In this DIY tutorial, learn how to make an epoxy bar top using reclaimed live edge wood slab with unique features. with embedded blue fire glass and resin glow powder.
Tools & Material
This post contains affiliate links for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. See my disclosure page for info on affiliate programs.
Epoxy Resin for Thick Pours (BEST)
Epoxy Resin (Top Coats)
Trailer Hitch Truck Bed Extender
Fluroscent Blue Glow Powder
Laser Temperature Gun
Drill Mixing Paddle
Rotary Sander Soft Sanding Pad
Track Saw with Track
1/2″ Roundover Bit
Kutzall Extreme Disc
50 grit metal sanding disc
3/4″ square steel tubing
Resin Mold Insulation Panels
Resin Mold Packing Tape
Packing Tape Gun
General Finishes oil and urethane
Hot Glue Gun
Glue for Hot Glue Gun
Black LED Light Strip
LED Light Flashlight
Often times, I experiment with many different products and tools while working with epoxy resin. Therefore, the products I use in a certain project may not be my favorite.
For your convenience, I’ve compiled a complete list of my favorite Epoxy Resin material and tools – click HERE to see the list.
DIY Project Plans
I’m working on detailed DIY Project plans for this Epoxy Resin Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood.
Complete the simple form below and I’ll notify you via email when they are done.
Additionally, I’ll send you a 25% discount code. :)
Live Edge Sinker Cypress Slab
First, I used reclaimed sinker cypress wood for this DIY wood slab epoxy bar top.
Also, I used pecky sinker cypress on the first table I built after starting my blog.
Obviously, I fell in love with the beauty of this reclaimed wood, which is pulled from the river bottom all along the gulf coast.
I contacted a local Sinker Cypress Logger to purchase a slab for this live edge sinker cypress epoxy bar top.
Ultimately, I decided to buy the live edge slab directly from the source for price reasons and to meet the logger in person.
As I expected, he was very knowledgeable and the inventory of sinker cypress in his backyard was beyond impressive.
The live edge sinker cypress slab I chose was 14′ long, 28 inches wide, and 2.5 inches thick.
I hauled the slab home in my truck without issue. However, I forgot my bed extender which made the 30 minute drive home a little nerve wracking. More on my bed extender later in this tutorial.
First, I begin most of my projects with rough sanding to remove loose dirt, expose the grain pattern, & reveal the overall condition of the wood.
For this live edge sinker cypress slab, I started with 40 grit sandpaper & my rotex sander in rotary mode.
Furthermore, I bought this Festool RO125 about a year ago to reduce the amount of time I spent on sanding. It was expensive; however, it is worth its weight in gold. ‘Buy once, Cry once” definitely applies in this situation.
Obviously, the underside of the slab was lying on the river bottom from the looks of these indentations.
Next, I flipped the log over and sanded the top down to 80 grit.
Shape Live Edge Slab
First, I carried the slab outside to reduce the amount of dust in my workshop. This sinker cypress slab was absolutely beautiful!
Next, I shaped and cleaned the live edge on both sides of the reclaimed wood bar top with my grinder and kutzall extreme shaping disc.
Also, the kutzall extreme shaping disc proved to be very effective to shape the live edge.
As a side note, the small holes in the sinker cypress slab were filled small crab shells. They must have burrowed a hole in the soft spots of the wood.
Then, I flipped the table over and cleaned up the spots I couldn’t reach with my rotary sander while rough sanding.
Rip Sinker Cypress Slab
For this live edge wood slab epoxy bar top, my customer requested one live edge face the pool and one straight edge facing the bar.
Sadly, I was forced to rip it down the middle since this slab has 2 live edges.
DIY Wood Slab Epoxy Bar Top Winding River
First, I chose the best side of one part of the reclaimed wood slab for the live edge.
Next, I sketched a winding river with a pencil.
Then, I used my jigsaw to cut out the river.
Reinforce River Table with Steel
To reinforce the middle of the table, I used square steel tubing.
First, I flipped the table so the underside faced up. Next, I spaced the 2 parts of the epoxy bar top apart so that the table was roughly 20″ apart.
I marked the lines by using the steel tube as a guide.
Next, I used my router & a jig I built 5 minutes before to route a channel a little wider and deeper than the tubing.
After I routed the channels, I secured the steel tubing in the channels with bondo. As you can see, I had a very special helper for this part of the project – my daughter. :)
First, we mixed the bondo according to the instructions.
Next, we put a little bondo in the channels and placed the steel tubing on top.
Then, we covered the steel tubing with bondo.
Additionally, be sure to listen to my daughter and like the epoxy bar top using reclaimed wood video and share the post by using the share buttons on this page.
After the bondo dried, I sanded away the excess.
Epoxy Bar Top Resin Mold
Once the bondo dried, it was time to construct the resin mold.
First, I decided to use styrofoam insulation due to the size of this table.
Next, I placed 3 sheets down on the slab and secured them to each other using silicone tape and packing tape.
Then, I covered the entire side with packing tape then vaseline to serve as a release agent.
I flipped the mold over, clamped it to the slab, and flipped the entire thing over.
Resin Mold Ends
Since I used a large piece of styrofoam insulation as the resin mold, I left 5″ of excess at each end.
First, I used my razor knife to cut the underside of the styrofoam half way. This allowed me to form the end of each table by folding it up.
Then, I sealed the inside of the river epoxy bar top with hot glue.
Epoxy Resin Temperature
First, I checked the resin temperature using a laser temperature gun and it was a bit low.
Also, I used this new casting epoxy resin which performs well for deeper resin pours.
The temperature is very important when mixing and pouring epoxy resin.
So, I placed the resin outside sun for about 10 minutes until it reached 70 degrees.
As you can see, a laser temperature gun is very handy to get an accurate temperature of resin.
Resin Glow Powder Mixing
First, I mixed the epoxy resin per the instructions. Please note, it is vital to follow the instructions for the type of resin you plan to use.
Next, I added the glow powder and stirred for about 5 minutes.
Epoxy Bar Top Resin Pour
After I mixed the resin and glow powder, it was time to pour the resin.
The amount of resin used as well as other detail will be in the DIY plans, so be sure to complete the form below to be notified when they are ready for download.
First, I poured the resin on one end of the table and moved my way down to cover the entire bottom.
The steel bars prevented the resin from running down the length of the river, so I had to pour equal amounts in each section.
Additionally, I only used glow powder on the bottom layer for this DIY epoxy bar top. This allows me to embed objects in resin for the upper layers.
Next, I used my heat gun to remove the air bubbles.
Then, I turned off the lights and tested the glow powder with a black light.
Quick Tip: Embed LED Lights
As a quick tip, please consider using my new method for embedding LED lights in resin.
Essentially, I used an older method in this project as explained at the bottom of this post.
Ultimately, I recommend to scroll down to the bottom of this post to read the old method.
Next, read the new method for embedding LED lights in epoxy resin and decide which is best for you. The new method provides significant advantages.
Fire Glass in Epoxy River
Once the resin cured, I cleaned & dried the blue fire glass.
Please note, I recommend to use acrylic blue rocks instead of fire glass as I did on my transparent epoxy river desk with rocks project.
I find a strainer works well for this.
First, I spread enough fire glass to cover the bottom resin layer, but allowed enough space for the glow powder to shine through.
Also, this is my third table with fire glass embedded in resin.
Additionally, I made sure the glass is below the river bank so it doesn’t protrude from the top.
Epoxy Resin Pour: Embed Fire Glass in Resin
Once the fire glass is in place, I made sure the table was level.
First, I took my time and filled the river with multiple layers of resin and removed bubbles after each layer.
Ultimately, the goal here is to fill the DIY epoxy bar top with resin without going over the top edge which causes unnecessary work.
Also, I used casting resin which allows for deeper pours. This saves time and increased consistency.
In fact, it is better to come up a little short of the edge and sand down rather than vice versa.
Trim Wood Slab Epoxy Bar Top
After the resin cured, I removed the resin mold and used my track saw to trim each end of the DIY epoxy bar top down to the final size.
First, I made a straight mark across the table with my T-square.
Next, I used a very old blade to cut each end using multiple passes. I had to cut through a small amount of fire glass b/c I didn’t leave myself enough room when spreading the fire glass.
Sand Excess Resin
After I trimmed the ends, I took the table outside to clean up the bottom with my grinder & a 50 grit metal sanding disc.
The resin spread a little in the bottom during the initial pours because of the uneven spots on the underside of the table.
Rip Wood Slab Epoxy Bar Top to Final Width
I used my track saw in order to cut it to it’s final width.
Remove High Spots
Resin spilled over on the top of the DIY epoxy bar top, so I cleaned that up with my rotary sander as well as any high spots.