Introduction: Epoxy River Coffee Table

Picture of Epoxy River Coffee Table

Some time ago I managed to make my first instructable presenting to you guys a console table with epoxy resin inlays. Now it's time for somethin new. Epoxy River Coffee Table - walnut slab with resin.

Hope you enjoy the story!

Step 1: Cleaning and Removing Bad Things

Picture of Cleaning and Removing Bad Things

So, I've acquired another great slab of walnut. Originally it was 2,5 meters long so decision was made to cut it in half. After doing so, the slab cracked into 2 beautiful pieces. I used a steel brush and a drill to remove cortex from the edges and all ather loose pieces off rotten wood. Of course the slab was leveld and sanded a bit.

Step 2: The Connection

Picture of The Connection

In order to put resin on this beauty I had to connect the slabs somehow. So the slabs were drilled with a 12mm drill and prepared to fit a 12mm stainles tube.

Step 3: 1st Pour

Picture of 1st Pour

After taping the back with packing tape time came to do the first pour of resin. I used the same epoxy that was used with the pervious work (click here). A thin layer of well mized epo cured to be beautifully crystal clear.

Step 4: Meantime Activities

Picture of Meantime Activities

In the meantime between pours of epoxy I welded legs for this coffee table. 6 by 2 steel profile was cut into short pieces and welded (with a little help from my friend). I used flap sanding discs to "polish" the steel, nut the effext did not satisfy me so I sanded it with 120/150/180 grit sanding paper to give it a satin look.

Step 5: More and More...

Picture of More and More...

Pouring thin layers of epoxy took a long time, every pour cured 16 to 24 hours and took ages to do it. But finally all the cracks were filled with resin and left for 3 days to cure. Why 3? To be sure that it hardened perfectly.

Step 6: Preparations Befor Sanding

Picture of Preparations Befor Sanding

When the resin got 100% hard it was time to remove the protective tape. The first impression was great, but looking close I saw that the tape folded and it was visible through the resin. But before any further work I had to see if what I have done already was consistent with the vision in my head how it was supposed to look like. And surprisingly it looks just like in my head 4 weeks ago.

Step 7: Sanding, Sanding...

Picture of Sanding, Sanding...

Being sure that the epoxy is cured I started sandig it with a 100 grit paper. I use this tool, doing it manually would take another month to get rid of all the extra resin. The pictures were taken halfway through snading. Still a lot to work on, and most important polishing the epoxy to high gloss.

You have to remember this important thing: when sanding epoxy resin the amount of white dust is unbelievable and covers everything what's in your workshop. It's good to use a dust mask and all avaliable protective gear you can think of. Just for your own health.

Step 8: More Sanding

Picture of More Sanding

After all the previous sanding I had to sand it a bit more to smooth the surface (resin), but still to be a bit rough (wood).

Step 9: Water and Sanding Paper

Picture of Water and Sanding Paper

When the slab was sanded time came to work on the resin inlay. I used water sandpaper (1000, 1500, 2000, 2500) and manually sanded it. Too a while to do it, but it looked better and better.

Step 10: Polishing the River

Picture of Polishing the River

After water sandind the resin was still mat. To polish it I used Tempo and a furry polishing pad. THe resin was polished on all sides (top, bottom, left and right). Also used a special polish used by my brother to polish restored and painted motorcycle parts. Unfortunately I don't know the producer of it.

Step 11: Metal Work

Picture of Metal Work

The slab was polised and to have a little break on the woodwork I measured the right places to drill holes in the legs. 8mm and 16mm drills were used (I want to hide the bolts screwing them from below). Slightly polished the metal was covered with clear spray varnish. As you can see in the pictures the slab is slightly darker on the edges, but you'll read about it the the next step ;)

Step 12: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

The work is almost finished. The wood sanded, epoxy polished and all put toghether to see how it fits.

Step 13: Oiling the Slab

Picture of Oiling the Slab

To finish the woodwork I thought of usig sepcial oil. All the information on it is in the picture, except for the price, a 0.8 litre can costs about 80 PLN (about 20 USD). It's a german product, and gives very satisfying effects on the wood, and no matter if it's oak, ash, pine or walnut. Satin touch and look.

Ther one thing that you might want to look out when applying the oil. It somehow reacts wtih the epoxy and makes it mat. Even when left for a few seconds it ruins all the polishing work.

Step 14: The Last Step

Picture of The Last Step

Now the Epoxy River Coffee Table is done. Legs screwed to the slab, all the wooden surface covered with oil so final toush to the resin is being taken. For the fact, the the epoxy reacted with oil, it's was polished again.

The work is done, workshop cleaned and gathering ideas for another piece of woodwork. Hope you have enjoyed my instructable. If you have any questions feel free to ask them.


Dr. dB (author)2016-10-03

Perhaps acrylic dowels would work for the connections (if not too
delicate or flexible). They might "vanish" into the poured resin, making
the joining method completely invisible...?

Would cutting a channel on the underside of the live edge and letting the resin flow deeper into each half of the slab provide enough surface area for good bonding? It would still be hidden under the live edge and you could leave the router cut rough for better adherence.

It might be a good idea to do so, but still I didn't find a way to set the parts of the slab firmly, so they don't move and make the epoxy flow out to waste...

Gabriel_S_PL (author)Dr. dB2016-10-04

That is an option, but I fear that acrylic might crash... The stainless tubes were fit pretty tight and after hammering the in place there was and is no way to separate parts of the slab. And, I did't wabt to use any glue because I have no idea what can happen to resin when it contacts the glue.

FrancesB26 made it! (author)2017-01-30

Apart from being a direct copy of my original 2014 design (there are lots out there now so i hope it's a compliment?!), it's a beautifully made table and a really cool instructable. It is possible to make the gap without the steel supports (i've never used acrylic rods so can't help there). Also, they would show up less in certain colours of resin, especially the darker transparents-there's nothing to hide behind with clear so it's the hardest one i think. It is also possible to use opaque colours with Epoxy, better for commercial settings but sort of loses the point slightly with the river.

If you get the right epoxy, the join can be strong with the wood but there are so many types and some of them have very poor adhesion so i wouldn't necessarily recommend it. The moisture content of the wood is also important.

I'm not great with steel so rather than polish it, i send mine to be powdercoated in a chrome finish which is a bit shinier but a similar look. Might be worth considering something like that, or a specialist coat as an alternative finish? Though, I realise it does lose a bit of the completely handmade finish.

Love to see your next project!

Gabriel_S_PL (author)FrancesB262017-02-02

Thank you for all the tips you gave here. Well, first thing is that, I was not sure how strong the epoxy is and I couldn't figure out how to stabilize the parts of the wood.
It came through my mind to powdercoat the legs, but it would cost to much, so polishing it and covering with clear varnish was a better option for me and it just fits with the stainless rods.

The idea was to make is as handmade as possible to reduce to cost of the table.

And those tables you made are just awesome. They have all the thing I like: wood, steel, epoxy and the most important they are beautiful in their simplicity.

kpantel (author)2016-09-29

could you dye the epoxy if you wanted to?

Gabriel_S_PL (author)kpantel2016-09-29

Of course, there are different coloring powders for epoxy, just need to search the web ;)

For now I wanted to try clear one, but who knows, maybe next time the epoxy will be colored ;)

Jatique (author)2016-09-28

Wow, im impress with your work , how i wish i can do with my teak wood , i have a plantation of forest teak wood back in my village , hope i can start doing it

Gabriel_S_PL (author)Jatique2016-09-29

If I had a plantation I'd probably quit my regular job and spend the rest of my life in the workshop making new things :) and of course you can, a little knowledge , good attitude and faith in your own abillities, some tools and place to work ;)

offseid (author)2016-09-27

Just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing that.

Gabriel_S_PL (author)offseid2016-09-28

Thank you, my pleasure that I could make you smile :)

molarin made it! (author)2016-09-27

Just posted a similar project here on Instructables.

Gabriel_S_PL (author)molarin2016-09-27

Your table is really nice and from your instructable looks very easy to do. Great work!

fire1888 (author)2016-09-27

Very beautiful and well done, you started with a very special piece of wood, may I ask where you found it?

Gabriel_S_PL (author)fire18882016-09-27

There is a guy one hour drive from my hometown that has a lot of different types of wood (oak, ash, walnut) and asked him to show me what he has, picked this one and started the work ;) I'm from Poland btw ;)

ironarmadillo (author)2016-09-27

You've done a beautiful job working with an interesting live edge treatment. I've seen similar work on the internet before and I'm always glad to see someone else doing this type of table construction. One of my inspirational bookmarks for this type of work is One of these days I plan to try one of this type of table as a dining room table (I've got to finish building a house first (75% complete)). Since I've done stained glass and glass carving work before (and still have all the hand tools and some of the power tools) I feel up to the challenge of working the plate glass to imitate Greg Klassen's style of work. I have some 8/4 slabs of 100 year old Texas Pecan with live edges I've already set aside. We'll see what the future holds.

The works are really nice, perfectly finished... and that's the thing, they are too perfect... I prefer a style with a little more roughness, a bit more imperfestions than the wood itself has.

I would love to see the wood that you have prepared and the results of your work with the slabs.

I wish you luck with building the house and after it's done, with live edges.

mkwest23 (author)2016-09-26

Just beautiful. Forwarding to my husband for inspiration since he has been wanting to make a live edge slab project!

Gabriel_S_PL (author)mkwest232016-09-27

I'm glad and very happy to be inpiration :) thank you

eclipsestorm (author)2016-09-26

would you ever consider joining the 2 slabs with glass or plexy rod instead? it would disappear once the epoxy was added...
just wondering

Actually I didn't think about it, but the steel rods here were fit pretty tight and hammered in the slab. After fitting them, there was no way to separate the slab pieces. Glass or plexy would probably be destroyed while doing that kind of stuff, and one thing for sure I didn't want to use any glue or that kind of stuff because I didn't know how would epoxy react with glue. I could have use resin to glues them, but it would complicate the project.

kenbob (author)2016-09-24

Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing!

Gabriel_S_PL (author)kenbob2016-09-26

Thank you! :)

fdc313 (author)2016-09-25

Beautiful craftsmanship, A piece that can be handed down for years.

Gabriel_S_PL (author)fdc3132016-09-26

Thank you very much :)

PhuongT18 (author)2016-09-26

You will have ideas to make a coffee table.

Gabriel_S_PL (author)PhuongT182016-09-26

Htank you for the video, it lookes like it was easy and fun. Good job, nice coffee table!

janaboo13 (author)2016-09-26

Beautifully done!

Gabriel_S_PL (author)janaboo132016-09-26

Thank you :)

PaulE61 (author)2016-09-26

Gabriel, did you tape the ends with packing tape also or did you have another sort of reinforcement to prevent leakage? I haven't started my project yet but from a few tests on small pieces of wood I found the epoxy easily leaked between wood and tape but I'll try your taping method. Did you also use tape for the ends? Did you reinforce with wood to contain the epoxy? Lastly, have you had problems with leaking epoxy with you first projects and if so, any tips? Thanks

Gabriel_S_PL (author)PaulE612016-09-26

Paul, I used tape, 1st time across the slab, 2nd along the slab. Just in case I aplyed some paper to make sure that the corners of the ends are well shaped. It was just extra protection. And I screwed the whole slab to a piece of chipboard (it minimised the leak through the bottom). Anyways, the taping and the chipboard put the leaking to the minimum level. It was the only reinforce I used with the wood.

With the first project there was a little problem with the leak, but caused by temperature of curing epoxy and the slab was not secured so the resin went it's way through.

For better results I'd recommend using a tape that is not made of plastic, maybe masking tape would do better (it won't melt if the temperature occurs). I'm gonna have to try it myself next time.

Waiting to see your results of resin work.

OkayD1 (author)2016-09-25

I just wonder, do i really need the steel rods?

Lets say i cut a grove into it with my router like 1 inch deep and 1/2 thik.
Wouldn't that enable the resin to bond the two pieces together really strong?

Gabriel_S_PL (author)OkayD12016-09-26

To be honest I didin't think about it this way. The rodes were supposed to be decorative as well as reinforceing the table. And I was afraid that the resin would crack while doing all the finishing work.

If not with the rods how do you want to stabilize the slab? I mean, cracks must be closed, and the space between pieces of wood needs to be covered. Placing it on other board may not do the trick.

spaceda (author)2016-09-25

Gabriel, I'm about to build similar table and did the same assumptions as yoi did. Especially i need to join with similar kind of metal pipes completely separated two parts of first slab and then connect it with second slab.

My task on the picture - left down is a small part which is separated - needs joining with main bottom slab

Question: those three pipes are just put with some force without glueing or screwing in?

Gabriel_S_PL (author)spaceda2016-09-25

Zbyszek, those pipes were just hammered in one piece, the other piece was carefully hammered as well. No glue, no screws, just a little force ;) but not to much to prevent the slab from damaging.

Frost5541 (author)2016-09-25

you could have clamped the wood to close the bottom of the rigde to the table or some kind of long useless wood. there you be none of the metal stuff showing.

Gabriel_S_PL (author)Frost55412016-09-25

I was afraid that the epoxy would not glue the wood together and it would just fall apart. It my second epoxy work with wood and still learning new things how it works

bill webb (author)2016-09-23

Just looking to do my first project I have acquired some Indian teak and some white ash many thanks for the tips

Gabriel_S_PL (author)bill webb2016-09-24

Your welcome :) I'd love to see the results of your work

wahboasti (author)2016-09-23

That's a lovely table, great work!

Gabriel_S_PL (author)wahboasti2016-09-23

Thank you very much :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Hello, my name is Gabriel, born and raised in south-east Poland. Even though my grandfather and father were working with wood all their lives I ... More »
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