HOW TO MAKE A RIVER TABLE USING CLEAR EPOXY RESIN AND RECLAIMED CEDAR WOOD

Have you ever dreamed of having a gorgeous river wood table in pride of place in your living room? If you’ve landed on this tutorial, then you’ve probably been researching your resin table inspiration for a long time, as well as selecting the perfect piece of wood for your next project. So let’s get started!

In this tutorial, we’ll give you the step-by-step process of creating your very own river table using reclaimed cedar wood and Smooth-On clear epoxy resin. This project will take a few days overall, but the result will be a beautiful custom table in high gloss that will be well worth the effort. Here’s how to make a resin table.

Materials and Tools Needed for a Resin Wood Table

  • EpoxAcast® 690 (Clear). This is a UV resistant clear casting epoxy that will help to seal and protect your table. It is a very strong and durable resin.
  • Reclaimed Wood. Experiment with the type of reclaimed wood you would like, in the style and finish you’re looking for. This tutorial can be applied to any reclaimed wood you choose.
  • Bandsaw. This is an essential power tool for precision wood cutting.
  • Planer. A wood planer is needed to make sure your wood table is even throughout so that you don’t have any varying thickness.
  • Electric Sander. An electric sander is going to save you a lot of time compared to manual sanding! This will ensure a smooth finish for your wooden table.
  • Router. This is a great tool to have if you’re looking to make decorative patterns or pieces for your table, or need to duplicate a pattern or cut out.
  • Melamine. This is an essential material for building your moulds.
  • ⅛” acrylic sheet. This will help to protect your mould, and prevent the epoxy resin from bonding to the melamine. This is the size sheet we’ll be using for this tutorial.
  • Hot Glue Gun. This will be extremely helpful in securing everything together and preventing any leaks from your mould.
  • Sonite Wax. This is needed to prevent the resin from bonding with the mould.
  • Mixing Containers. An essential tool so you have all the right space to mix your epoxy and keep all relevant materials separate. It’ll also help you to stay organised and tidy!
  • Welding equipment. This will be needed to connect the legs to your finished table top.

Preparing Your Work Area

Make sure to choose a spot you can work with plenty of room to store materials as well as room to manoeuvre. You’ll need a safe and dry workshop or workspace where your materials can remain protected from the elements.

In preparing your work area, it’s good to get everything out and lay everything out in the order you will need. This can help to save time and ensure you can do a quick item count before you begin to make sure you have all the epoxy table materials listed above ready to go. This will also save you time having to search around the room for items you need! So have everything ready in place to go. Make sure your work area is clean and dry, as well as well-lit. Natural light is always best, but be sure to think of additional lighting in case you’re working in the evening, too.

Your Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make an Epoxy River Table

You can see the step-by-step guide written below or watch the video tutorial here.

Step #1 – Preparing the Cedar Wood

For this tutorial, we will be starting with a piece of reclaimed cedar that measures approximately 89” x 22” x 2.25” (226 cm x 56 cm x 6cm).

Use a bandsaw to cut the cedar in half to create two pieces that measure roughly 73” x 14” (185 cm x 36 cm).

Run both pieces of wood through a planer to ensure that they are a uniform thickness of 1 13/16” or 4.6 cm thick.

Use a sanding tool to remove any dirt or other imperfections in the wood, and then lastly, use a belt sander to achieve a smooth and even edge.

Once the wood has been cleaned up and is free of any unwanted bark, dirt, or debris, it is ready to be placed into the mould form.

Step #2 – Building the Mould

For the next step, we will need to build a container, or mould, to house our tabletop while the liquid resin dries. Start by cutting a piece of melamine to the desired dimensions of the table top. Using additional melamine pieces, cut walls for the mould that will be tall enough to house the panels of reclaimed cedar and any minor overflow of resin.

Remember, to achieve a “river” effect with the clear resin, leave a gap in the middle between the two pieces of cedar. This gap will later be filled with clear resin.

Next, cut a sheet of acrylic. For our table, we will need a piece that measures 24” x 73” x ⅛” (61 cm x 185 cm x 3 cm). This will sit on the bottom of the mould, directly under the reclaimed cedar, to prevent the resin from bonding to the melamine board.

Assemble your mould by screwing the walls melamine walls into the base, and then place the sheet of acrylic inside. Once this is done, the reclaimed cedar boards can be placed inside the mould form. The wood should fit snugly inside the mould and be sealed with hot glue to prevent any surprise leaks.

Seal any exposed melamine on the inside wall with Sonite Wax to prevent the liquid resin from bonding to the sides of the mould.

Lastly, use clamps and pieces of 2×2 to apply a downward pressure on the cedar and the mould, to prevent any epoxy from seeping underneath while it dries.

You are now ready to begin pouring the resin!

Step #3 – Measuring and Pouring EpoxAcast 690

Why are we using EpoxAcast 690? This Smooth-On product is ideal for this project for a number of reasons. First, it dries clear, so we get our desired “river” gap in the middle of the table. Second, it dries tough with negligible shrinkage – perfect for building a table to last. Third, EpoxAcast 690 is not moisture sensitive like many other epoxy resins. Any excess moisture trapped within the porous surface of the wood will not prevent EpoxAcast 690 from curing.

The mixing ratio for EpoxAcast 690 is 100A:30B by WEIGHT, so use a scale and carefully weigh out 2500 grams of part A and 750 grams of part B. Be sure to stir the product inside the container before measuring to ensure an even mix every time.

Combine with parts in a large container and mix thoroughly. No need to rush, EpoxAcast 690 has a pot life, or mixing time, for this product is roughly 5 hours at room temperature. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing container to mix in any trapped product. Transfer the product into a second container and stir thoroughly one more time to ensure a thorough mixture.

Pour the EpoxAcast 690 into the open cavity between the two pieces of reclaimed cedar. Be careful not to pour EpoxAcast 690 in layers more than ⅜” (0.95cm). Pouring excess material can cause the epoxy to overheat, which can lead to bubbles and suckback.

For best results, pour in a thin stream and avoid splashing to help prevent air bubbles and other imperfections. Allow the resin to slowly flow down and level itself inside the bottom of the mould form.

Use a smaller cup or container to pour ⅜” of resin into open areas of the wood’s surface.

That is it for the first layer. Leave the EpoxAcast 690 to set in the mould for 24 hours at room temperature (73F or 23C). It is best to allow the epoxy to cure in a temperature-controlled environment, such as a workshop. The temperature may affect the curing time of the epoxy. Check Smooth-On’s product pages for detailed instructions for your product before beginning a project.

Step #4 – Add Additional Layers of Epoxy

The next step of this project is to repeat step #3. EpoxAcast 690 will need to be poured in layers, allowing 24 hours for each layer to cure fully in between. Using the instructions above, mix additional batches of resin and fill the cavity in between the cedar, as well as open cavities in the table surface, ⅜” at a time.

You should end up with 6 layers of EpoxAcast 690 in total, with the gap between the two pieces of wood completely filled.

Wait for the final layer to cure for 24 hours before moving on to the next step in the process – demoulding. Once all layers have been allowed to cure, it is time to remove the clamps and unscrew the walls of the mould from the base.

Now that the table top is one solid piece, it is time to sand it sound and seal the wood. Let’s move on to the next step in the process.

Step #5 – Finishing

Run the newly demoulding tabletop through a planer to level out any high spots, create an even thickness, and use a table saw to clean up the edges. Finish the edges with a router, to achieve a nice bevelled table edge. Continue to refine the table surface with an orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper.

Now that our tabletop is smooth, it is looking a little dull, isn’t it? Give it back its shine with, you guessed it, another smaller batch of EpoxAcast 690. Use a lint-free cloth to spread a layer of epoxy over the surface of the table. This top layer will bring back the glossy finish and seal the reclaimed cedar. Allow to cure for 24 hours at room temperature.

Mix another batch of EpoxAcast 690 and pour it over the table surface in a layer about 1/16” (0.16 cm) thick. Allow the excess to run off the edges. Cure for 24 hours, and then cover with adhesive film to protect the top while the underside is being worked on.

Belt sand the underside of the table to remove any excess epoxy, pour some EpoxAcast 690 on the sanded and spread with a lint-free cloth to seal the underside of the table.

Allow to cure for 24 hours at room temperature. Mix another batch of epoxy for the underside of the table and pour a layer about 1/16” thick over the clear portion between the cedar panels. Let the excess material drip over the edges, and allow the epoxy to cure for 24 hours.

Step #6 – Add the Base

The tabletop is finished, and it is time to add the legs. For this tutorial, a frame is welded together for the base. Once the frame is built, bolt it to the bottom of the tabletop to secure it.

Remove the protective plastic placed on the top and viola! The table is now ready to be used. Using reclaimed cedar and EpoxAcast 690, we have created a high gloss river table.

FAQs

How Long Does a River Table Last?

Provided that you have built and sealed your epoxy table perfectly and followed these instructions, your new diy epoxy table should last at least 20 years without any major repairs or adjustments. Of course, this also depends on how well you take care of your table and how it is stored in your room.

Can I Colour my Epoxy Table?

Yes, absolutely! You can mix any colour you like with the epoxy resin to apply to your table, to bring out a range of different styles. Blue can be a popular choice when looking to make an epoxy river table.

Can I Use a Different Type of Wood?

An epoxy river table can be created from any wood you like! Provided you always have epoxy resin for wood working, you can get creative with materials. While we have made a cedar table with epoxy in this tutorial, you can use different wood.

In Closing

We hope you’ve enjoyed our tutorial on how to use epoxy resin to make a table. This wood and resin table tutorial can be applied to any epoxy colours or wood type you would like, as long as you use epoxy for table making to create an epoxy resin table built to last. We have a full line up of epoxy resins from Smooth-On for you to choose from, so the possibilities are endless!