A few minutes of searching online and you will find there are many types of epoxy and prices vary between brand and suppliers. So what epoxy should you use? Well here are the basics, followed by a list of products and suppliers.
1) Select an epoxy designed for use in boat building, meaning it is formulated to bond with wood and laminate both wood and fiberglass. (links below) Avoid craft epoxies like “5 minute epoxy” , “casting epoxy” , “table top epoxy” , etc.
2) Select the correct cure speed. The hotter the temperature, the slower the cure speed you need. Each brand is different and will have the recommended temperature ranges for each speed available. As a rule of thumb, you want fast hardener in cold weather and slow in hot weather. There are also minimum and maximum temperatures, which the supplier will also have published.
3) Have the proper equipment, you will want pumps or metered cups for measuring out your epoxy for mixing. When working with epoxy we recommend wooden craft sticks for mixing, old plastic containers or bowls for mixing in, nitrile gloves to avoid skin contact, disposable chip brushes , rollers and notched trowels for application. A steady supply of fresh air is important and a respirator can also be a great asset. Most of these items can be purchased from those selling epoxy, but we pick them up locally, links below.
Epoxy Resin Suppliers:
“Economy” Epoxy – For those looking to save some cash we recommend US Composites “635 Thin” epoxy http://www.uscomposites.com/epoxy.html On this page you will see all their different formulations and cure times.
“Mid Grade” Epoxy – If you want to pay a little more, check out the TotalBoat “High Performance 2:1” epoxy http://www.totalboat.com/product/high-performance-21-epoxy-kits/ They also sell the resin and hardener individually if you wish to purchase other supplies locally.
“Premium” Epoxy – If you want a brand that has been around from the beginning, as in they literally wrote the book on it, check out West Systems “105” resin with matching hardener, which can also be purchased from US Composites at the bottom of the page http://www.uscomposites.com/epoxy.html You could also shop around online or locally and possibly find a better price.
There are 2 other brands worth mentioning. System Three, which has been around for some time and makes quality product. Also, MAS Epoxy, which makes a great product as well. They are in the same price range as West System. There are others I have not used, so I will offer no comments or mention of their products.
Stir Sticks – we found that the local arts and crafts stores (like Michaels, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc) have the best prices, especially considering the 40-50% off coupons they offer. Link here
Mixing Cups – Using left over food containers that yogurt, butter, sour cream, cool whip etc come in work great. Or you can purchase waxed paper or plastic bowls from most any grocery store. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Everyday-Paper-Bowls-10-oz-70-Count/754133503
Gloves – We like the 5 mil thick nitrile gloves and get ours at Harbor Freight. https://www.harborfreight.com/5-mil-nitrile-powder-free-gloves-100-pc-large-68497.html
Chip Brushes – We pick these up from Harbor Freight also. https://www.harborfreight.com/2-in-industrial-grade-chip-brushes-36-pc-63654.html
Foam Rollers – Once again, Harbor Freight is the source, but be warned they dissolve in resin so life span is short, but they work great when you need them! https://www.harborfreight.com/4-piece-foam-mini-roller-set-95066.html
Notched Spreader – This can be tricky to find, but they are often in the grout and tile section of the hardware store. The compact size and how easy to clean mean you will get many uses from them. https://www.lowes.com/pd/QLT-by-Marshalltown-5-in-Ground-Steel-V-Notch-Ceramic-Floor-Trowel/1000290221