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How To Make Epoxy River Coffee Table (Video Tutorial)

How To Make Epoxy River Coffee Table (Video Tutorial)

In this DIY tutorial, I show you how to make an epoxy river coffee table with live edge wood. Also, learn many woodworking and epoxy resin tips to help you save time and money.

Most epoxy table tutorials are confusing.
Often times, they are DIY experiments which offer unreliable advice.

In this article, I share my system of reliable techniques I use to build epoxy wood tables for my clients.
In fact, I built this epoxy coffee table for one of my clients.
So, let’s get started with a list of tools and materials I used for this project.

Tools and Materials

First, I encourage you to download my FREE resin calculator at the end of this article.
The resin calculator helps you minimize waste by determining the exact amount of resin need for your epoxy project.

Also, I wrote an article on how to choose epoxy resin and the best epoxy tools.
Be sure to visit these articles for additional information.

Video Tutorial

There are many things which are difficult to explain with words and images, so be sure to checkout the video tutorial below.

Introduction

So, a client reached out to me and requested I build an epoxy wood coffee table with a blue epoxy river glow in the dark table.
In addition, he wanted me to use 2 pieces of white oak wood from his family’s land in Alabama.

The dimensions of this epoxy resin coffee table is 46″ x 28″ x 1 1/8″ (L x W x Thickness).

Live Edge Wood for Coffee Table

Each piece live edge white oak measured 50″ x 10″ x 1.25″ (L x W x Thickness).
Furthermore, both pieces white oak wood contained one live edge.
The wood imperfections and age added unique qualities many refer to as rustic.
However, the wood surface was in rough shape and needed to be sanded.

live edge epoxy wood coffee table

Sand Rough Wood

I wrote a complete DIY tutorial on how to sand rough wood, so be sure to visit this article for more detailed instruction.

First, I use a festool RO125 dual-action sander on the highest speed setting in rotex mode.
The sanding grits I used for this project are as follows: 24 grit, 40 grit, 60 grit, 80 grit, 100 grit, 120 grit, 150 grit, 180 grit, and 220 grit.
Normally, I start with 60, 80, or 100 grit sandpaper rough wood.
However, I decided to start with 24 grit sandpaper due to the rough shape of the live edge wood.

Best Wood Sanding Technique

The wood sanding technique I use is simple.

First, I choose a small section to sand which is usually one third of the size of the surface.
Next, I sand across the grain and overlap my passes by an inch or so.
Then, I sand parallel to grain.
Finally, I sand in small circles parallel to the grain.

Once complete, I move to the next section and repeat with every grit.
While this may seem cumbersome, it is required to achieve a great result.

wood sanding techniques

How To Clean Sandpaper

To preserve and reuse sandpaper, I use an abrasive cleaning stick to clean my sandpaper immediately after I use it.
I simply allow the abrasive stick to clean the sandpaper while the sander runs.

how to clean sandpaper with abrasive cleaning stick

The abrasive stick makes the sandpaper look brand new.

how to clean sandpaper

First Epoxy Pour

I used TotalBoat casting epoxy for the first epoxy layer on this live edge river coffee table.
This casting epoxy is a 2:1 mixing ratio, cures slowly, allows for deeper pours, and soaks into the wood fibers to form a strong bond.

Additionally, I mix enough epoxy resin to fill the epoxy river roughly 1/8″.
This bottom layer helps protect the glow powder (more on this later).

epoxy river coffee table resin pour

Once I poured the epoxy, I used my spark lighter and torch to remove air bubbles.

spark lighter for mini torch
remove epoxy air bubbles

Fill Wood Knots with Epoxy

Next, I used a syringe to force epoxy resin deep into the wood knots to properly seal them.

fill wood knots with epoxy

Mix Epoxy Glow Powder

After the first epoxy layer cured enough to pass the fingerprint test, I mixed glow powder and TotalBoat casting epoxy resin for the second pour.

As I mentioned earlier, the first epoxy layer protects the glow powder on the underside of the epoxy river coffee table.
Essentially, it shields it from being removed if I need to sand or flatten the underside of the epoxy river.

epoxy glow table materials

First, I mixed the epoxy resin completely.
Usually, the epoxy resin turns crystal clear when mixed properly.

mix epoxy resin

Next, I added blue glow powder to the epoxy resin.
I used 8 ounces of glow powder for this epoxy wood coffee table.

mix epoxy glow powder

Then, I thoroughly mixed the epoxy glow powder by scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing container.

mix epoxy glow powder

Finally, I poured the epoxy resin in the middle at a slow rate until it filled the river table about 3/4″.
I saved a few ounces of resin to fill the wood knots with blue epoxy.

As a quick tip, leave at least 1/8″ of space when pouring epoxy and glow powder.
Essentially, this will add protection above the epoxy layer with glow powder.

Epoxy glow in the dark table pour
Epoxy glow in the dark table
fill wood knots with blue epoxy
fill wood knots with blue epoxy

Final Epoxy Pour

After the second layer cured for 24 hours, I measured from the top of the cured epoxy to the top of the live edge.
I used this number along with the epoxy river table dimensions to determine the amount of resin I needed.
Don’t forget to download my resin calculator at the end of this article as it makes it easy to determine the resin you need.

First, I mixed the same type of epoxy resin as the previous 2 layers.
Next, I poured the clear epoxy resin until it completely filled the epoxy river.

live edge epoxy river coffee table

Then, I filled the wood knots with clear resin.

fill wood knots with clear resin

Test Epoxy Glow in the Dark Table.

While the third layer was curing, I decided to test the epoxy glow in the dark table.
First, I left my shop lights on for roughly 4 hours to charge the photoluminescent powder.
Then, I turned the lights off to see the glowing river.

epoxy river glow table
resin river glow table

Remove from Mold

I removed the epoxy resin coffee table from the mold with relative ease.

remove epoxy table from mold

Cut To Final Size

First, I flipped the table over with the underside facing up to cut to final size.
Essentially, this avoids scratching the top of the table with my saw or track.

Next, I cut the table to final size on each end and on each side using my track saw and track.

trim coffee table with track saw
best way to cut epoxy resin
best way to cut epoxy resin
best way to cut epoxy resin

Epoxy Wood Table Finish Options

There are many techniques and finishes for an epoxy wood table.
I explain in great detail my 4 best finishes for epoxy wood table article.
Ultimately, sheen and protection determine which type of finish I use on table tops.

In fact, it is possible to achieve an epoxy matte finish by using the right finish and sanding technique.

what finish to use on epoxy river table

How To Finish a Coffee Table with Epoxy Resin

For this epoxy river coffee table, my client requested a high gloss epoxy finish.
So, I used TotalBoat penetrating epoxy to seal the wood and TotalBoat table top epoxy as the final finish.

Apply Penetrating Epoxy

TotalBoat penetrating epoxy sealer preserves, protects and repairs wood.
This makes it ideal to use before applying table top epoxy.

When to Use Penetrating Epoxy

First, I mixed the penetrating epoxy at a 2:1 ratio and poured it on the table.

How to Apply Penetrating Epoxy

Next, I used a plastic spreader to move the material around the table.
Once the epoxy covered the entire table, I allowed a small amount to roll over the epoxy river coffee table ends and sides.

How to Finish a Coffee Table with Epoxy Resin

Then, I used my hand to spread the material on the ends and sides.

How to Finish a Coffee Table with Epoxy Resin

I allowed the epoxy to dry to the point the material felt tacky.
Then, I applied a second coat following the same procedure and allowed it to dry for 24 hours.

Table Top Epoxy Finish

I applied 2 flood coats of table top epoxy to the wood coffee table.

First, I mixed the epoxy resin at a 1:1 ratio and poured it on the DIY coffee table.
A flood coats is meant to ‘flood’ the table top with little to no intervention.
In other words, I didn’t use a trowel or tool to move the epoxy.

epoxy flood coat

Then, I forced the resin to move easier using a heat gun.
Keep in mind, a plastic spreader or trowel can be used to spread the epoxy.
However, I get better results by using heat to move the epoxy if needed.

How to Apply epoxy flood coat
How to Apply epoxy flood coat

I allowed the first coat to sit for 6 hours and applied the second coat.

How to Finish a Coffee Table with Epoxy Resin

Finally, I allowed the table to cure for 72 hours.

Protect Epoxy Coffee Table from Debris

Protecting the epoxy finish in my workshop allows me to work on other projects.

First, I attached a scrap 2×2 piece of wood to each corner of the resin mold.
Next, I wrapped plastic drop cloths around the 2x2s and securing them with a stapler.
Then, I used tape to seal the gaps and prevent dust from entering on the sides and top.

protect epoxy coffee table while curing
epoxy coffee table epoxy finish

Sand and Finish Table Underside

Once I cut the table to size, I lightly sanded the table underside to remove the resin drips with 120 grit sandpaper.

remove resin drips

I used my vacuum brush attachment to remove the resin dust.

clean resin dust

Finish Table Underside

First, it is NOT necessary to finish the underside of tables.
However, I finish all my wood table projects as it gives me a feeling of completion.

I use Odie’s oil to finish the underside of my table projects.
It is easy to apply and leaves a nice satin wood finish.

First, I use a white scotch brite pad to apply Odie’s oil by hand.

finish table underside
apply odies oil to table underside

Next, I use a terry towel to remove the excess after allowing the oil to setup for 45 minutes.

finish table top underside

The final result turned out really nice.
In fact, I prefer this finish over an epoxy resin finish for this live edge river coffee table.

Table Underside Finish

Extra Wood Project

I had some extra white oak and decided to make my client a surfboard towel rack.
Since both my customer and I live in Florida, this extra wood project seemed fitting.
Also, you can purchase one of these surfboard fin storage rack from my Etsy store.

surfboard towel rack

Free Resin Calculator

Complete the form below and I’ll send you a FREE resin calculator for your next project.

Conclusion

I hope this tutorial provided you with new epoxy and woodworking tips and techniques to make an epoxy river coffee table of your own.

How to Make Epoxy River Coffee Table

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you calculate how much epoxy to use?

To calculate the amount of epoxy you need, determine the volume in cubic inches then convert to gallons or quarts.
Volume (Cubic Inches) = (Length (inches) x Width (inches) x Depth (inches)) + 10%
Please note, the 10% compensates for spills and to purchase more than the amount needed.  
Obviously, the 10% is optional.
Gallons:  Volume(Cubic Inches) * 0.004329
Quarts:  Volume(Cubic Inches) * 0.017316

How much glow powder to use in resin?

Most glow powder manufacturers recommend to use 4 parts resin to 1 part glow powder.mix epoxy glow powder

What is penetrating epoxy used for?

Penetrating epoxy sealer preserves, protects and repairs wood. Often times, it is used before applying table top epoxy.

What is a flood coat of epoxy?

A flood coat is poured on a flat surface and self levels to 1/8″ thick.


Howard Olvera

Friday 24th of September 2021

"DIYs are in trend, and making your coffee table with a personal touch will make it more beautiful. The blog is written in a very detailed manner, and even the video will help you solve if someone finds any difficulty in making a coffee table.

Thank you so sharing this post, looking forward to more such do-it-yourself ideas."

Pahjo Designs

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

You are welcome!

Richard Nedwidek

Thursday 16th of September 2021

This was a very good article, well rotten and explaining all details.

Thank you

Pahjo Designs

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

Hi Richard, you are very welcome!

Comments are closed.