Epoxy resin river tables are much more than a here-today-gone-tomorrow DIY trend, they're beautiful works of interior furniture and striking artwork all in one. So with just a bit of careful planning and smart woodworking skill, you could create your very own high value, hybrid timber talking point from home.
Defined by an eye-catching blend of natural wood textures and mesmerising swirls of epoxy resin, these wonderful projects are truly timeless... but where do you start? At Woodshop Direct we're looking at just one of the central components, giving you a few tips and tricks for making sure you choose the right timber, how to prepare it and how to avoid a few common problems that you might encounter when your wooden materials finally meet the resin.
What Timber Should I Use For A Wooden Epoxy Resin Table?
The best material to use for an epoxy resin table is typically the flattest piece of live edge wood you can find - such as Yew, Elm, Oak or Black Walnut - that has been properly air dried so the moisture level is below 20%. It can take up to a year to properly air-dry wood but when left to dry out properly and thoroughly, it reduces the risk of movement and creates a more stable and reliable material to use on your table project. You could alternatively use a piece of professionally cut timber and saw-in your own curving design but most choose to opt for the characterful live edge for a more unique and natural finish.
Preparing Your Wood
First the live wood is sawn down the middle, then flipped, so the live edges almost touch, just like this beautiful black walnut and black resin idea below.
The wood surfaces should then be sanded down and inspected for any softwood or evidence of rot which should be chipped away accordingly. Following this, clamp your wood materials to a workbench and use an angle grinder on the curving live edges. By sanding these down, you're creating a perfectly smooth surface for the epoxy to adhere to with a minimal risk of bark, wood knots or other grain abnormalities splitting away and impacting the outcome of your final product. Although it can be very tempting to leave the bark on your piece of live wood for visual appeal, it needs to be removed and sanded as to not affect resin adhesion later on.
Next, fill and seal the natural edges and imperfections with a fast-drying epoxy. Wood is a naturally porous surface, meaning moisture will naturally pass through over time. Applying a thin resin coat to the wood and letting it cure will be the last and also one of the most crucial wood preparation steps before you begin pouring and applying your decorative epoxy, creating a sealed and reliable material to work on.
Will My Epoxy Resin Bond To The Wood?
Epoxy resin is very effective at adhering to wood and virtually all other materials. A thinner resin will percolate the wood's natural pores and make the sticking process more effective whereas thick and syrupy resin creates a suitable surface layer.
What To Do If Your Resin Is Shrinking...
If your resin is shrinking too much while curing, it's likely that you're using a cheap or poor quality resin. Epoxy resins can react differently when applied to different woods, so when in doubt, use a scrap or sample piece of wood to test against the resin or hunt around for a high quality, well-trusted product to achieve the best results possible.