“Which epoxy resin should I use?” An excellent question, and one we get asked all the time. So, let’s dive into the resin options we offer across many applications. Below we have sectioned them off by our most frequently asked questions. If you want to know more about a specific product check out the additional information available on the product pages.
Should I use Table Top Pro or Art Pro resin?
What is the difference between MAS Table Top Pro and MAS Art Pro epoxy? Because they’re both 1:1 products that cure clear there is some overlap in the applications you can use them for.
Here are some applications you can use each of them for!
Art – Use Art Pro or Table Top Pro
Art Pro is a system developed for artists! It has a long gel time, thick viscosity and UV inhibitors, which makes it a great choice for artists. You can add a variety of pigments to it to add color to your work including alcohol inks, acrylic paint and mica powders.
Table Top Pro is more cost effective, but doesn’t have the UV inhibitors like Art Pro. Be aware the gel time is half the speed of Art Pro, which means you have less time in the mixing container to use it, but also means you can pour more layers in a day!
Our customers love both products for lacing applications!
Tabletop Applications – Use Table Top Pro
Use Table Top Pro for coating bars and tables. While Art Pro has UV additives and may be tempting to use, Table Top Pro offers a higher hardness and heat deflection temperatures which make it the best choice for that application.
Bonus – FLAG for Art
Some of our experienced resin artists have experimented with and loved FLAG resin. FLAG is compatible with three speeds of hardeners in the 2:1 system. Use Fast, Medium or Slow Hardener to create different effects or increase your turnaround time on projects.
Should I use Table Top Pro or Deep Pour?
Knot & Crack Filling
In most circumstances MAS Tabletop Pro is the better option than Deep Pour for filling in knots and cracks. If the knot is golfball size or larger; we would recommend using deep pour.
Should I Use Deep Pour or Deep Pour X?
Pours 1 Inch or Less
Deep Pour is ideal for pours up to 1 inch. Pours under 1 inch will take longer to cure and any pours under a 1/2 inch should be substituted with Table Top Pro. Keep in mind that Deep Pour is mass and temperature sensitive. Thicker pours can be achieved in cooler working conditions. Having proper air flow around the epoxy using a fan can slow the cure time allowing thicker pours.
Pours Over 1 Inch Deep
Deep Pour X is ideal for very large pours and castings up to 3 inches at 70F. Just like Deep Pour, thicker pours can be achieved in cooler working conditions. Pours under 2 inches will take up to 72 hours to cure at 70F.
Deep Pour versus Deep Pour X Comparison Chart
Which product should I use to seal my project?
Penetrating Epoxy Sealer
We recommend using our Penetrating Epoxy Sealer on wood and porous surfaces before starting your project. This product is designed with an ultra-thin viscosity that penetrates into your wood surface providing structure and a moisture resistant barrier.
If you purchased Table Top Pro or Art Pro and wish to seal you project with that product instead you can do so! Instead of following the standard instructions for the product apply a thin coating with a foam brush, paint brush or dip your piece in epoxy if that works best for you. Allow the epoxy to fully cure and note that in a thin coating the epoxy will take longer to fully cure than in a 1/8th inch coating as these products are typically used. The same process applies if you want to perform a seal coat with Low Viscosity (LV), FLAG or our Traditional Marine Resin. These can all be used as seal coats and the cure time will not vary as much as it will for the 1:1 coating systems.
It is not recommended to do a seal coat if you’re working with Deep Pour or Deep Pour X. Due to the long cure times of these products it could take days (possibly over a week) for them to cure in a thin coating. Instead use our Penetrating Epoxy Sealer or one of the other products as described above if you have those on hand.
2:1 Non-Blushing System
First things first. LV Resin and FLAG Resin are used exclusively in the MAS 2:1 Non-Blushing System. It includes, LV Resin, FLAG Resin and three non-blushing hardeners, Slow, Medium and Fast. The mix ratio is 2 parts resin to 1 part hardener by volume, which makes these easy to mix in any shop. Both resins result in a clear, non-blushing, low-odor epoxy laminating system that can be used in a wide range of applications. This includes, but is not limited to, laminating, clear coating and bonding. You can add fillers like colloidal silica, cell-o-fill, wood flour and phenolic micro-balloons to make compounds for bonding, filleting, fairing or filling.
About Low Viscosity Epoxy Resin
As you can see the two resins are very similar, with the main difference being that LV Resin is, you guessed it, lower in viscosity than FLAG Resin. But, what does low viscosity even mean? The viscosity of the resin is the thickness of the liquid and is typically measured in units called centipoise (cP). The viscosity spectrum goes from low viscosity, something like water (1 cP), to high viscosity, something more like molasses (10,000 cP). LV Resin has a viscosity similar to honey (1,000 cP). Moral of the story, LV Resin is thinner than FLAG Resin.
About FLAG Epoxy Resin
FLAG Resin is an acronym for, Filling, Laminating And Gluing, and as you might have assumed, these are the recommended uses for this product. It is what we call a “medium viscosity” epoxy resin. On the viscosity scale mentioned earlier between water and molasses, FLAG is somewhere in the middle. The best way we can describe it is close to Maple Syrup (2,300 cP). Think Aunt Jemima before you put it in the microwave.
When do I use FLAG and when do I use LV?
Let’s go through some scenarios that would warrant the use of these two resins.
Laminating – Use LV Resin
Why? LV Resin is lower in viscosity and has excellent saturation into fiberglass and other cloths. If you’re looking for a utilitarian product you can also use FLAG Resin for laminating, it will work into fiberglass cloth a little more slowly than LV Resin.
Gluing & Bonding – Use FLAG Resin (with or without fillers)
Why? The medium viscosity of FLAG Resin holds a thick bond line and can also be combined with a variety of fillers for improved gap filling and sag resistance on inclined surfaces. FLAG Resin with MAS Colloidal Silica creates an excellent thickened high strength adhesive.
Filleting, Fairing & Filling – Use FLAG Resin (with fillers)
Why? Similar to the explanation on gluing, FLAG should be used because of its higher viscosity. You can easily add different fillers to mixed resin and hardener to create filleting and fairing compounds or filling pastes. FLAG Resin with MAS Wood Flour makes a perfect filleting material for stitch and glue construction.
Clear Coating – Use FLAG Resin
Why? Even though both resins are clear, we often recommend FLAG Resin. This is because FLAG’s medium viscosity helps to coat thicker with just fewer coats resulting in a smooth glassy finish. We hope this sheds some light on why we offer two different epoxy resins. Both can be used for laminating and work with our Slow, Medium and Fast Hardeners, but have their own specialties. The best part is they are both easy to use at 2:1 by volume and non-blushing. Let us know if you have any questions and good luck with your projects!
Should I use the 2:1 Non-Blushing System or Traditional Marine System?
Our flagship products are Low Viscosity (LV) and FLAG resin with Slow, Medium and Fast Hardeners. Theses are the products that we started with as a company and we strongly recommend you try them. The benefits include:
- Simple 2:1 by volume mix ratio
- All three hardeners are clear and structural meaning you can get the finish and strength with one resin and one hardener
- Non-blushing system so no messy wash downs between layers
- Two viscosities of resin to choose from and three speeds of hardener that are all mix and match
Give the 2:1 system a try and you’ll be very happy with the results.
If you’re used to using a 5:1 by volume system then we also have the Traditional Marine Resin and the 520 Slow, 510 Fast and 320 Clear Hardeners available. This system is great for users who like a 5:1 system or who are interested in getting their epoxy at a lower price point than our 2:1 offerings. You will get an excellent finished part when you use a structural hardener (either 510 Fast or 520 Slow) and follow it up with the clear coating 320 Clear hardener to finish your project.