxy Resin Table Top

Before I apply the polish, I sand up to 1200 or 2000 grit.
I use my RO125 in rotary mode on the lowest speed setting with no dust collection attached.

Festool Polish - Best Finish for epoxy river table

Next, I place the polish on the surface and spread it around with the sponge. 

Polishing epoxy wood table

I do this to load up the sponge with polish and to prevent it from spraying everywhere.

How to apply polish to epoxy river table

Then, I work the polish into the wood and resin.

Best Finishes for epoxy river table Festool Polish

To remove the polish, I use a sheepskin pad or felt polishing pad depending on my inventory.

Buffing Polish with Festool Sheepskin

The sheepskin pad works well for removing polish from wood and resin surfaces.

how to polish epoxy river table

Epoxy Polish Alternative

If you don’t already own festool products, it makes no sense to invest money into this system for polishing.
I recommend using McGuires Mirror Glaze to achieve similar results; however, the sheen will be higher than the orange festool polish.
Ultimately, I use the festool polishing system because it removes the guesswork for me and produces a fantastic result as depicted from the resin and wood wave art piece below.
As a result, this saves me time and I get more use from the tools I own.

resin and wood wave art

Stonecoat Countertop Epoxy

Stonecoat Countertop Epoxy
Rubber Squeegee
1/8″ trowel
Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush

To round out my best finishes for epoxy river tables is Stonecoat countertop epoxy.

Best finishes for epoxy river table stonecoat countertop epoxy

I use an epoxy table top finish ONLY when my client specifically requests an epoxy top coat as the final finish.
Otherwise, I steer clear of this table top finish.
Some of my clients prefer an epoxy finish, but I don’t for the following reasons:

  • I’m not a fan of the high gloss finish.
  • Does not hold up well outdoors (even under shade).
  • Difficult to Apply.
  • Makes a Mess.
  • Require harsh chemicals to clean spills and epoxy resin tools
  • Time consuming and requires multiple layers.
  • Requires me to close my shop for a few days to avoid dust contamination.
  • It is the most expensive.
    • As a result, mistakes are expensive.

Epoxy Finish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

As mentioned, an epoxy finish for an outdoor table does not work well without additional protection.
Obviously, I learned this lesson the hard way after a $6,000 epoxy table fail.

epoxy table fail

If you plan to use this finish, learn how to properly protect an outdoor epoxy wood table top from exterior elements.

how to protect outdoor epoxy wood table

How to Apply Epoxy Wood Table Top

Stonecoat countertop epoxy requires a minimum of 3 coats when used on a resin and wood table: 2 Seal Coats, 1 Flood Coat.
Furthermore, it is important to learn how to prep wood for epoxy by using the proper wood sanding technique.

Seal Coat

The first 2 coats are seal coats and cover 1 square foot of surface area per ounce.

epoxy seal coat for bar top

A rubber squeegee works well to spread the material on the surface of the wood.
These coats seal the wood to prevent air bubbles for the final flood coat.

spread epoxy with rubber squeegee

Before I apply the second seal coat, I lightly sand the epoxy wood surface with 220 grit or higher.
It’s important to note each seal coat requires 24 hours to dry and requires a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper (or higher) between coats.

how to sand epoxy between top coats

Epoxy Flood Coat

The flood coat requires 3 ounces of stonecoat epoxy per square foot of surface area.
First, I sand the surface and pour the epoxy on the table.

sand epoxy wood table between finish coats
best finish for epoxy river table - epoxy flood coat

It’s recommended to apply stonecoat epoxy with a 1/8th inch trowel.

spread epoxy on table with trowel

Once I spread the material evenly with the trowel, I dab the epoxy with a synthetic shortcut brush to get rid of the trowel marks.

stonecoat countertop epoxy chop brush

As a last step, I use a torch or heat gun over the material.
Heat helps the epoxy self level and it removes any remaining air bubbles.

remove air bubbles from epoxy with torch

This process involves many steps which I covered in great detail in my reclaimed epoxy bar top project.
Also, I replaced the epoxy bar top in this example with a new live edge river table bar top in the picture below.

diy live edge river table with epoxy

Best Epoxy Table Top Finish Summary

In this article, I reviewed the best epoxy table top finishes and listed the pros and cons of each.
However, you may still be asking yourself, “How do I choose which finish to use?.”
Well, great question.
Below is a quick guide I use to decide which finish to use.

what finish to use on epoxy river table

Conclusion

In conclusion, I hope my best finishes for epoxy river table list provided you with value.
Please leave a comment down below and let me know your best finish for epoxy resin & wood projects.
Be sure to visit my online store for downloadable DIY project plans and handmade items for sale.

Related Posts

Frequently Asked Questions

How many square feet does Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c cover?

1 ounce of Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c covers 10 square feet of surface area.

How do you get scratches out of epoxy?

To get scratches out of epoxy, sand the area with 220 grit sandpaper and use a high quality car polish.

Why is my epoxy resin sticky?

The most common cause for sticky epoxy resin is a disruption in the chemical reaction process.

What can I use to polish epoxy resin?

To polish epoxy resin, use a high quality car or furniture polish.

What kind of wax to use on epoxy table top?

The best wax to use on an epoxy table top is Odie’s Oil hard wax.

Joseph Davis

Thursday 5th of November 2020

Hi Jeremy, just wanted to say thanks for this great info. There's so many ways and combinations for how to finish a wood/epoxy piece. This narrows down the different approaches to an easy four! I'm going to order the Odie's Oil and give it a try. It's food safe, uv protectant and can be applied to both the wood and the epoxy. Plus as you've noted in the blog post, you can control the sheen based on the sanding strategy you've listed. Great info and thanks for posting it!

Jeremy

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

Hi Joseph, you are very welcome! I'm happy my post provided you with value.

Chris Festa

Sunday 1st of November 2020

Finishing a mostly resin table with small wood pieces Resin tinted but generally translucent. Sanded to 2000 in order to get a shiny finish. Have used Osmo w mixed results. Difficulty getting a purely translucent non clouded finish on the epoxy portions. Wood looks great however. For the predominantly resin table top what would you recommend.

Jeremy

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

Hi Chris, I would recommend using Odie's Oil. Is the cloudiness due to the finish or in the epoxy itself?

Chris Festa

Sunday 1st of November 2020

Finishing a mostly resin table with small wood pieces Resin tinted but generally translucent. Sanded to 2000 in order to get a shiny finish. Have used Osmo w mixed results. Difficulty getting a purely translucent non clouded finish on the epoxy portions. Wood looks great however. For the predominantly resin table top what would you recommend. End table not

Linda

Thursday 8th of October 2020

Great post! I was wondering as I see many people using Rubio on river tables and cheese boards. My question is: is Rubio food safe product?

Tim

Tuesday 15th of September 2020

I found your site and was thought your tutorial is great. I have been making epoxy tables and ran into an issue you might have experienced. I have mixed clear with color epoxy making spots where the light comes through and you can see through. It looks great with an epoxy top but i had to sand the top down to remove a bug and now I cannot get the high glossy clear look. I have sanded to 2000 and tried rubio but the sating finish did not make the clear look good. any thoughts, i have used Odies in the past but di not realize you could sand to change the sheen. You sand the odies after application to increase the sheen, correct? I wonder if that will work to make the clear more glass like.

Comments are closed.