We’ve spent some time of late writing about Rubio Monocoat and are becoming somewhat knowledgeable about it through both research and use. It’s a product we like, notwithstanding its expense, and have had a good experience with it on workpieces.
Today’s topic, using it over epoxy, is an interesting one, and you might think the answer is easy. After all, Rubio Monocoat is for finishing wood surfaces and might cloud up a colored epoxy. Let’s see, though, if that’s true.
What is Rubio Monocoat?
Rubio Monocoat is a hard-wax and oil wood finish that sheens out in satin or matte. It penetrates deeply into virtually all wood species, bonding at the molecular level, and offers protection to wood from heat, water, and wear & tear.
It is used on furniture and flooring and is durable enough to stand up to use and abuse. Unlike polyurethane, which forms a film of protection, Rubio Monocoat goes deep into the wood.
On most woods, a single application is sufficient, the exception being some softwoods. Because softwoods are generally more porous and will absorb more, a second coat ensures that all of the wood surfaces has been treated.
It’s unique molecular bonding also obviates the need for a top coat. Rubio does offer a topcoat product for use with Monocoat Oil, it is not absolutely necessary. And if it is a sheen you’re after (like the sheen you can get with a polyurethane finish), a buffing after application can help you with that.
It’s very durable, and because it penetrates deeply into the wood, it will not chip, flake, blister, or peel. In the event of any damage to the wood, it’s an easy finish fix – simply sand and retreat the damaged area, and it’s back to appearing new.
How To Apply Rubio Monocoat Oil
Rubio Monocoat comes in a two-can pack – the larger can is the hard-wax oil, and the smaller can is the accelerator that speeds up the drying and curing process. You mix the two in a 3 parts oil to 1-part accelerator ratio, give it a good stir, and it’s ready. Rubio Monocoat is a bit pricey, so you’ll want to mix only enough for the job at hand.
The wood surface prep is the same as for all other finishes. Sanding it smooth up to 150-grit paper, according to Rubio, is enough – the surface pores will still be open and available to receive and absorb the oil.
Some experienced woodworkers will up the grit to 180 for a finer smooth surface, and others even higher. If that is the degree of smoothness you want for your workpiece, you’ll want to leave the application on the surface a little longer than recommended, so it has plenty of time to penetrate deeply.
Because Rubio Monocoat bonds at the wood’s molecular level, and because sawdust is wood molecules, you want to be extra clean in preparing your workpiece before application, or it will bond with the sawdust and create something of a mess. After a good vacuuming and wiping of the wood surface, mineral spirits should be used for that extra degree of cleanliness.
Rubio does sell a cleaner, but it’s expensive and smells an awful lot like mineral spirits. Since mineral spirits are cheaper and work just as well, you might consider saving the money. After all, Rubio Monocoat is already a bit expensive, even though a little goes a long way, and it requires just a single coat.
After mixing well, pour the Rubio Monocoat on the workpiece slowly and all over an area that you can work within 15 minutes at a time. Spread with a plastic spreader evenly all over, wait for a few minutes, and then wipe off any excess that was not absorbed by the wood. A sander with a soft felt pad can also be used to remove excess product and also help produce something of a sheen to the finish.
With the accelerator, drying and curing time is a week; without it, 3 weeks. If it’s a piece of furniture you have finished, simply wait before using; if it’s a hardwood floor application, cover the floor with carpenter’s paper on the footpath to protect the finish before placing any area rugs over it.
Can You Use Rubio Monocoat on Your Epoxy River Table?
Epoxy river tables are very popular today and can be beautiful to see. Using pigment powder, mica powder, alcohol ink, resin dyes, or resin tints to color your epoxy and a live edge plank can produce a stunning, one-of-a-kind tabletop.
If you want to learn about making river tables, we found an excellent video with 5 tips for the beginner. It’s a very cool and helpful video, and the fellow has a woodworking shop that we’d love to have in our basement or garage.
You might think that using a wood finish on epoxy might be wrong, but you’d be wrong to think that. Yes, Rubio Monocoat does come in 55 standard colors, but it also comes in a clear option.
Clear hard wax and oil is the smart choice for finishing your epoxy river table. This is especially so if the wood is an exotic species with a lot of character to it or wood with a particularly lovely grain or a live edge.
If you’ve used a color additive to the epoxy, the clear Rubio Monocoat will enhance its beauty rather than hinder it. The clear finish will add to the beauty of your wood, and as long as you have prepped the wood adequately, its grain will show well.
It is common to put some extra effort into sanding and buffing the epoxy pour, and this might lead to a higher grit, finer sandpaper to finish the wood. As we mentioned earlier, if you’ve gone beyond the 150-grit Rubio recommends or the 180-grit that many woodworkers use, you’ll want to let the Monocoat application linger a bit longer on the wood surface to penetrate the smaller pore opening you’ll have with a finely sanded surface.
That buffing with a soft felt pad on your sander will enhance the sheen on the Rubio Monocoat and allow both the grain of the wood and the color of the epoxy river to show through brilliantly.
In the video we have chosen to illustrate the use of Rubio Monocoat on an epoxy river table, we found a table with a black river. This portion of the project involves the sanding of the wood surface using 150-grit paper, final prepping for application on both the surface and edges of the tabletop, and the application of the Rubio Monocoat Oil.
As you saw in the video, a respirator was used, and we always recommend the use of one when sanding. Safety first matters in the woodworking shop.
You also see the mixing and application of the Monocoat, the drying time, wiping, and buffing to a satin finish. The epoxy river table is gorgeous.
So, the answer to the question is yes, you can apply Rubio Monocoat over epoxy, and in the case of river tables, it works very well. You’ve seen it with your own eyes now in that video, and there are many more examples on YouTube to find.
Between the epoxy river and the Rubio Monocoat, tabletops can’t be made for beautiful.