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In this DIY tutorial, I show you how to build a DIY walnut epoxy dining table from start to finish.
Also, I use these woodworking and epoxy techniques to build and sell furniture and art pieces for thousands of dollars.
So, let’s dive right in with a list of tools and material I used for this project.
Tools and MaterialChill Epoxy
Epoxy Drill Mixing Paddle
Pigment Powder for Epoxy
Epoxy Glow Powder
5 Gallon White Buckets
Burn In Stick
40 grit Sandpaper
60 grit Sandpaper
80 grit Sandpaper
120 grit Sandpaper
150 grit Sandpaper
180 grit Sandpaper
220 grit Sandpaper
320 grit Sandpaper
Scotch Brite Pad
Wood Slab Router Flattening Bit
Drill Bit for Threaded Inserts
Large Speed Square
There are several things which are difficult to fully explain with words and images, so be sure to check out the video tutorial above/below!
Epoxy River Table DIY Plans
First, I’m working on DIY plans for this project including 3D drawings, cut list, and much more.
The plans will cost $10.00 and will teach you how to build an awesome table – pretty sweet deal…
You can signup to be notified when I’m complete by completing the form at the end of this post to get 25% off.
This epoxy table project was a BIG one.
I used many techniques, made mistakes, and learned a lot. In turn, I want to share the entire process with you.
Moreover, this is the first time I documented one of my larger projects to share with you.
As a result, I decided to provide a high-level overview of the walnut epoxy dining table project in this article.
Essentially, I plan to write a detailed article for each topic in the table of contents above.
Don’t worry, I’ll include a link to the detailed article from this article as soon as I publish it.
So, I designed and built this custom black walnut slab dining table and matching bench seat for a customer in Virginia.
The walnut dining table has 2 bookmatched live edge rustic walnut slabs with a blue epoxy river in the middle.
In addition to the table top, I built a black walnut bench seat and farmhouse trestle bottom.
The table bottom and bench disassemble to make it easier to ship and move from room to room or house to house.
Lastly, the table top is 7 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 1.75 inches thick.
In order to get a closer look at the wood grain, I sanded the live edge slab with 40 grit sandpaper with my rotex 125 sander in rotary mode on the highest speed setting.
I need to flatten the slab in a later step with my router, so this may seem like a wasted step.
However, I feel this step helps me visualize the final look of the table.
Plus, it doesn’t take long with my Festool Rotex Sander – maybe 15 minutes total for both pieces.
Remove Bark from Live Edge
The outer bark was removed from the live edge walnut slab by my hardwood dealer.
So, I only needed to clean the inner bark and loose debris.
First, I used my soft sanding pad on my rotex sander with 320 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the loose debris.
The soft sanding pad prevents aggressive sanding, which would change the shape of the live edge.
Flatten Wood Slab with Router
I used a router, flattening bit, and homemade router jig to flatten the underside of each walnut wood slab.
Also, I have 2 wood slab flattening jigs (small and large) and chose to use the smaller one for this task.
My smaller wood slab flattening jig consists of 2 90 degree aluminum rails with a 2 blocks of wood on each side.
The blocks of wood are about 1/4″ wider than the width of my router, which allows it to move freely across the jig.
The walnut wood slabs needed about 1/4″ taken off.
As a result, I made multiple light passes of roughly 1/16″ to 1/32″ per pass.
Once I flattened the underside of each slab, I flipped them over, positioned them, and traced the perimeter with a pencil to mark the location.
Next, I covered a 4×8 sheet of MDF with tuck tape (any sheathing tape works for epoxy molds).
The pencil marks remain visible under the Tuck Tape, so no worries there.
Filling Voids in Wood Slab with Epoxy
These rustic black walnut wood slabs had a few wood knots and voids. In turn, I filled the wood voids with epoxy.
I used deep pour epoxy because it penetrates the wood better than quick set epoxy.
Essentially, it soaks into the wood fibers because it is thinner.
In turn, it fills the voids and soaks into the wood.
While the epoxy cured, I sealed the wood slabs with silicone around the entire perimeter.
Measure and Mix Deep Pour Epoxy
I used Chill deep pour epoxy for this walnut slab epoxy dining table.
Also, I wrote an article about the best epoxy for wood projects, so be sure to check that out if you have any questions.
First, I used 3 buckets to measure and mix the epoxy resin.
Chill deep pour epoxy requires a 2:1 mixing ratio: 2 parts A to 1 part B.
I find it easier to accurately measure and mix epoxy with a bucket for part A, part B, and one bucket for mixing both parts.
In addition, I use the small containers to measure the epoxy before pouring it into the large bucket.
I could simply draw a dark line on the white bucket to mark the location, but a dark line isn’t accurate.
Next, I measured 2 parts A using the small containers and poured it into the large bucket.
Then, I measured 1 part B using the small container and poured it into the large bucket.
I poured part A and part B into the mixing bucket.
Once I poured part A and part B in the same bucket, I used a mixing paddle to mix the epoxy until it turned clear.
Add Pigment Powder and Glow Powder
After the epoxy turned clear, I added 2 shades of blue pigment powder.
I used Caribbean Blue and Blue Green pigment colors.
To get the proper color, I add a small amount of pigment powder, mix thoroughly, and repeat if needed.
Next, I added blue glow powder and mixed thoroughly.
First Epoxy Pour
First, I created a resin calculator to accurately determine the amount needed for any project.
Complete the form below and I’ll email you a link to download it.
The first epoxy pour filled 1″ of the wood slab epoxy dining table.
My customer requested the live edge remain visible.
So, 1 colored pour followed by a clear pour satisfied this requirement.
Second Epoxy Pour
Once the bottom layer partially cured, I mixed and poured a clear epoxy top layer.
Also, I use the thumbprint test to determine when to pour a second layer of epoxy.
The epoxy is partially cured and ready for the second layer if I can leave a thumbprint without the epoxy sticking to my finger.
Next, I used a mini torch to remove the bubbles.
The glow powder in the walnut slab epoxy dining table charged from my shop lights and illuminated when I turned off the lights.
Remove Epoxy Table Top from Mould
Once the epoxy fully cured over a period of 7 days, I removed the epoxy mould.
Flatten Epoxy Wood Table with Router
First, I like to keep the top layer of epoxy just below the top edge of the table top.
Essentially, this allows me to only flatten a small amount of wood & epoxy to get a flat table top.
So, I used my large wood slab flattening jig with my router to flatten the epoxy dining table top as I normally do.
I used the same process to flatten epoxy wood tables with my router as I covered in the previous section.
However, I noticed epoxy leaked on the underside of the table when I flipped it over.
In turn, I had to use my router to remove the epoxy from the underside which I did not want to do.
Obviously, it is not fun to sand or plane down cured epoxy.
After the first pass, I used my dremel tool to sharpen my router bit.
I made 3 more light passes to remove the epoxy from the underside of the table.
Sand Epoxy Dining Table
After I flattened the walnut slab epoxy dining table, I started sanding.
As a first step, I find it easier to sand the wood from 40 grit up to 220 grit while avoiding the epoxy.
After sanding the wood, I sand the epoxy with 120 grit and finish at 320 grit.
I developed a technique for sanding epoxy wood tables that prevents swirl marks and pigtails from forming.
First, I set my rotex sander on the highest speed setting in rotary mode.
Then, I make one light pass (forward and back) and use my air compressor to clean the resin from the sandpaper.
I repeat this process for the entire table.
I wiped the table with a damp towel to remove the dust.
While this process takes time, I don’t have to deal with burn marks, swirls, or pigtails in the epoxy.
Square Ends of Walnut Epoxy Dining Table
After I completely sanded the table, I used my track saw and track to square both ends of the table.
Fill Tiny Holes Burn In Stick
Once I wiped the table with a damp rag, I noticed there were tiny holes in a few knots from air bubbles.
Instead of mixing and pouring epoxy for these tiny holes, I used a burn-in stick (walnut color) to fill the holes.
Next, I used my card scraper to remove the excess.
Apply Odie’s Oil to Table Underside
I normally don’t finish the underside of my table tops. However, I decided to use Odie’s Oil on the underside of this table.
Odie’s Oil is a great epoxy wood table finish that gets better with age.
First, I stirred the jar and placed a small amount on the walnut slab epoxy table.
Next, I used my rotex sander in rotary mode, polishing pad, and sheepskin pad to apply the finish.
Then, I allowed it to sit for 45 minutes and removed the excess with a terry towel.
Apply Rubio Monocoat to Epoxy Dining Table
I chose to apply Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2c on this epoxy wood table top.
First, I mixed rubio monocoat oil plus 2c and poured it on the wood slab dining table.
Next, I used a plastic spreader to spread the material from the middle of the table out towards the sides and edges.
Then, I used a towel to wipe the excess.
I used my rotex sander in rotary mode with a soft pad to buff off the remaining material.
2nd Coat – Rubio Monocoat Finish
Surprisingly, this table required a second coat of rubio monocoat.
I’ve used rubio on many tables in the past, but this is the first time I needed to apply a second coat.
So, I used a red scotch brite pad (800 grit equivalent) to scuff the surface very lightly.
Then, I repeated the process on the first coat.
I’m glad I applied a second coat because the table looked the way I envisioned afterwards.
Finally, I branded the underside of the walnut epoxy dining table as I do on all my custom furniture.
Walnut Dining Table Bench
In addition to the table top, my client requested I design and build a dining table bench to match the walnut epoxy dining table.
I designed the bench in sketchup using simple half lap joints and dominos to join the bench seat.
First, I used my track saw to get straight sides on the black walnut wood.
Next, I used my MFT3 table and squared off each end.