System Three - MirrorCoat System Three Top Coat, 3 Quart
MirrorCoat is a pourable, self-leveling bar and tabletop coating. It works well on many surfaces such as wood, ceramics, plaster, masonry and some plastics. MirrorCoat cures to a glossy, smooth...
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- 3 Quart Kit covers approximately 18.75 sq. ft.
- You can actually create “floating” objects in your finish by embedding them between coats
- Perfect for bar and table tops, decoupage, small clocks and crafts
- Super hard finish
- Has more depth than any other topcoat
Articles & Blogs
This is part 13 of a multipart blog
It's kind of like a bad joke
If you're thinking about pouring epoxy on a table or bar top odds are good it's because you want something that's going to be much more durable than polyurethane. Mirror Coat cures up a good bit harder than your typical finish, but if you so much as set a cup of coffee on it for a couple of seconds, it melts. No joke. It melts at less than 180 degrees Fahrenheit. I thought maybe I'd done something wrong and wrote to SystemThree's tech support and they confirmed that it is only suitable for use at "normal room temperatures." Now I'm out a hundred bucks and a few hundred hours worth of refinishing. I also got serious Benard cells in the finish no matter what the application and curing temperature was, lending further credibility to my belief that this is an amateur epoxy for amateurs. If you just want to show off your penny or bottlecap collection on a decorative novelty table that'll never get any real use, this might be good enough for you. If you're doing a table that people will actually eat off of, you'll have to look to a real epoxy manufacturer. Just be aware that all the goofy business about the torch can be safely skipped provided you are in good respiratory health. Carbon dioxide pops all the bubbles, not heat. Just breathe all over it like you're trying to fog up a mirror until they disappear and you don't have to wave any flames around.
I built an outdoor picnic table using oak I milled from a fallen tree in the back yard. I generally use a linseed oil/paint thinner finish but wanted to try something new. While the Mirror Coat was comparitively expensive, it was worth it. The project turned out beautifully. Time will tell how it weathers in a moderately protected environment. The things I learned during the application: Using a foam roller didn't work for me as it "pulled" the material instead of evenly distributing it. Using a 4" wide v-grooved (3/16"?) plastic adhesive spreader was the answer. There appeared to be spots with "surface tension" preventing the material from flowing and with the spreader I could "scratch" those spots to "wet" them. The material will seep endlessly into the tiniest bottomless crack, seam, pit, or knot. This causes a pock mark in the finish as it drys and a puddle on the floor beneath the area. NOT GOOD! I had used wood filler on the obvious areas and then stained it to blend the color and that worked out well. I filled several large worm holes with sawdust nearly to the top and then slightly overfilled the rest with epoxy cement and sanded it smooth. This worked great and appears as a "natural" defect thru the final finish. It was the small knots that appeared tight that sucked material. On my next project I will apply a scratch coat with a brush first. It seem like that might solve the seeping challenge. After 24 hours I applied a heavy second coat of Mirror Coat to the surface and it "healed" all of the areas of concern. As for the edges, I just kept brushing them occasionally until the material pretty much stopped seeping over. This was done over the course of several hours and they look very nice. Coverage was as suggested in the company literature. My table top is 20 sq.ft.,I applied 2 coats and have about 6 oz. remaining.
Some midified techniques
In the end excellent result. On test piece of Sapele I couldn't get rid of the bubbles. Owner of the Honolulu Woodcraft said to put a scratch coat or two to seal the pores which seem to be like a pump pushing air bubbles into the finish. Sand between to shear off the bubbles. Also had valleys in a test piece that seem to be at the glue line but also had some dimples in the middle of nowhere. Might be a pore sucking in some of the finish. Scratch coat fixed it all. For the scratch coat I used very little and spread it with a spreader. Made sure everything was wet and then scraped it to a very thin coat. Then sanded 220 after each coat. I had fisheye on one test piece and I think I had sprayed WD-40 nearby and it got on the test piece. I believe silicone will also cause severe fisheye. I prevent edge problems on the final pour I masking taped it up to the round over. After it cures don't pull the tape as it might pull the finish off the top. Sand at the edge of the masking tape until you sand the tape then peel it off. Sand the round over smooth. Two scratch coats left the sides nicely coated. Final coat, use a lot. I try to have at least 4 oz. per square feet on hand. I use a plastic toothed spreader with larger triangular teeth. Seems to make spreading quick and easy and the finish will flatten out. Don't forget to cover the ground. After ten minutes start popping the bubbles with a torch or heat gun. I use a paint heat gun. I had a lot of dust nibs so I sanded with 600 grit on my RO. Little hint, I use a Porter Cable with a tiny rotary pattern and move very slowly otherwise you end up with deep pigtails that are hard to get rid of. If you can't get rid of the pigtails just put a thin coat of another finish and rub that out. I then hand rub with the grain with 1000, 2500, steel wool, and adjust the final gloss with rottenstone. I use either soapy water or a mixture of mineral spirit and mineral oil depending on how fast I want to cut. Final finish is quite spectacular with the added benefit of it being hard and impervious to nearly anything. Sorry about the length but spent a lot of time working on test pieces and thought it might be helpful. Might not need the scratch coat on finely pored woods like maple but I would still do at least one scratch coat.
OK this stuff is supper hard and durable. I watched the video to apply this from the System Three website. After applying and ran the torch over the surface to get the air bubbles out which worked well. I'm not sure from what but in certain areas I had places with depressions or valleys. I would try to correct these with the brush but I found it made it worse. I then let it dry for 24 hours and would apply a 2nd coat. The 2nd time I had the same issues. I cant get an even coat! Because its a thick coat, I'm gonna sand it down with 220grit and then buff it out. NOT an easy application!
I used the product alot in past 6 months
Product works well and is durable. Problems with "fish-eye" on 1st coat, and two coats were planned so they all covered up. Verticle edges were the biggest problem with runs gives a ripple effect on edges, other than contiued brushing never found a way to prevent. Flat surfaces did great.