DIY Wood Slab Epoxy Bar Top

In this DIY tutorial, learn how to make a rustic wood slab epoxy bar top using sinker cypress wood with embedded blue fire glass and resin glow powder.  

Tools & Material

Epoxy Resin for Thick Pours (BEST)
Epoxy Resin (Top Coats)
Trailer Hitch Truck Bed Extender
Fire Glass
Fluroscent Blue Glow Powder
Laser Temperature Gun
Strainer
1/8″ trowel
Rubber Squeegee
Chop Brush
Mixing Containers
Mixing Sticks
Drill
Drill Mixing Paddle
heat gun
Blow Torch
Rubber Gloves
Saw Horses
Rotary Sander
40 grit
80 grit
120 grit
220 grit
320 grit
Rotary Sander Soft Sanding Pad
Track Saw with Track
Dust Collection
Trim Router
1/2″ Roundover Bit
Grinder
Kutzall Extreme Disc
50 grit metal sanding disc
Jig Saw
Countersink Bit
Dust Mask
Bondo
3/4″ square steel tubing
Resin Mold Insulation Panels
Tyvex Tape
Resin Mold Packing Tape
Packing Tape Gun
Vaseline
General Finishes oil and urethane
F Clamps
Bar Clamps
Hot Glue Gun
Glue for Hot Glue Gun
Alcohol
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.

For additional sinker cypress tables, be sure to checkout my LED table and my epoxy resin river glow table.

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood_Sinker Cypress Slab

 

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.

 

Rough Sanding

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood_rough sanding

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood rough sanding

 

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!

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Sinker cypress slab

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood_Winding River

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Reinforce River Table with Steel

 

Next, I used my router & a jig I built 5 minutes before to route a channel a little wider and deeper than the tubing.

 

Apply Bondo

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Reinforce River Table with Steel and Bondo

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Reinforce River Table with Steel and Bondo

 

After the bondo dried, I sanded away the excess.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Reinforce River Table with Sand Bondo

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Resin Mold & Release Agent

 

Then, I covered the entire side with packing tape then vaseline to serve as a release agent.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Resin Mold & Release Agent

 

I flipped the mold over, clamped it to the slab, and flipped the entire thing over.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Resin Mold & Release Agent

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Resin Mold & Release Agent

 

Then, I sealed the inside of the river epoxy bar top with hot glue.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Seal River Table

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood temperature reading

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood temperature reading

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood resin mixing

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood resin glow powder

 

Then, I turned off the lights and tested the glow powder with a black light.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood resin glow powder

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood clean fire glass

 

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.  

My LED river table and glow powder river table have great tips/tricks as well.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood fire glass

 

Additionally, I made sure the glass is below the river bank so it doesn’t protrude from the top.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood fire glass

 

Epoxy Resin Pour: Embed Fire Glass in Resin

Once the fire glass is in place, I made sure the table was level.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood resin pour

 

First, I took my time and filled the river with multiple layers of resin and removed bubbles after each layer.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Epoxy Bar Top Resin Pour

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Epoxy Bar Top Resin Pour

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood trim bar top ends

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood sand excess resin

 

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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood rip to 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.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood sand resin

 

Remove White Spots from Resin

After I removed the high spots from the DIY wood slab epoxy bar top, I noticed white spots in resin.

Evidently, my sander speed was turned up too high which caused white spots.  The white spots are tiny bubbles that get filled with resin residue after sanding.

I used my drill and countersink bit to remove these.

 

Raise DIY Epoxy Bar Top River

First, I hand sanded the surface of the resin and decided to pour one more layer of resin on the river to raise it a bit.

The river was about 1/8″ lower than it should have been. It’s much easier to add a little resin than sand the entire table down 1/8″.

First, I wrapped a scrap piece of wood with silicone tape and nailed it to each end.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood epoxy pour

 

Next, I sealed it with hot glue and poured the resin. I actually needed more than I thought – I ended up using 2 32 ounce batches.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood seal with hot glue

 

Then, I poured resin in the epoxy bar top river.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood epoxy pour

 

Remove Ends and Sand Flush

After the resin cured, I removed the boards and used my rotary sander on a low speed setting to knock down a few high spots at one end of the table.

 

A variable speed sander is very useful when working with resin.

The 2 areas were only about a 32nd higher than the river, but it needs to be flush before the seal coat.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood epoxy pour

 

Sand Resin Bar Top

I sanded the entire table with a soft sanding pad and 320 grit sandpaper.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood sanding resin

 

I checked each part of the bar top where the resin river meets the wood to ensure it was flat.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood sanding resin

 

Finally, I used my hand plane to remove one high edge.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood hand plane

 

Roundover Edges

After the table was flat, I used my trim router with a 1/2″ roundover bit on the straight side of the bar top.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood Roundover Edges

 

Epoxy Resin Seal Coats

I asked my wife to help me on the first seal coat and she was nervous to mess up.

So, I took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of this step in the project.  :)

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood_wife helping

 

The purpose of the seal coat is just as the name implies – it’s meant to seal the surface.

First, my wife spread the material with a squeegee back and forth and let a bead of material drip over the edge.  There formula for seal coats is 1 ounce per square foot of surface area.

 

Next, I used my torch to remove air bubbles. I wiped the edge about once per 5 minutes to prevent dripping.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood remove bubbles

 

Sand between Seal Coats

After the first seal coat cured, I sanded the entire table with 320 grit sandpaper and repeated the process for the second and third seal coats.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood sanding after seal coat

 

Epoxy Resin Flood Coats

After I sanded the final seal coat on the reclaimed wood bar top, I mixed 3 ounces per square foot for the flood coat.

 

Next, I used a 1/8″ square notch trowel to move the resin across the bar top at a consistent depth.

 

Then, I used a brush to chop the material to facilitate proper blending.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood flood coats

 

Finally, my torch removed the air bubbles and help flatten out the material.

I repeated this process for the 2nd flood coat.

 

Seal Underside

After the bar top cured for 6 days, I flipped it over and sealed the underside with oil and urethane.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood seal underside

 

This is not necessary for this type of wood, but it just made me feel better since the bar top would be outside.

 

Secure Black LED Lights

First, I used hot glue to secure a string of black LED lights under the river.

More importantly, I discovered a better way to embed LED lights in epoxy resin.  I encourage you to use the new method if possible.

 

Also, this is not necessary because the glow powder is charged by sunlight or artificial light.

The black lights will charge the glow powder if the bar top is not exposed to the sun or lights.

 

Wood Slab Epoxy Bar Top Shipping Box

After the table was completely dry, I decided to drive this table to my customer.  The shipping was very expensive due to the size of this bar top.

First, I built a box with 2x4s and particle board roughly 4 inches longer than the table and 2 inches wider.

 

Load Epoxy Bar Top in Truck

In order to transport the epoxy bar top securely, I used my bed extender.  Also, the bed extender is one of the handiest tools I own.

 

I initially bought it to haul my paddle boards in my old truck, but I mostly use it to haul lumber much longer than my truck bed.  It’s a bed extender if it’s installed horizontally and it’s a roof extender if installed vertically.

 

Outdoor Wood Slab Epoxy Bar Top Delivery

So, I left my house at 4:30am in Louisiana and drove 12 hours to South Carolina.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood delivery

 

I delivered the table to my customer, spent a few hours chatting with him & his family, and got back on the road later that evening.

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood delivery

 

Also, my wife warned me to just ship the table, but, as usual, I didn’t listen.

I wanted to save my customer the huge shipping expense (shipping quote included in DIY Plans) b/c he was so easy to work with.

Ultimately, my travel expenses were much cheaper than the shipping expense.

As much as I enjoyed meeting my customer & his family, the trip simply was not worth my time.

I will listen to my wife next time – maybe.  :)

 

Conclusion

In summary, I hope you enjoyed this project and it brought you some form of value.

Check out my online store where I sell some of the things I create as well as digital plans.

Finally, I build custom furniture if the request matches my skillset.  If you are interested, complete our online custom quote form.

 

Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood installed

 

 

In this tutorial, learn how to make an epoxy bar top using reclaimed wood.  The outdoor bar top has a glowing river with embedded fire glass that runs through the reclaimed sinker cypress.
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