Wood Hardener or Epoxy – Which Is Better?

Wood Hardener Vs Epoxy

Are you looking for a fast, effective way to restore, strengthen, and even beautify your wood projects? Wood hardener and epoxy are two products commonly used on wood surfaces that offer various pertinent benefits, and it can be difficult to decide which is better for your project. This article will cast light on the distinctions between wood hardener and epoxy, offering an in-depth comparison of both and advice for when it is most appropriate to use each product. From the durability comparisons to the cost factors to the curing times, let’s dive into the depths of wood hardener vs epoxy and discover the best solutions for your project!

Overview of Wood Hardener and Epoxy

Wood hardener and epoxy are two powerful tools in the woodworking trade, used to help strengthen and restore wood projects over a wide range of applications. From restoring rotted wood, to filling small repairs and adding structural strength, to adding visual interest and durability, these products are incredibly versatile and offer solutions for all kinds of wood-based projects. In this section, we’ll explore the benefits of each product, compare wood hardener and epoxy in key areas such as durability, adhesion, cost, appearance, and curing times, and look at when it is most appropriate to use wood hardener vs. epoxy in various types of woodworking.

Benefits of Using Wood Hardener

Wood hardeners offer great benefits when used to help strengthen wood that has been damaged by insects, rot and moisture. Hardening wood will not only help strengthen the wood, it can also protect it from further damage. Here are some of the benefits of using wood hardener:

  • Improved strength and durability – Wood hardener penetrates deep into the wood fibers, providing strength and durability.
  • Long-lasting protection – Application of wood hardener helps protect wood from warping, cracking, splitting, and rotting.
  • Cost-effective – Wood hardener offers a cost-effective solution for consolidating and strengthening weak and rotted wood.
  • Versatility – Wood hardener is easy to apply, dries quickly and can be used on multiple types of wood.
  • No pre-treatment required – Wood hardener can be applied directly to the weakened area, meaning no need for pre-treatment or sanding.

Using a wood hardener is often the first step in strengthening weakened wood, and can help significantly extend the life of wood surfaces. By treating wood with a hardener, homeowners can easily and cost-effectively improve the strength and durability of wood without the need for more expensive repairs or replacements.

Benefits of Using Epoxy

Epoxy is an incredibly versatile material that can be used in a variety of applications to fix, reinforce or add to wood structures. Epoxy is extremely strong and durable, offers superior adhesion and can be used to fill smaller repairs and add aesthetic appeal to wooden objects. Here are some of the main benefits of using epoxy:

1. Durability: Epoxy is much more durable than traditional wood glues, making it ideal for objects that require superior strength and stability.

2. Adhesion: Epoxy has excellent adhesion strength, making it suitable for bonding different types of wood, as well as materials like fiberglass and metal.

3. Cost: Epoxy is relatively inexpensive compared to other woodworking materials and is readily available.

4. Appearance: Epoxy can be pigmented with colored dyes to match the surrounding wood, or left clear for a natural look. It is also possible to mix different colors together to create a unique effect.

5. Curing Times: Epoxy cures quickly, usually in 20 minutes or less, allowing for a fast turnaround on projects.

Epoxy is an excellent choice for a wide range of woodworking projects, from small repairs to strengthening weak spots or adding visual interest to a piece. With its superior strength, durability, adhesion and low cost, it is no wonder epoxy is a popular choice for woodworking.

Comparing Wood Hardener and Epoxy

When it comes to wood repair, wood hardener and epoxy have both been found to be effective solutions. In this section, we’ll compare wood hardener to epoxy and explore the differences between the two materials. We’ll examine their durability, adhesion, cost, appearance, and curing times, helping you decide which product is best suited for the job.


When it comes to durability, wood hardener and epoxy are both potent and reliable. Wood Hardener works by penetrating the wood and creating an impenetrable shell of harder wood on the outside while preserving the softer, weakened interior core. This process dries and seals out moisture and prevents further cracking, splitting, and warping. This makes it incredibly durable and long-lasting when compared to other repair treatments.

Epoxy is also durable and long-lasting. It forms a strong bond between the filler material and the original wood, making it even more durable than wood hardener in some cases. Unlike wood hardener, epoxy also creates a waterproof bond that can withstand temperature changes and even harsh chemicals. This makes it ideal for repairs in wet environments, or for repairs that need to be resilient to a wide range of temperatures.

In terms of durability, either wood hardener or epoxy will provide a reliable and long-lasting solution to most repair jobs. However, each has its own advantages and disadvantages, making it important to choose the right product for your specific repair. Wood hardener works best when dealing with rotted wood, while epoxy is best for small repairs and jobs that need to be more waterproof or resistant to changes in temperature.


When it comes to adhesion, wood hardener and epoxy are both excellent binders. However, the strength of their adhesion differ based on the type of surface being bonded. Wood hardener is designed for bonding wood and is the stronger of the two when it comes to wood-to-wood bonding. It will fill the grain of the wood and provide an almost seamless, solid bond. On the other hand, epoxy adhesion is better suited to metal, plastic, and non-wood substrates. It’s extremely strong and will form a rigid bond to just about any surface.

When comparing adhesion between wood hardener and epoxy on wood, the wood hardener will create a much tighter, stronger bond. This is because it contains polymers that are specifically designed to fill the grain of the wood, allowing each board or piece to effectively become one solid unit. On the other hand, epoxy has polymers that are not designed for wood, so the bond is not as strong as with wood hardener.

When it comes to non-wood surfaces, epoxy will provide the stronger bond of the two because it is designed for adhering to a variety of materials. However, because of the major differences in the polymers of each material, it is important to read the instructions on the product label and perform a few test patches before embarking on a large project. Testing the adhesion with a small sample before applying the product is always recommended for best results.


The cost of using wood hardener and epoxy depends on several factors. First, the type of wood hardener or epoxy that you are using will determine the cost. Wood hardener is generally more affordable than most epoxies, but some epoxy products may be cheaper depending on brand and quality. Another factor that affects cost is the size of the area you are treating. The larger the area, the more product you will need, and thus the cost will be higher. Additionally, you will need to consider the tools and other accessories that you may need to properly apply the product, such as brushes and safety gear, which can add to the overall cost.


The appearance of wood hardener and epoxy when applied vary based on the desired effect. Wood hardener is typically a clear, thin liquid that is applied to the wood surface and will show visible results after the hardening process is finished. When cured, wood hardener creates an invisible surface that is highly durable and resists damage.

Epoxy, on the other hand, is designed to be visible due to its characteristic of filling in gaps and crevices. Therefore, it is a good choice for patching in small chips and gaps in wood. After the epoxy is applied, it will dry with a glossy, smooth finish. This finish can also be sanded and stained after curing, allowing for the restoration of the wood’s original color.

Wood hardener and epoxy each have their own advantages when it comes to the appearance of the finished product. Wood hardener offers a sleek, invisible finish that is ideal for strengthening the structural integrity of the wood, while epoxy provides a glossy surface with a wide range of color and texture options that make it great for restoring the aesthetic of wood.

Curing Times

When it comes to curing times, wood hardener and epoxy differ significantly. Wood hardener typically takes between 24 and 48 hours to cure, whereas epoxy cures more quickly, often within a few hours. Additionally, epoxy will typically harden completely, while wood hardener will never become completely hard and may always feel slightly soft.

Wood hardener requires a bit more time and patience than epoxy, but it will still harden and strengthen the wood, so the wait is well worth it. Epoxy, on the other hand, will often cure quickly and form a strong bond, which can be helpful in an emergency situation or if time is of the essence.

Curing time also affects the ease of use of both products. Wood hardener can be difficult to apply because it needs time to weed into the wood and may require multiple coats in order to build up the strength. Epoxy, on the other hand, can be easier to apply because it does not require multiple coats and cures quickly, so it can be used more quickly and easily in a variety of situations.

Overall, wood hardener and epoxy have different curing times, depending on the specific product and the application. Wood hardener often takes longer to cure and may require multiple coats for effective results, while epoxy typically cures quickly and forms a strong bond. When deciding which product to use, it is important to consider the curing time, how easy it is to apply, and the desired outcome.

When to Use Wood Hardener vs. Epoxy

When it comes to repairing wood, there are a lot of different tools and materials available. Depending on the job, you might want to use either wood hardener or epoxy. Knowing when to prefer one over the other can be difficult, so let’s explore the major differences between wood hardener and epoxy. Are you trying to repair rotted wood? Are you interested in adding visual interest to plain wood? In this section, we’ll explain the benefits of each material and outline some scenarios where you should use wood hardener or epoxy.

Using Wood Hardener on Rotted Wood

Wood hardener is an ideal choice when dealing with rotted wood. The hardener helps to restore and reinforce a weakened wood structure, eliminating any soft spots. The hardener works by penetrating deep into the wood, binding the wood fibers together, and creating a durable and hard surface layer to reinforce the wood.

For rotted wood, the hardener can be applied using a brush or roller, depending on the size of the damage. Once the hardener is applied, it forms a strong bond with the wood fibers and sets up quickly. The hardener does not sag or drip, and it helps to extend the life of the rotted wood by providing a strong, rigid surface layer that resists splitting or cracking.

Another advantage of using wood hardener for rotted wood is that it can help provide a moisture barrier and protect the wood from further damage. The hardener seals the surface of the rotted wood and forms a durable, protective layer that resists water and other elements. This helps to prevent further deterioration of the wood, making it a great option for restoring rotted wood.

For homeowners dealing with rotted wood, wood hardener is a great choice. It is a safe and easy-to-apply option, and it helps to provide a durable, protective layer that can help extend the life of the wood. Overall, wood hardener provides a cost-effective option for restoring rotted wood and it can be used to make quick repairs to damaged wood structures.

Using Epoxy to Fill Small Repairs

Epoxy is an excellent choice for repairing small cracks, holes, and other damage in wood. The epoxy formula is highly adhesive and adheres well to the wood, creating a strong, durable bond. It is also flexible, so it won’t crack or pull away from the wood over time.

Epoxy is available in a variety of colors, making it a great option for matching any existing wood color. It’s also simple to apply and only takes a few minutes to dry. Once fully cured, the epoxy will provide a long-lasting fix that won’t chip or break apart.

Epoxy also provides superior protection against moisture and can be used for outdoor applications. This makes it a great choice for protecting wood from decay and extending its lifespan. When used correctly, epoxy can be a great solution for filling small repairs and ensuring a strong, professional-looking repair job.

Using Wood Hardener to Strengthen Weak Areas

Wood hardener is an ideal substance to use when it comes to strengthening weak areas in wood, particularly areas that may have become weakened due to rot or insect infestations. It is an extremely strong and hard substance, usually composed of resins, fillers, and adhesion agents, that penetrate into the weakened wooden structure and harden, creating an adhesive and durable surface.

The application of wood hardener is quick and straightforward, and upon curing it bonds with the weakened wood, practically fusing with the material and creating a surface that is more resistant to mold, fungus, and other organisms. The hardening agent is easy to apply and can be done with a brush or a roller, depending on the size of the area that needs to be treated.

Once applied, the wood hardener will prevent the wood from further weakening and cracking, strengthening it and giving it the stability it needs. Depending on the type of wood hardener used, it can also provide additional waterproofing features that help protect the wood from water damage. It is important to note, however, that it does not replace routine care and maintenance for the wood, such as regular cleaning, staining, and waterproofing.

Wood hardener is a great choice for strengthening weak areas in wood and it is a simple, cost-effective, and efficient method to give damaged wood new life. It may be necessary to perform additional tasks after applying the hardener in order to bring back the wood’s original aesthetics, but it is a great way to prevent further weakening and to ensure that the wood looks and functions its best.

Using Epoxy to Add Visual Interest

Adding epoxy to wood surfaces can bring a range of visual enhancements that appeal to the eye. This can be achieved through various methods, such as embedding decorative pieces of stone, glass, or metal, filling voids and grooves with an attractive contrast in color, or creating a translucent or opaque finish to bring out the detail of grain and figure in the wood.

Epoxy is a great choice to bring contrast to a project. This can be done through the deliberate use of color and contrast. For example, a light colored epoxy can be used in contrast to a darker colored wood, or a bright color for contrast against a lightly colored wood.

Epoxy can also be used to provide stunning visual effects and interesting art-like pieces from inlay to abstract designs. Artistic designs can be made using contrasting colors of epoxy, embedding items like small stones, pieces of glass, marble and other objects for a unique look. Or a metallized epoxy can be used for a luminescent effect.

Additionally, applying a two-tone finish on a project can be accomplished by first sealing the surface with epoxy and then applying a top coat with a clear finish, such as lacquer, oil, or varnish. This technique can also be used to create stunning visuals when done with multiple colored epoxies.

Epoxy is a versatile material which can be used to bring a lot of visual interest to a project. Whether you’re looking to give contrast, create a two-tone finish, encase objects in resin, or create artistic designs, epoxy is a great choice.


Devin B

Hi everyone! My name is Devin and I'm the author of this website about tips for woodturning and wood finishing. I'm an avid woodworker and have been doing it for over a decade. I'm constantly learning new techniques and experimenting with new materials and finishes.

I started my journey in woodworking when I was a teenager, making furniture for my bedroom and small projects for my family. As I got older, my interest in woodturning and wood finishing grew. I took classes on the subject and read books on the topic.

I'm passionate about woodturning and wood finishing because it allows me to express my creativity in a tangible way. I love the satisfaction of seeing a piece of wood that I have transformed from a block of raw material into a beautiful finished product.

I hope you find the tips and advice on this website helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm always happy to help out and share my experiences. Thanks for visiting my website!