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Epoxy table sanding: Official guide – Sanding & Polishing

It’s a bit of a challenge because sanding down an epoxy table is not easy. The resin becomes quite hard after it dries out completely and therefore sanding is sometimes a bit tricky. But don’t worry, I’ll explain here exactly what you need to pay attention to and what material you need for a perfect result. Then it can also start right away with the step by step instructions, which you can simply follow me. The result should then be a beautiful epoxy resin table with a wonderful surface.

The biggest problem with sanding epoxy is that the epoxy becomes very hard after curing, making it difficult to sand. Most importantly, you’ll notice this in the sandpaper, which will become dull after a very short time and will need to be replaced. Before you replace it, however, you should try to clean it. This is because the hardened resin tends to settle in the sandpaper. One solution to this problem is wet sanding. By having water on the table, the clogging of the sandpaper is significantly reduced and you can use it longer.

  • Sanding off epoxy resin is easiest with wet sanding
  • Resin tends to settle in the sandpaper and wears it out quickly.

In any case, before you even think about picking up the sander, make sure that the epoxy is fully cured. This takes at least 48 hours, but can sometimes take longer. This depends on the epoxy itself and the height of the poured layer, but also on the temperature in the room and the humidity. Check the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and wait a little longer than to ruin the result, in which you have already put so much work, because of impatience.

Polishing the epoxy table

Polishing the epoxy table comes after you have already sanded the table. So I’m getting a little ahead of myself here to better explain to you why the steps explained afterwards are so important. Polishing epoxy will make your epoxy table shine! To do this, you need to use finer and finer sandpaper and work more and more cleanly. After each sanding process, you must remove all sanding dust from the tabletop so that you do not polish scratches into the tabletop. Start with a grit of 180 and work your way up to a grit of 3000.

Then you don’t need to seal the table with resin, you just need to oil it with a good wood oil. Keep in mind, however, that the oil will darken the wood. Therefore, apply only a thin layer of oil and let it soak in. If you want the wood darker, you can apply another layer of oil. Use a clean microfiber cloth and work in circular motions. The wood will absorb more oil than the epoxy, so wipe the table thoroughly the next day.

  • Use progressively finer sandpaper
  • Apply good wood oil and let it soak in

Sand and polish the epoxy table

Let’s get to the intermediate step, because before you can start polishing, you have to sand the table first. If you have run resin on the wood pieces, then use the router to get the table top flat again. If this is not done, then you can start sanding your tabletop directly with an 80 grit. Work your way up to 180 grit and you will see that the surface gets finer and finer and so does the sanding dust. Wipe it off between each new process.

If you are thinking of epoxying the table afterwards, you do not need to polish to 3000 grit. This is because the layer of resin will give you the high gloss finish. Then it is sufficient to finish your polishing with a grit of 220 and pour on the resin. When sanding, always wear a dust cover for your nose and mouth so that you don’t inhale the sanding dust from the wood and epoxy resin. This is anything but healthy.

Sanding the epoxy table

No matter how big or small your epoxy table is, you must sand the table top for a great result. Of course, it’s easier to sand an epoxy coffee table than a large tabletop. This is because you run less risk of applying more pressure in some places while sanding and polishing. This would cause bumps to form, which you might be able to see clearly later. Be especially careful not to apply more pressure to the corners and edges. Unfortunately, this happens more quickly than you would like.

Sanding smaller epoxy surfaces

Now we’ll work on an even smaller surface, and that is an epoxy resin side table. Depending on which format you choose, either round or rectangular / square, you will have different challenges. On a smaller surface, the areas that have already been sanded and those that still need to be sanded will quickly overlap. Therefore, it is better to work in larger circular motions and pay special attention to the corners and edges. With a round table, you can also work your way from the inside to the outside in the form of a spiral, in light circular motions.

Wet or dry?

Wet or dry, that is the question. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, which we will now look at. The advantage of wet sanding is definitely that it creates less dust in the air. Sanding an epoxy resin table with water also means a huge mess. So please put a plastic sheet under the work piece so you can clean up easier when you are done. Another advantage is that the sandpaper to be used specifically for this purpose will last longer. Because it doesn’t stick together as quickly due to the water and the sandpaper lasts longer.

Consequently, the sanding performance is better, because the dust is transported by the water away from the place where you are working. You can therefore achieve the desired result more quickly. But even with wet sanding, you must always wipe the tabletop thoroughly in between to avoid scratches. At the latest when the water becomes milky, you have to take the cloth in your hand. Dry sanding saves you the mess, but the work itself is a bit more tedious. So it’s a matter of weighing up whether wet or dry.

  • Wet grinding improves performance
  • But wet sanding is also a big mess

The sandpaper – wet and dry

For wet sanding your epoxy table, you definitely need special sandpaper. This is because normal sandpaper has a paper backing and this would dissolve in no time if it came into contact with water. The waterproof sandpaper has a closed layer of silicon carbide on it and therefore it will not dissolve in water. Start with a 120 grit, but work up to a 1000 grit. With this particular sandpaper for wet sanding, that’s the finest grit you can currently buy.

If you opt for dry sanding, then you can use ordinary sandpaper. Buy enough sandpaper so you don’t run out in the middle of the job. Because with dry sanding you will have more epoxy in the sandpaper, which will stick. So clean the sandpaper in between and keep using it. Only when you see and feel with your fingers that the grit has become too fine, change the sandpaper. However, even when dry sanding, you must remove the sanding dust regularly and please wear respiratory protection for your mouth and nose.

Wet sanding of epoxy resin

Do not use an electric sander for wet sanding. The risk would be far too high that you could get an electric shock and seriously injure yourself or even die. Wet sanding is therefore done by hand. If you don’t want to do without any equipment, you can use an air-powered sander. For wet sanding by hand, use a hard rubber sanding block and clamp the sandpaper tightly in it. If this is uncomfortable in your hand, you can also put a cloth on the handle.

Then dip the hard rubber sanding block in water and start sanding in circular motions until you can no longer see any sanding marks from the previous grit. Always work cleanly and wipe the table in between so you don’t get any scratches. These will be difficult to remove. If you want to seal the table with epoxy, wipe it thoroughly with paper towels. Afterwards, you should use an electrostatic duster so that no dust particles remain on the table. These would negatively affect the result of the sealing.

  • Wet grinding by hand with hard rubber grinding block
  • Work very clean to avoid scratches

Dry sanding epoxy resin

In dry sanding, we can again work with a machine. Since this does not come into contact with water, we do not need to worry about this. I recommend that you use an eccentric sander, which ensures that you do not sand too deeply in one place. This reduces the risk that you will have unevenness on your tabletop later. Do not work without a respirator, as epoxy dust is toxic. If possible, work in a ventilated room, as you did when pouring the resin. Especially if you used an odorous resin.

Start with a grit of 120 and work your way up to a grit of at least 1000. The higher the number on the sandpaper, the finer your surface will be. For best results, finish with a 3000 grit. If the sandpaper sticks because of the epoxy, clean it with a special rubber stick. Be sure to remove the sanding marks from the previous grit before using the next grit. Then you will get a fabulous result.

The amino flute

Amino redness is the waxy, sticky layer on the epoxy that is sometimes left behind. But here is the good news, this layer can be removed. First try it with a sponge and soapy water. If you are not able to remove the amine redness, then use spirit and a rag, this will definitely work. Alternatively, you can also sand wet. Dry sanding is unfortunately not possible, as the sandpaper would immediately become clogged with the amine blush. So you have to either wash it off or sand it wet.

Why amino redness is bad

No matter what steps you want to take following curing, the amino redness will prevent you from doing so. If you want to seal the table, it won’t bond the next coat properly. If you want to sand dry, then it will clog the sandpaper. So, as you can see, you need to remove the amino flush to not risk your great result. Removal is usually quite simple and quick. Just make sure you have enough liquid, whether it’s soapy water, white spirit or even water for wet sanding.

Sanding off epoxy resin table

As you can see, it is absolutely no witchcraft to sand an epoxy resin table. And let’s face it, you’ve come a long way in your project. You started with one or more pieces of wood and a bucket full of epoxy. Now the table top is already out of the mold and you have your wood pieces already in the epoxy. Sanding may be your least favorite step, but it is the finish and perfects the work you did before. So you can already be very proud of yourself and your accomplishment!

If you’re a perfectionist, you can also seal the table rather than just rubbing it with a good wood oil. Sealing has the advantage that the wood is perfectly preserved and the epoxy can’t get a yellow tint. Sealing is more work, but the result is a high-gloss table that may survive all eternity. How to do the sealing step by step, we will now look at. This step is also difficult, but accurate and clean work is again absolutely necessary.

The sealing

First of all, turn your tabletop over. Put a soft mat on your surface beforehand so that the top of the table doesn’t get scratched. Then start applying the masking tape with a distance of about 1 to 2 cm at the edge of the table. This will prevent the resin from forming drops on the top of the table. Then pour the resin over the plate and spread it evenly. Be sure to let it dry out completely before flipping the tabletop over. Patience is definitely a virtue with this project, but you will be rewarded with a great table.

Then you can flip the tabletop over and repeat the entire process. This time, however, glue the tape to the bottom of the edge and let it stick out as far as possible. This will allow the resin to drip down over the tape and not reach your underside of the tabletop. Then pour the resin over the top of the tabletop and let it cure completely. Then there’s nothing to stop you from screwing on the table legs and you can finally use your table! A great project is complete with a wonderful result.