Reclaimed Epoxy River Glow Table
In this article, I show you how to make a reclaimed epoxy river glow table. To help you build your own, I have epoxy river glow table downloadable DIY plans available along with a video tutorial are in this article.
Tools and Materials
Casting Epoxy Resin (Used to fill inlays): http://amzn.to/2ppVtJZ
- NOTE: Can be used for casting AND top coat.
Epoxy Used for Top Coat: Use the code jeremy10 at checkout to get $10.00 off an order of $50.00 or more.
- NOTE: Can ONLY be used as top coat.
Pigment Powder for Resin
- Blue Pigment Powder: http://amzn.to/2GGSvJj
- Black Pigment Powder: http://amzn.to/2FfHzkj
- White Pigment Powder: http://amzn.to/2tj6eTy
Finish Used to Seal Underside of Table: http://amzn.to/2G7TMeE
Burn In Stick: http://amzn.to/2u21XV4
Micro Butane Torch: http://amzn.to/2FUEiI9
Larger Butane Torch: http://amzn.to/2pp5k2A
Acetone (Used for Resin & Black Pipe clean up): http://amzn.to/2u23Gtw
Measuring Containers: http://amzn.to/2u8KD0L
Rubber Squeegee: http://amzn.to/2poy7VM
1/8″ Trowel: http://amzn.to/2tXbPPW
Chop Brush: http://amzn.to/2pnXiXO
Mixing Paddle: http://amzn.to/2u2cGyE
Stir Sticks: http://amzn.to/2FdhsOT
Rubber Gloves: http://amzn.to/2FexyI8
Foil Tape: http://amzn.to/2pnSxOL
Wood Glue: http://amzn.to/2poWXUF
CA Glue and Activator: http://amzn.to/2G32aMv
Foam Brush used for Underside of Table: http://amzn.to/2GHEBGM
1000 Grit Sandpaper: http://amzn.to/2u25gLY
220 grit sandpaper: http://amzn.to/2FRjwZd
3/8″ Dowel Rod: http://amzn.to/2FUkZOF
Reclaimed Heart Pine Wood: Your Local Hardwood Dealer
- 84″ x 13.5″ x 2.5″
Festool Track Saw TS-75 w/ Track: http://amzn.to/2IzAmhf
RO125 Festool Sander: http://amzn.to/2FXHimE
Festool Sandpaper (40 grit – 320 grit): http://amzn.to/2polcmL
Dowel Jig: http://amzn.to/2FXFd9W
Grizzly Table Saw: http://amzn.to/2pqQUiv
Bosch Miter Saw: http://amzn.to/2FOBijR
Dewalt Planer: http://amzn.to/2FSqi12
Dust Right Planer Dust Bag: http://amzn.to/2ICPjik
Dewalt Trim Router: http://amzn.to/2po9PLE
- Roundover bit: http://amzn.to/2G89CWD
- Spiral Bit: http://amzn.to/2FKDF7e
- Dado Bit: http://amzn.to/2G7joIw
Sheetrock Square: http://amzn.to/2GHi9xy
Bessey clamps: http://amzn.to/2Izon30
Dewalt Trigger Clamps: http://amzn.to/2pp78tv
Tape Measure: http://amzn.to/2pnIoB1
Glue Scraper: http://amzn.to/2G4TkO5
Straight Edge: http://amzn.to/2FLiCS6
Chisel Set: http://amzn.to/2pp2LgV
Low Angle Jack Plane w/ toothed blade (lie-nielsen)
- Cheaper Alternative, but just as good: http://amzn.to/2FNx3Fq
Downloadable DIY Digital Plans this Reclaimed Epoxy River Glow Table
Introduction and Background
I offered to build a table for my sister in November while brainstorming project ideas during Thanksgiving. My sister is older than me, which typically means she does more favors for me than I do for her.
We traded many Pinterest screenshots via text over a two-week period to get an idea of the style table she wanted me to build. The final decision was an industrial style, rustic table with reclaimed Heart Pine.
As a result, I decided to incorporate a few unique elements to this reclaimed table, which compliment my sister’s personality and her faith.
Needless to say, I was happy to build this table for my sister. Additionally, I completed the epoxy river table the same week as her birthday, which made it more special.
Step 1: Gather Materials
The first step to all of my projects is to gather the materials. I get frustrated when I start a project and realize I don’t have the materials I need to proceed with the build. Furthermore, I use many products such as Epoxy Resin which cannot be purchased at a local big box store. The lack of proper material planning causes delays of 2 to 3 days.
I included the materials I used and tools I used into 2 sections in this document for your reference with links to where I purchased them from. Also, I referred to this list many times before I started my project to make sure I had the materials I needed and I encourage you to do the same.
Step 2: Mill Wood
Once I obtained the materials, I started milling the wood. I used 3 pieces of reclaimed heart pine for this project. The Heart Pine was salvaged from an old building in New Orleans and it was in great shape; however, it was not flat nor was it straight.
Each piece of heart pine was 90” long, 13.5” wide, and 2.5” thick. The size of the table I needed to make was 84” long, 36” wide, and 2” thick.
Important Tip: When you build a table that consists of 3 or more boards joined together, always mill the middle board(s) to the exact width. The outer boards should be ½” wider so that you can trim down to the final length after joining.
For example, I milled the middle board to exactly 12” wide and the outer boards to 12.5” wide.
Step 3: Join Wood
I decided to use 3/8″ oak dowels to join each piece of wood.
First, I lined up the 3 pieces of heart pine and marked where I would use dowels. Each dowel is spaced 12″ apart.
Additionally, I marked each join as ‘A/B’ and ‘B/C’ to avoid confusion. The first board is ‘A’, the second is ‘B’, and the third is ‘C’. Therefore, the first join was between ‘A’ & ‘B’ and the second was between ‘B’ & ‘C’.
My dowel jig came in very handy during this step; however, the dowel jig is setup to be used on 3/4″ stock.
Next, I cut the dowels on my miter saw to 4 ½” each.
I spread glue on each surface and in each dowel hole. Then, I inserted the dowels and tightened the boards together with clamps.
The dowels provide a very tight fit, so I had to use my rubber mallet to gently tap the boards into place. As you can see from the picture below, my mallet broke during this step. 🙁
These reclaimed heart pine wood pieces were 2 ⅛” thick after I planed them. I decided to place the dowels on the upper side and lower side of each piece of wood. In other words, I placed the first dowel with the jig laying on top of the wood. I placed the next dowel 12″ away with the dowel jig laying on the bottom of the wood. This provided enough spacing horizontally and vertically for a strong join.
After the glue dried for 2 hours, I removed the clamps and used my glue scraper to remove excess glue while it was still slightly moist. This step isn’t necessary, but it saves work because the glue is more difficult when dry.
Choose Joinery Method
Depending on the application, I either use hand cut joinery, a biscuit joiner, pocket holes, or dowels. I often get asked which joinery method is best and I always respond with the same answer – it depends. It depends on the application. Of the aforementioned methods, dowels are strongest, biscuits are mid strength, and pocket holes are the weakest of the three.
All joinery methods should be reinforced with wood glue. Below is the criteria I use for the 3 joinery methods:
- Biscuit Joinery:
- Cabinet Faces
- Flat joins of less than ¾” (paneling, etc.)
- Pocket Holes:
- Cabinet Carcass
- 90 degree angle joins
- Shop Furniture
- Flat Joins with ¾” or greater thickness
This criteria may not be correct to some woodworkers, but this has served me well over the years.
Step 4: Remove High Spots
Do you remember the tip I gave you in Step 2 regarding planing and leaving ⅛” in thickness? This is the point in the project when this tip comes in handy.
There are many different ways to help with warping when clamping during the glue-up, but I always get a tiny bit no matter what precautions I take.
First, I used my straight edge to locate high spots and mark them with a pencil.
Then, I used my low angle jack plane with a toothed blade to remove the high spots.
I believe every hobby woodworker needs a nice hand plane and a low angle jack plane is the most versatile hand plane a woodworker can buy.
Each manufacturer normally have options for different blades for different applications. I used a lie nielsen low angle jack plane with a toothed blade, but a woodriver jack plane works just as well and is much cheaper.
It is crucial to get a flat surface when using epoxy resin, which is why I’m discussing this step in great detail.
Step 5: Remove Planer Marks
Once I removed the high spots left from the glue-up, I decided to not use my normal blade for my low angle jack plane to remove the tooth marks caused by the toothed blade.
Instead, I used my Festool FO125 sander to make quick work of removing the teeth marks. This sander is expensive, but it’s worth EVERY PENNY in my honest opinion.
A normal random orbital sander works just as well for this step. It just may take a bit more time than the Festool takes to get a smooth surface. I used 80 grit, 120 grit, and 150 grit sandpaper on this step.
Step 6: Cut Inlays
There were many fractures and cracks in the reclaimed heart pine wood that needed to be secured.
First, I used a pencil to sketch 2 bowties horizontally across the crack. Next, I used my chisels to carve 2 bowties ¾” deep to secure the crack. I initially planned to use a wood bowtie, but decided to be a bit more creative.
Pine is relatively soft which made chiseling the bowties easy. However, pine does splinter so I made sure my chisels were sharp and I took my time.
This step can also be done with a plunge router and spiral bit. I like using spiral bits for the outer edge and a straight bit for the middle.
Make Resin Inlay Cross
My sister loves her christian church, so I thought it would be nice to include a cross somewhere on the table.
First, I printed a cross and scaled it to 12” long by 8” wide by 1” thick. Next, I taped it on the middle of the table over a crack that extended the length of the middle board. Click here if you want to download the cross I used.
This crack was minor compared to the other one, but it needed to be secured. I traced the cross on the paper with a pencil using moderate pressure. This left an outline of the cross on the wood. I removed the paper and used my pencil to darken the outline.
I decided to use my dewalt trim router with the plunge base and a ¾” straight bit to remove the material inside the cross. Next, I was careful not to get too close to the line. I removed ⅛” of material with 4 passes which equals ½”.
Then, I used my chisels and removed the outer edge.
Step 7: Resin Inlay Pour
I used ProMarine table top epoxy resin for the inlays (I also refer to filling the inlays in this tutorial as ‘casting’). This is my favorite epoxy resin to use after experimenting with many different types.
You can use whatever type of epoxy resin you wish. However, you MUST follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely when mixing epoxy resin.
Each manufacturer uses a different formula, which causes mixing, drying times, etc. to be different. I cannot express this enough – 99.9% of the emails I receive from people with epoxy resin problems originate from not following the instructions.
Resin for Bowtie
First, I mixed 8 total ounces of epoxy resin to fill the bowties. Next, I mixed a very small amount (small pinch) of white pigment powder and glow powder. Then, I stirred until the powder was completely dissolved in the epoxy resin.
Below is the picture of glow powder I used and the links to each:
Then, I slowly poured the epoxy resin into the bowties.
I quickly realized I forgot to tape the underside of the cracks with HVAC tape. Luckily, I was able to tape the underside of the table in time because no resin seeped through the underside.
Also, I taped the underside of the cross and other voids during this step.