How To Build A River Table

Watch our tutorial on how to build a river table (or resin table) from start to finish.

To make this River Table, either Liquid Plastic or FlowCast® can be used. The cure time is similar for both products and the only difference is if you use FlowCast®, you will notice it has a lower viscosity. Enjoy the tutorial!

 

Today, I'm going to show you how to create this beautiful river table using reclaimed, live-edge slabs and EcoPoxy resin, Liquid Plastic. Let's get started.

 

 **The video mentions using Liquid Plastic, FlowCast® can be used alternatively. 
I'm using one slab of reclaimed poplar that used to be a tree in my CEO's front yard. Unfortunately, the tree had to be removed because of the risk of it falling during a heavy storm. But we're gonna give it new life as a river table.

Prepare the Wood

Make sure whatever wood you use is dried and seasoned. If you buy your live edge slabs from a lumber store it should already have been kiln-dry.
Clean up any bark and sand off any loose material. You need to create a good clean surface for the epoxy to stick to. Cleaning the surface also eliminates air bubbles during pouring and it adds to the strength.
Once your slabs are dry you can start to cut them to the desired length. Make sure the ends and edges are square. I'm using a table saw but you can do this by miter saw, track saw, or even a skill saw with a straightedge.
 

Prepare the Mold

All right, now it's time to start building the mold. Cut the base piece and side pieces that you need. I'm using melamine but MDF or plywood will also work great for this. Make sure the size of the mold comes at least half an inch above the slabs just to be safe. Cover the pieces of your mold with sealing tape like this tuck tape. I recommend using screws to put the mold together, this will help when it comes to removing the mold later. Place a bead of silicone on the inside corners of the mold. You could also tape the edges but silicone is easier and better for creating a watertight seal.
 

Preparing to Pour your Resin

Okay, the mold is finished and it's time to clamp down the boards. The wood would float in the epoxy otherwise, so this flattens the boards and keeps them in place. Now it's really important you don't screw the slabs from below. EcoPoxy and other epoxies have a small percentage of shrinkage in their curing process; the slabs could pull apart if they can't move. Ensure that the form is level and as watertight as you can make it. The last thing you want is a blowout. It's always a good idea to put down a piece of poly or a garbage bag below your mold to ensure any blowouts end up on the poly, and not on your floor.
 

Preparing the Epoxy & Pigment

The next step is to figure out how much EcoPoxy you'll need. Take the average gap between the slabs, multiplied by the length, then multiplied by the depth to get the amount in inches cubed. My average gap was five and a half inches, so I'm going to multiply that by the length which is 50 inches and the depth which is three inches to get my number, 825 inches cubed. I used Google to convert inches cubes into liters and then I always round up to ensure I have enough product for this resin table. We'll be using 15 liters of Liquid Plastic. This is a two-to-one mixed ratio by volume which can pour up to an inch and three quarters in a single pour. Mix the desired amount of resin with exactly half of the hardener and then mix until clear. Now we're going to add the pigment. For this table, we're using one of our metallic pigments called Caviar. I want my River table to be opaque so I'm going to add about half of this 15-gram container of pigment. You could also do regular pigments, GloPoxy for a glow-in-the-dark effect, or even no pigment for a glass-like appearance. Once the Liquid Plastic is mixed, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes, this eliminates a lot of the air bubbles.
 

Pouring & Curing

Now pour the Liquid Plastic, making sure to get every part of your table. We want to pop any remaining air bubbles. I'm using a torch but a heat gun also works. As you may have noticed, this pour is a lot thicker than the recommended inch and 3/4, but you can do thicker pours if you have proper heat dissipation. So I'm going to set up these two fans to help dissipate some of the heat that's created from the reaction. You only need to turn on the fans when the temperature reaches around 30 degrees Celsius, 86 Fahrenheit, or around 6 to 8 hours after the pour. Make sure you keep an eye on the temperature. Now we're going to let it cure for a full 72 hours. Ok, it's been three days and now and it's time to unscrew the mold. Remove the sides and the back gently with either a putty knife or a crowbar.
 

Finishing the River Table

You can finish the table with a belt sander like I did, or you can use a planer or even a router with a router sled jig. Once flat and smooth on both sides, it's time to start sanding. Always start small and then slowly increase the grit. For this project, I sanded the wood all the way up to 220 grit. I sanded the epoxy to a 320 wet-sand, removing all the marks from the previous sandpaper. I want my table to have a satin finish. You can also use our UVPoxy for a more glossy finish.
 
Just like that, we've turned reclaimed wood into a beautiful one-of-a-kind table you'd be proud to display in your living room. Thanks so much for watching, I really hope that you enjoyed seeing how a table like this comes together. If you want to see more videos like this one you can subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Instagram.