I've seen it poured in layers as well. For cover it may be best to do it that way, no more than 1/8" at a time, and finished with PU to help prevent yellowing. I should have paid more attention in chemistry class
so that I know I'm getting the right product for the job.
Oh well, I'll have to trust the experts. I don't have any epoxy coated pieces, this would be the first, but not until I can answer a few questions about the durability. Basically, how hard is a thick layer/build-up of the stuff? Would something like 3/8"-1/2" (10-15mm) be thick enough to overcome the inherent softness of the pine boards underneath, enough to protect them from impressions from pen on paper and dings from objects and cutlery.
The original owner had it stained dark, but I think it would look better natural. The wood is not highly figured like expensive hardwoods but it has lots of relief in the veining and very few knots. It gets its character from the left over tool marks and wear that has carved out some of the softer parts of the grain. The top looks like it was reclaimed from four 2x12 rough sawn planks and then planed, trimmed, joined and sanded to give a 1 5/8" thick 42" by 120" top. All in all, even though he finished it dark, he did a nice job surfacing it while retaining the texture. It's smooth to touch but it shows where it came from, if that makes sense. But, I can mark it up with a fingernail. Somehow impressions from my kids pencils won't have the same character as the original tool marks, I don't think...
I've had excellent results finishing oak, but it's so strong that a few coats of poly makes it super durable.
edit: the other option is to get a glass top cut. Prices here vary, a lot! But, the right material could make a nice blend of rustic and modern.