Epoxy resin is a versatile material that is currently very much in vogue. Not only is it being used more and more frequently in boat building, model making, jewellery creation or in studios, for example, but furniture makers and manufacturers also no longer want to do without this synthetic resin with its extremely good mechanical properties. The processing of epoxy resin is not particularly difficult for experienced craftsmen. And the products made of wood and epoxy resin are extremely modern and aesthetic. Especially epoxy resin tables, also known as River Tables or Ocean Tables, are becoming increasingly popular.
Many hobby craftsmen wonder if they would be able to create their own epoxy resin table. And yes, it is quite possible to build your own River Table or Ocean Table, as long as you don’t have two left hands and access to a good manual!
Here’s a hands-on video tutorial from the popular channel jedrek29t to better guide you through the steps:
Pouring epoxy resin
Pouring epoxy resin can be learned in any case, even if some steps should be observed. How to build a stylish epoxy resin table yourself is explained below:
Which epoxy resin to use for the new table?
First of all, it is of course important to choose the right epoxy resin for your new table. There are many different manufacturers of epoxy resin as casting resin. Basically, the choice depends on how thick the casting should ultimately be.
Epoxy resin is a reactive material and develops heat during curing. If the casting is very thick, the epoxy resin can become very warm or even hot. This chemical reaction can lead to the formation of boiling bubbles or even stress cracks, so the choice of a slower reacting resin system is recommended for thick castings.
The reason why epoxy resin should be selected and not another resin such as polyester resin is because epoxy resin is very suitable for use with wood in a piece of furniture. In general, this versatile resin is considered to be extremely durable and hard-wearing. It is solvent-free, oil-resistant, extremely hard when cured, easy to clean and can be combined with a wide range of colours. It is also extremely adhesive, which is why River Tables and Ocean Tables are usually made of epoxy resin and wood. If you are unsure which epoxy resin for wood you should use, check out the guide from resin-expert.com.
Processing with fatty wood species
Greasy wood species such as pine or acacia should be thoroughly cleaned and also dried before processing, especially if the wood has cracks or even holes. Acetone, for example, can be used for cleaning, or a special cleaning agent can be used especially for this purpose.
Cutting the tree disc
Before the epoxy resin can be used, the tree slice or wood must first be cut to size. It is important that the wood used is dry and clean. When choosing the wood discs, it should also be taken into account that a different epoxy resin must be chosen depending on the thickness.
- Sawing the wooden disc(s)
- Record section lines
- Remove bark with a chisel if necessary
- Clean edges with wire brush
- Grind surfaces thoroughly
Fabrication of the casting frame
Making the frame for pouring resinChipboard with a smooth coating is suitable for the cast frame. The thickness should be at least 22 millimetres. The sealing of the cast frame should still be very good.
- Screw together the boards of the cast frame
- Seal joints with silicone in the best possible way
- Clean the mould thoroughly and spray with Teflon spray
- Align cast iron frame and wooden discs horizontally
- Fasten the wooden discs in the corners with screw clamps
Pour in the epoxy resin
Once the mould is made and perfectly aligned, the epoxy resin can finally be poured into the frame at room temperature (at least 19°C). How much casting resin is needed depends on the size of the table top and the dimensions of the wooden panes. It should be noted that epoxy resin can also soak into wood. So simply have enough in stock so that the resin does not run out too soon! It is also advisable to wear protective gloves, goggles and a breathing mask during this step!
- Mix epoxy resin and hardener in the correct mixing ratio and stir thoroughly
- Colour the mixture
- Slowly pour in synthetic resin to avoid air bubbles or splashes as far as possible.
Tip: If air bubbles appear, they can be burst with the help of a hot air dryer.
Watch: how NOT to pour table top epoxy resin, from Epoxy DIY
Removing the casting frame
After the epoxy resin has fully cured, the casting frame can be removed again. The recommendations and instructions of the corresponding epoxy resin manufacturer regarding curing must be observed! Firmer chisels and wedges are always suitable tools for removing the frame properly.
Reworking the table top
Once the new epoxy resin and wood table top is separated from the cast iron frame, it can finally be finished.
- adjust the level of epoxy resin and wood by grinding and/or milling
- place table top on polystyrene board and trim edges
- grind edges and break edges using sanding block and paper
- clean and dust the table top thoroughly
- seal the table top with transparent synthetic resin (first seal the top and the edges and allow to harden, then seal the bottom)
- sand the table top, clean it and seal it a second time
- finally attach the table legs
And ready is the new, self-built epoxy resin table!
Build your own epoxy resin table: Basic equipment
If you want to make your own epoxy resin table, you need the following basic equipment according to the above instructions:
- Dry wooden discs (the use of oak wood is suitable for the production of epoxy resin tables or river tables)
- High quality epoxy resin + hardener selected to match the thickness of the wooden discs
- Colour for colouring the casting resin
- Table legs
- Protective clothing: Gloves, breathing mask and goggles
- At least 22 mm thick chipboard and screws for the cast frame
- Silicone to seal the mould
- Teflon spray as release agent for the mould
- Sanding block and sandpaper
- Acetone or special cleaning agent
- multiple mixing buckets
- Cordless screwdriver
- Drilling machine with agitator
- Hand circular saw with guide rail
- Hand grinder
- Wire brush
- at least 3 cm thick polystyrene plate (EPS)
- Spirit level, folding rule and angle
- Screw clamps
- Hot air dryer
- Hardwood wedges
- lint-free roller for sealing
- Firmer chisel
- Fabric cloth
As luminous “highlights”, indirect lighting can be optionally cast in, as here, giving such a table a special look. Depending on the light source, special moods and effects are created, as seen in the video at the top.
For the purpose of colored effects, various color or metallic pigments can be added to the resin mixture.