Introduction: Epoxy Table Top With Corks for Outside Kitchen
For my industrial product design study, I was commissioned to start a “free of choice” project. One of my hobbies is cooking, and preferably outside in the summer. At home I have a garden with a large dining table, nice lounge set and a nice barbecue. What is missing, however, is a kitchen area with a worktop and storage space for extensive outdoor cooking. I took it upon myself to take on this challenge as my project.
I started by doing some desk research and looking at the possibilities. I came up with a base of concrete U-elements and incorporated an epoxy worktop with corks in it, because of our shared love for wine at home. In this instructable you will find a step by step explanation of how this was done, and how you can do this by yourself.
Worktop with corks (for a top of 150 x 40.5 cm and about 55 mm thick)
- Wooden plates and beams for the formwork
- Plastic tape
- Butterfly mixer
- Gas burner
- Super glue
- Dust mask
- Sanding sheets p40 to p1000
- Gloves DD lacquer
- Tack rags
- Foam rollers
- Rotary sander
- Mixing cups
- Polishing paste (coarse and fine)
- Polishing pads (wool and foam)
- Microfiber cloths
- Isopropanol 99.9% alcohol
For the base I used 5 concrete U-elements. I stacked these in a layer of 3 and a layer of 2.
Step 1: Preparing
It is important that the mold is strong enough and that the epoxy should not stick. By covering the wooden boards with a layer of plastic tape, you prevent the epoxy from sticking to the wood. Overlap the tape so that the wood is well covered. To keep the mold sturdy, you can attach strength bars at the bottom for support. It was not necessary for this size.
When the box is put together, seal the seams with kit. Do this with caution, as you will see all the details in your table top.
Step 2: First Layer of Epoxy
The first layer to be poured is +/- 1 cm thick.
This requires 4.2 kg of resin and 2.52 kg of hardener. The proportion in parts can differ per type of epoxy and depends on the dimensions. We have used the Resion UV epoxy.
Before you start mixing this, it is important that everything else is ready. The mold must be leveled and free of dust. You can use a tack cloth for this.
Weigh the two parts carefully and pour together, mix with the butterfly mixer at a slow speed and go well around the edges and the bottom. Mix for at least 2 minutes and just to be on the safe side, you could pour it into another container and mix again.
Pour the epoxy into the mold and spread the mixture, then carefully run the gas burner over the layer of epoxy to remove the air bubbles.
Let the epoxy harden for at least 24 hours.
Step 3: Glue Down the Corks
After at least 24 hours, the corks can be glued to the first layer to prevent floating. After cleaning the epoxy with acetone, the corks can be glued with superglue, keep them in place for a few seconds so that the glue can dry.
Step 4: Pouring the Second Layer
For the second layer we keep the same ratio of resin and hardener. The content of the corks makes the layer thicker than 1 cm.
This again requires 4.2 kg of resin and 2.52 kg of hardener.
After pouring you can remove the air bubbles with the gas burner. Watch out for the corks, they are not completely covered with epoxy and can turn black.
Let this again harden for at least 24 hours.
Step 5: Pouring the Third Layer
The same ratio is also used for this layer. 4.2 kg resin and 2.52 kg hardener.
Mix these parts and pour them into the container. Let this sit for at least 24 hours.
Step 6: Fourth and Last Layer
The same amount (4.2 kg resin and 2.52 kg hardener) is needed for the last layer.
Pour this into the mold and make sure that all bubbles have disappeared with the gas burner.
Let this harden well for at least 48 hours before moving on to the next step.
Step 7: Sanding
Before sanding, the epoxy must be well cured, and the mold removed. Get a good dust mask and a rotary sander.
Sand the blade from grit 120 to grit 240. In-between sanding clean the surface well with acetone.
Step 8: Lacquering
Make sure the surface is clean and mix the dd lacquer, you need about 200 ml per square meter. Allow the paint to react for 30 minutes after mixing.
Before you start painting, wipe the top with a tack cloth and make sure that the area in which you paint is free of dust. Please note, it is chemical stuff, so a mask with air filters is not a luxury. Also make sure you are well protected with gloves and long clothing.
Let the lacquer dry for at least 48 hours.
Step 9: Second Layer
Sand the lacquered table with grit 320 and clean again with acetone and the tack cloth. Apply the second coat of lacquer. You apply a second layer so that there is sufficient thickness for sanding and polishing later.
Let the lacquer dry for at least 4 days before continuing.
Step 10: Sanding
Sand the top after leaving it for at least 4 days to grit 3000.
Start with grit 320, take your time for this and every moment when you change the grit, clean the table with acetone so that no residues remain.
While sanding, keep the blade moist starting from grit 1000 and make sure that the sandpaper can withstand water.
Then sand with grit 1000, 2000 and 3000 and clean thoroughly with acetone in between.
Step 11: Polishing
The table is quite dull after sanding, to get this neat again, you will polish the table top in two steps.
(We have been lucky enough to be able to polish in a workshop with the necessary appliances)
Start with rotary polishing with wool pad in combination with the coarse polishing paste (we have chosen Mequiar's ultra-cut compound). Then wipe the table with a microfiber cloth and with 99.9% alcohol isopropanol to ensure all paste is removed from the table.
Second, you will work with an eccentric polisher (this can also be done with the rotary polisher), using a foam pad and the fine polishing paste (we have chosen for the Mequiars finishing polish). After polishing you wipe the top again with a microfibre cloth and isopropanol.
Step 12: Waxing
This step is optional, it provides an extra layer making the table hydrophobic and protected against UV. This is a step that you should repeat annually, because the wax layer wears out.
We have used the hi-tech yellow wax from Mequiars, but a different wax could also be used. Spread this on the blade with a wax applicator, let it sit for around 10 minutes and polish the wax with a microfibre cloth.
Step 13: Finished Product
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