My first experience with (2) part resin was using the stuff that can be purchased from the big box stores, which ended in disaster. I started by using painter’s tape, which did nothing to hold the resin, instead more than half of it ended up on the floor resulting in me needing to buy more resin...Needless to say, while the project was salvageable, it became a hard lesson learned. Since then, I made a point to make resin a subject to learn as much as one can. While I do not think I am a subject matter expert in regards to resin, I have done over a years’ worth of research into some of the more popular resins (to me): Ecopoxy, Total Boat, Art Resin and countertop Epoxy.
While all serve the same purpose, all have different properties which can be used differently. Bisphenol A is the primary ingredient in many resins and has been proven to be harmful when heated and has the potential to seep into foods when exposed to heat for long periods of time.
Taking a closer look into these above-mentioned resin brands, you can see the differences and why I prefer to use one over another especially when making cutting boards.
Total Boat is used by many woodworkers; it has a 5:1 slow/fast hardener as well as a 2:1 high performance resin, which makes Total Boat versatile in options of woodworking and other applications. Total Boat, however, does contain Bisphenol A (BPA) so use in cutting boards and other items that may come in contact with food should be at the discretion of the wood maker. The total gel time is 30 minutes when used at the recommended temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees. **Some reviews I have read state that there was some slight yellowing, but I cannot verify that because I have not used Total Boat. **
Art Resin has a 1:1 mixing ratio and is my primary choice when making cutting boards because of all the resins on the market this is one of the few that is certified non-toxic, it contains no Bisphenol A (BPA), and can be used without a respirator because it has no VOCs or fumes. Art resin is also non-flammable and food safe. When using Art Resin it is important to use between the recommended working temps. of 72 to 77 degrees to guard against the resin developing a cloudy appearance.
Ecopoxy has a 2:1/1:1 mixing ratio and according to the Ecopoxy website it is a liquid plastic rather than resin. This is also another resin that has low to no VOCs and odor as well as boasting no toxic organic compounds or heavy metals. Also, like many other resins, it is self-leveling and has excellent air release qualities due to its slow curing properties. Though I have not used Ecopoxy I would defiantly rank it among one of the top products I would use.
Countertop Epoxy is a resin I have recently discovered but one that I put in the top 3 resins to use when making items that will have direct contact with food. It is eco-friendly and 100% non-toxic as well as safe to eat and cook on according to the Countertop Epoxy website. It has zero VOCs so it is safe to use without a respirator, and is non-porous whereby not allowing any bacteria to impregnate the resin. Lastly unlike other resin, Countertop Epoxy is heat resistant up to 500 degrees.
As a disclaimer, this is the opinions of Cal-Tex Designs and should be taken at your own discretion. We are not resin experts and have not used all of the resins listed above. We try to be as impartial and factual when compiling the information about each resin. The information above was pulled from each product’s website, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) and other various sources. We have not been paid to review any of these resins and do not have any affiliation with these companies. The purpose of this is to inform you, the reader, about the different choices of resins.