Before we start explaining how to complete a river table, we need to cover some basics so we are all on the same page.
Starting room temperature matters. Starting product temperture matters. Changes in these temperatures and/or excessively cool or hot environments will alter the epoxy resin and your finished product.
With all that being said, to keep this simple we recommend 70F as the starting temperature for both the environment and the product.
Preperation materials needed:
You will need: Gloves, Ear protection, eye glasses, dust mask, hammer, heat gun or hand torch, straight edge, (50, 60, 120, 220 grit sandpaper), Torch, Mixing Buckets, Chop Brush, Paint Sticks for Mixing, Shower Squeegee, Sand Paper, Form Boards, Tyvek Tape, Mohawk Fil-Stik (color specific), Deep Pour, SuperGloss Clear Top Coating, and Liquid Pigments.
IF you still have giant slab of wood and you are converting it into a river table with the live edge on the inside… Use a straight edge and mark where you will be cutting the wood slab in half.
- Use a circular saw to cut your wood slab into two pieces.
- Use 60 grit metal or wood sanding disc to quickly clean up the live edges and remove any of the cut marks created.
- If you still have a rough top, you may either use a planer or setup your pieces on a table with a custom slab jig (with router) to smooth out the piece.
- Cut the forms (melamine wood) for your river table ¼” - ½” taller than the height of the table.
- Pre-drill pocket screw holes to secure the forms together. Tape the bottom and sides of the form boards with Tyvek tape for easy removal
- Ensure the surface you are creating is supported below with a solid flat and sturdy surface. The weight of the project can bow and warp if it is not supported well.
- Locate the forms with pocket screws. Seal the forms from leaking with 100% silicone. Let the silicone fully dry.
- Use Tyvek tape on the outside of the forms to double ensure the Deep Pour, will not leak out. It is like water and will creep out just like water.
- Now we are ready to start. Let's start with a 1 to 1 ratio mixture of our SuperGloss Clear Top Coating. Mix it thoroughly for 3-5 minutes max with a stir stick. Scrape the edges multiple times with a stir stick.
- Now start by applying the SuperGloss Clear Top Coating to the edges. Use a torch or heat gun to release bubbles after applying.
- Some wood may require more seal coats.
- Sealing aged wood and other porous objects is not an exact science because older wood and more porous projects typically absorb more resin.
- Allow the seal coat to dry. Estimate 12-24 hours.
- Now that the live edges are coated property, lets lock the river table pieces and project down to the form we created with clamps.
- We will use Deep Pour, on this project because the table will be 2” thick when complete.
Recommended Pour Settings:
DO NOT combine ALL THE epoxy resin INTO A BUCKET AND EXPECT IT TO BE MEASURED PERFECTLY. ALWAYS CONDUCT YOUR OWN MEASUREMENTS. If you use a large container and have accuracy in the measurements, you can mix all in 1 container. We recommend pouring into smaller containers afterward to help slow the chemical reaction process.
Before mixing any epoxy resin, be ready to get the mixed product out of the container (bucket) before. We do not want to let the mixed epoxy resin sit in the bucket for more than a minute. Each minute it sits, it gets warmer and warmer. This rise in temperature will continue and ultimately create issues at the end of the curing process. IE: cracking, splitting, yellowing...
One 4-gallon kit mixed and layed out in a 1" - 2" setting is ideal.
One 8-gallon kit mixed and layed out in a 1" setting is manageable too.
12 Gallons Kits should not be poured in one setting unless layed out quickly in an 1" below setting. Deeper settings can create too much heat with possible cracking.
- To add a pop of color to the River Table Epoxy, we are adding some Liquid Pigments or mica powders to the mix. ** Careful to remain under 5% of the total mixture. Going over can be an adversary for the epoxy.
- If you want more of a clear look, add a small amount of our pigmented powder to the mix. Just enough to give a color tint but not too much to darken.
- Mix the Deep Pour, 3 to 1 mixture with a paint stick by hand for 3-5 minutes max, scrape the sides & bottom thoroughly.
- We like to think everyone will use their arms and a stir stick, but a drill bit can help for those larger pours.
- Be sure not to over mix.
- The movement creates unwanted chemical reaction resulting in more heat. This can speed up the process and change the makeup of the epoxy resin.
- *** When you think you are good, scrape the edges and bottom AGAIN! With a stir stick! Look for those mix streamers. Sticky spots and uncured spots at the end mean we did not mix thoroughly.
- GET THE MIXTURE OUT OF THE CONTAINER IMMEDIATLEY. Do not let it sit in the container.
- Torch the River Table Epoxy every ½” of pour you lay out to help release pesky air bubbles.
- Continue pouring the River Table Epoxy until you reach the top of the project and allow it to self level.
- *** Do not remove form boards until the project is fully dried. It should not be sticky or wet.
- Keep the project at room temperature.
- Do not increase or decrease the temperature during the cure.
- Now that we have a dry project, you will need a hammer & pry bar to remove the form board from the project.
- *** Be a gentle giant here. We have busted many projects working like brutus during the removal.
- Once the river table is removed from the form, sand the bottom with: 60, 120, and 220 grit sandpaper.
- Keep the project from moving, tighten that baby down. Drop some screws super tight next to the project on the lower edges (all around).
- Use the Slab Jig to level the top of the table. Then square up the ends of the table with a circular saw, fine tooth wood blade, & straight edge.
- Use a 60 grit flush mount sanding disc on a grinder to quickly remove saw marks from the edges and router marks from the surface.
- Use your router and round over the top edge with an ¼” bit & the bottom with 1/8” roundover bit. This will make that sharp top edge more tolerable.
- SEAL COAT TIME: This is purely to prep for the final flood coat. If we don’t seal the wood, it is certain to absorb epoxy and make the top uneven. So we seal it.
Measure approximately 1oz. per sqft of our SuperGloss Clear Top Coating. Mix for 3-5 minutes max. Pour out and apply with a squeegee. Used a gloved hand to get the coating on the edges.
- For eye popping results, do at least 3 seal coats applied at 1 ounce per square foot. Lightly sand with 220 grit between seal coats.
- Some wood may require more seal coats.
- Applying resin on wood or other porous objects is not an exact science because older wood and more porous projects typically absorb more resin.
- If during the seal, you don’t have bubbles, allow the coating to dry (estimate 24 hours). You may be ready for a flood coat next.
- After the seal coats are complete, fill any stubborn pits the seal coat missed with a color matched fill stick
- Fill any pits before applying the flood coat of epoxy.
- Heat. Apply. Fill pits before applying the flood coat of epoxy.
- EYE POPPING FLOOD COAT TIME: This means everything is cured properly and sealed properly. This coating adds that shiny luster we have been dreaming of.
Apply our SuperGloss Clear Top Coating Mix it thoroughly for 3-5 minutes with a stir stick. Scrape the edges multiple times with a stir stick.
- Simply pour out a thin flood coat. Mix up 3oz per sqft. Pour out evenly with a plastic trowel or squeegee. Use a hand torch to release bubbles and admire your amazing table.
Let that baby dry and cure rock hard.
Here are some videos of our team talking about river tables, answering questions all during the beginning stages of a river table pour.
Hope this was helpful.
Let us know what you would like to create below in the comments.
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