In this article, you will learn the basics of making a river table. Made with castings and inclusions of transparent epoxy resin, the river tables represent the symbolic marriage between wood and water: here is an original use of this wonderful product that is epoxy resin, and of this living material that is wood, to create totally unexpected and contemporary creations.
Method 1 of 3: Gather the ingredients and tools
Step 1. Obtain the accessories
- a plate and planks for the bottom and walls of the frame;
- shiny and resistant PVC adhesive;
- latex or nitrile gloves;
- a few clamps;
- containers large enough for the mixture (pot or buckets);
- mixing spatulas or rulers or an electric stirrer;
- an accurate scale;
- a gas torch;
- sandpaper 400.
Step 2. Gather the consumables
- resin kits with hardeners (slow type, for thick casting);
- wood varnish or impregnating resin;
- a finishing varnish;
- silicone or latex;
- epoxy dyes (optional);
- mother-of-pearl (optional).
Method 2 of 3: Important information before you begin
Step 1. Plan your implementation
Depending on the amount of epoxy resin to be poured, it may be a good idea to do it twice if the final thickness is more than 4 to 5 cm. The temperature slows down or accelerates the hardening. So, take into account that if the ambient temperature is hot, thick layers should be avoided.
As soon as the mixture is mixed with the hardener, a heat reaction (exothermic) takes place and this will accelerate the chemical hardening: therefore if you pour too thick, the heat peak may be too high, and cause cracks, yellowing, and even smoke, if you pour in a big thickness! For this reason, plan well the amount of your mixture and have everything ready to flow immediately after mixing
Step 2. How much do you need?
As the epoxy resin does not evaporate, be aware that the final cured volume is the same as the volume of liquid product.
- To find out how much volume or weight you need in a complex space, use dry beans, rice, or whatever, to fill the pour areas, and you can measure the amount with a measuring cup. required in liters.
- 1 L = approximately 1 kg.
- 1 L = 1 dm3 = a pour of 1 mm over 1 m².
Method 3 of 3: Make the epoxy river table
Step 1. Choose your type of wood
It is essential to use well-seasoned wood (less than 15%) found among professionals; cabinetmakers, carpenters, materials merchant. Choose your wood with particular attention and favor hard or semi-hard wood.
- Solid woods are living materials that have a real soul and are sought after for their strength as well as for their plastic qualities.
- Soft woods: alder, birch, sipo …
- Semi-hard woods: spruce, Scots and maritime pine, fir, cherry, walnut, chestnut, larch …
- Hardwoods: oak, teak, olive, elm, beech, holly, boxwood, ash …
Step 2. Prepare the wood
Make sure your wood is completely dry. Wood drying takes on average 1 year per cm of thickness after sawing into planks. Choose planks that are very level. Once you have chosen the board, start imagining and planning how the table will be made up and where you will place it.
- Remove the bark, sand the surfaces and remove dust by blowing with compressed air.
- Cut them according to the dimensions of the future table, and arrange the flat edges on each side of the casting frame, to form the edges of the future table.
Step 3. Impregnate the wood
As wood is often porous and has many cracks, absolutely avoid pouring a resin without having impregnated with a primer in order to fix the surface of the wood.
- Apply with a brush an epoxy resin with impregnation water (it is a kind of primer) or a varnish for wood.
- Generously dab the crevices with the varnish or pass one or two coats over the entire surface of the wood then let dry completely.
Step 4. Build the epoxy casting frame
Like the mold of a cake, you have to make a sort of tray. With a flat bottom and rims of sufficient height to contain the resin flow. Make sure your frame is completely airtight, as resin tends to leak through any small crack.
- Use the clamps to firmly tighten the frame components.
- Line the bottom and the walls with the shiny adhesive: this will make the peeling easier, because if you pour on the wood directly, it will be unstuck.
- You can use a little latex or silicone to waterproof some areas and prevent adhesion.
Step 5. Prepare your resin mixture
For weighing and mixing, use a scale accurate to the nearest gram, with sufficient capacity, and with suitable batteries, to prevent the scale from unfortunately turning off in the middle of a weighing!
- Strictly observe the dosages of the resin and its hardener. If you don't have a propeller mixer, use a mixing ruler.
- In all cases, mix perfectly and scrape the walls of the pot well: with the epoxy resin, each resin molecule must be brought into contact with each molecule of hardener, otherwise there is no hardening. For a perfect mixture, pour everything into a second bucket, in order to keep only the product well mixed, and not the product left on the walls.
- After mixing, do not delay, because the resin left thick in the bucket will quickly heat up.
Step 6. Customize the resin
To personalize and color your epoxy resin, add pearlescent powders and (or) transparent or opaque dyes. In both cases, resins or tints, use as little as possible to keep the transparency and lightness of the resin: 1 or 2 grams / kg are enough!
Step 7. Pour the resin
First, if you can, pour a "bed" of resin into the bottom of the mold.: a thickness of 5 mm is sufficient, to avoid air pockets and to have a very flat bottom. Then place the wood and make sure that the sections are held firmly, otherwise they may float, then pour the resin completely until it reaches the level of the wood, which will form the tray of the wood. table.
To make a pour in two parts, make the first pour. After curing for 1 to 2 hours, make the second pour. There will be no visible mark between the two epoxy resin layers
Step 8. Remove the foam and bubbles on the surface
Pass the torch in a quick round trip. There is no risk of ignition, because the epoxy resin is not flammable.
Step 9. Let harden then unmold
Wait for the hardening, which takes place over several hours, then remove the elements from the frame.
- The duration of the polymerization, as explained in the 6th step, depends on the thickness (the thicker it is, the faster it dries, and vice versa). It also depends on the ambient temperature.
- Be aware that the resin will harden quickly (in less than 24 hours), and will then harden completely in 1 to 2 weeks, until it becomes hard and brittle like glass.
Step 10. Sand and varnish
The surface of the tabletop is made: it consists of areas of shiny resin and areas of wood, but not everything is well leveled and smooth.
Sand the entire surface with the 400 dry sandpaper. This will create the grip for the varnish that you are going to apply, and it will remove the unevenness
Step 11. Dust then dry
Step 12. Choose the type of varnish
- A. A resistant food varnish.
- B. A matte or glossy bodywork varnish.
Know that the choice of a bodywork varnish will give you good resistance outdoors, in particular to protect the resin from UV rays
- Apply 2 very shiny coats, with a spray gun or brush, 5 to 10 minutes apart.
As for the epoxy glaze resin, it is suitable for the interior, and it will give you a very thick thickness of gloss varnish (from 1 to 5 mm). Before applying the varnish, apply an adhesive to contain the varnish flow then pour the resin varnish in 1 step, preferably with a thickness greater than 2 mm
Step 13. Polish
This step is optional! If luckily no gnats or dirt have landed on the surface of the varnish during drying, then the job is done!
- In case of small imperfections (orange peel, dust, etc.), polish, manually or with an electric polisher. To remove microdefects.
- Use ultra-fine polishing discs and polishing paste, and gradually increase in fineness, to find a high level of shine.
- Recipe to obtain an intense blue color flow with an iridescent effect. This is a typical recipe given as an example. It is a formula tested, refined, and used by many users, with modern ingredients and easy to obtain. You can use all types of professional grade epoxy resin that are intended for thick castings, such as WWA.
- For 1 kg of resin:
- add 3 to 5 g of "Diamond White PW-DIA-W" pearls;
- add 1 to 2 grams of “Candy Bleu Cyan 06” coloring ink.
- Better to start by putting the minimum quantity. Observe the result, then add more as needed.
Always weigh the mother-of-pearl and dye in the resin without hardener. Because if you have already applied the hardener, you will no longer have time to weigh and test
Questions and answers
- Q: Is the epoxy resin cast on a table top suitable for high temperature?
- A: It is not recommended to place hot pans on the epoxy resin, even if it is very resistant and withstands 200 to 250 ° C for a short period of time.
- Q: How to make inlays with phosphorescent resin?
- A: Very simply, add 2-5% phosphorescent pigments in the resin. Choose a fast-setting resin and light or fine phosphorescent pigments.