Finishing Epoxy Inlay on Wood (Cherry and Plywood)

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      Hi there, new to woodworking and epoxy. I’ve been working on perfecting epoxy inlays in cherry and in plywood using my CNC. I’m having trouble getting a nice finish on the epoxy. I’d like it to be as close to glass as possible. I’ve been sanding off the excess with an 80 grit using an orbital sander and then going all the way up to 1000, sometimes up to 2000 grit. I’ve tried wet and dry sanding. Then I’ve been polishing using car polish using a cloth. I’ve also tried using a polishing bit on my drill but it just seems like the bit gets destroyed and there are little pieces of cotton everywhere. The issue I’m having is:

      1. The epoxy is still not coming out with the glass like finish I want. I think I’m doing something wrong in the process. It’s smooth and you can see some color variation in the epoxy but it’s not coming out glassy at all.
      2. What do I do if I need to finish the wood as well? Do I polish the epoxy first and then put the finish? If I put on the finish over the polished epoxy am I going to then de-shine it when I put the finish on? When the wood is surrounding the design how do I keep from getting polish on the wood, or can I polish all the wood? I’m using plywood and the polish has left a bit of mark around the inlay.
      3. What finish should I use if this is going to be a planter and therefore be outside and getting wet.

      Thank you so much for any advice for a newbie, I’m sorry if this is a really basic question.

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