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How to Create a Stunning Epoxy Resin River Table or Cheese Board [Step-by-Step]

Follow our foolproof guide to crafting a mesmerizing epoxy resin river table or cheese board. From preparing the raw slab to pouring the river and adding finishing touches, we've got you covered. Epoxy resin river...

Follow our foolproof guide to crafting a mesmerizing epoxy resin river table or cheese board. From preparing the raw slab to pouring the river and adding finishing touches, we've got you covered.

Epoxy resin river tables are more than just functional pieces of furniture – they are exquisite works of art that will leave your guests in awe. In this step-by-step tutorial, we'll guide you through the process of creating your own unique river table from start to finish.

What Makes a River Table?

A river table is crafted by combining raw wooden planks with epoxy resin. The slabs are split lengthwise, exposing the live edges with their beautiful bark and natural grain. The epoxy resin is then poured between the slabs, creating a stunning "river" that flows through the center, resulting in a solid tabletop.

These tables offer endless possibilities for creativity. You can experiment with swirling techniques or incorporate captivating inlays to make your furniture truly one-of-a-kind. Don't limit yourself to just tables – river technique works wonders for other projects like charcuterie boards, cornhole boards, and even serving boards.

No matter the size or shape, the process remains the same. Follow our detailed instructions below and unleash your creativity to design your own breathtaking river project.

How Much Resin Do You Need?

Calculating the amount of epoxy resin required depends on the volume of the river. To estimate the quantity you'll need, take the following measurements:

  • Length: The final length of your table.
  • Width: The average width of your river.
  • Depth: Measure from the top surface to the bottom.

Multiply these measurements together (Length x Width x Depth) to get the approximate volume of the river in cubic inches. Keep in mind that there are 231 cubic inches in a gallon. For instance, a table with a river measuring 10.75 inches by 10.75 inches and 2 inches deep would require approximately 1 gallon of epoxy.

Supplies You'll Need

If you already have prepared wood slabs, gather the following supplies:

  • Orbital Palm Sander
  • Silicone Caulk (Fast-drying Latex Caulk)
  • Caulk Gun
  • Metal Tape
  • Plastic Sheeting
  • Epoxy Resin Set
  • Cups for Mixing
  • Mixing Utensils
  • Pigments
  • Mask
  • Gloves
  • Polyurethane

If you're working with raw, uncut wood, you'll also need a miter saw, a table saw, and a wire brush with stiff bristles.

Step-by-Step Instructions: Crafting Your River Table

Creating a river table is a straightforward process that can be done in a few hours. However, keep in mind that epoxy resin takes approximately 12-24 hours to fully cure. Here is a breakdown of the steps involved:

Step 1: Preparing the Wood

If you're using prepared wood, you can skip this step. Otherwise, follow these instructions:

  1. Use a miter saw to cut the live edge slab to your desired length.
  2. Rip the wood with a table saw along the grain.
  3. Use a wire brush to remove bark along the live edges.

If you prefer not to prepare the wood yourself, consider contacting a local sawmill for pre-processed wood.

Step 2: Creating the Mold

To create the mold for the river, you'll need thick plastic, silicone caulk, and metal tape:

  1. Lay a piece of thick plastic on your work surface, extending a few inches beyond the wood on each end.
  2. Use silicone caulk to line the length of the board on the bottom side, about an inch or two from the river. Apply caulk to the ends as well.
  3. Wait for the caulk to dry completely, preventing leaks and blow-outs.
  4. Flip the board over and place it on the plastic, aligning the pieces with one another. The middle section will form the river.
  5. Flip up the plastic on the ends to contain the resin and reinforce with metal tape.

Remember, when placing the wood into the mold, position the live edges inward, tapering toward the center to create a solid base for the epoxy river.

Step 3: Preparing the Epoxy Resin

Before pouring the epoxy, you need to warm the resin and mix in your desired mica powder colors:

  1. If your workspace is cooler than 75-80°, warm the resin and hardener bottles in hot water for approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Ensure that pigments and mixing utensils are readily accessible. Don your safety equipment – gloves and a mask.
  3. Once the resin reaches the desired temperature, pour equal parts resin and hardener into a reusable silicone cup.
  4. Using a mixing utensil, stir the resin and hardener for about 3 minutes until fully combined. Take care not to introduce bubbles.
  5. If using multiple colors, pour the mixed resin into separate cups and add the desired pigment to each.

Note: To remove bubbles, you can use a butane torch after pouring the resin into the river, gently heating the surface without touching the flame to the resin.

Step 4: Pouring the River

Once the epoxy resin is well-mixed, it's time to pour it into the river:

  1. Slowly pour the resin into the mold, ensuring that you don't exceed a 1/4 inch pour depth at a time. If using multiple colors, add them gradually to achieve your desired design.
  2. If any bubbles appear, you can remove them with a butane torch, applying heat without touching the resin.
  3. Allow the initial layer to gel, which typically takes around 24 hours.
  4. Repeat the pouring process until the river is full.

Note: These instructions are for epoxy resin kits with a maximum pour depth of 1/4 to 1/3 inch.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

The final steps involve sanding and adding a clear coat to your river table:

  1. Once fully cured, remove the plastic, silicone caulk, and metal tape.
  2. Use an orbital palm sander to make the epoxy flush with the table surface and remove any imperfections.
  3. Apply a coat of polyurethane to the entire piece.

If you're working on smaller projects, you can use a planer to achieve a uniform thickness before sanding.

More Epoxy Resin Project Resources

Slice of the Moon offers a wide range of products to help you create stunning river tables. Our offerings include:

  • Craft Epoxy Resin Kits
  • Over 100 Mica Powder Colors
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Pigments
  • Solvent-Resistant Glitters

Be sure to explore our other epoxy and mica tutorials, such as Resin Turning 101 and our guide to using mica in epoxy resin.

Ready to get started? Visit our Amazon.com storefront or contact us for bulk orders.

Remember, let your creativity flow and enjoy the journey of bringing your unique epoxy resin river table or cheese board to life!