How To Make My Own Table – Home » DIY Projects » Furniture Making » How Not to Make a River Coffee Table?
Epoxy River Coffee Table sounds pretty easy to make, doesn't it? Take a live edge of a tree, split it in half, shape it, pour resin, shape it… easy as pie. It just wasn't the same for me. If you're considering making your own epoxy resin table, you can learn a thing or two from my mistakes.
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*This post is sponsored by Environmental Technology Inc. I received the epoxy resin for this post, but all opinions are my own*
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The basic steps to building an upright riverside table seem pretty easy, but it's not a cheap project, so you don't want to mess it up. Do your research. I didn't do enough research beforehand. I usually like to jump into a project and learn from my mistakes. Looking back, here are the tutorials I should have read first:
I started this riverside coffee table with live cherry wood purchased from Wood Source in Ottawa. It was about four feet long and 18 inches wide. Tony cut it in half on the table for me, then I smoothed it down and peeled it away from the live edge.
Then I designed the shapes. I used 3/4″ melamine strips on the sides of the shapes and 1/4″ melamine strips on the bottom.
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I thought the bottom 1/4″ melamine would be smooth and the coffee table would jump if the resin hardened. Don't!
The 1/4″ mdf didn't come out one piece at a time. No, it was more like a thousand copies. Save time after hours of cutting it and removing the rest with a sander tape, use thick melamine for the shapes !
After the cherry wood is prepared and shaped, it's time to pour the resin. First I mix a small amount of two part epoxy and coat the bottom of the mold. This way you won't have any bubbles on the bottom of the coffee table. I then carefully placed two pieces of live wood into the forms and clamped them to the forms.
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Time to mix tar for the next river. I mixed up a liter of resin and added small amounts of transparent blue paint and green paint. The plan was to make the river a light aqua blue to make it look like a tropical ocean. I thought the amount of dye I added would be the perfect color. It felt good when mixed, but the color changed as the resin hardened. It looked more like toxic waste in a river than a beach in Jamaica, and I didn't like it.
My goal was to achieve a perfectly smooth glassy finish with one coat of resin. This is not happening. As I said, I spent a few hours sanding the melamine on the underside, and then I spent a lot of time sanding the top to smooth it out. This is what the deck looked like after sanding…
Now let's get back to the question of colors, because the story of this coffee table comes together very well
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To correct the color, I mixed up a small batch of epoxy resin, added lots of light blue dye and a tiny drop of opaque black pigment. I poured it under the coffee table, on the river side of the coffee table.
After curing, I sanded the resin to give it a matte finish. From the top of the table, the color deepened to a beautiful sky blue.
The final step for this resin coffee table was to flood the top layer. I mixed the resin, poured it on, and spread it over the top and edges with a straight piece of cardboard.
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Any bubbles can then be popped out with a blowtorch or straw. Once you're happy with the top and make sure there are no drips on the sides or bottom, leave it alone! Leave to harden undisturbed for 24 hours.
My last mistake was me (or Tony, I don't know who to blame) touching the resin before it dried and leaving fingerprints. I thought about sanding it all down and giving it a matte finish, but the glossy epoxy looks great. So I sanded the top with 400 grit paper to remove fingerprints and poured another coat of epoxy. The end result is flawless with no fingerprints and a smooth, glossy finish.
Wouldn't it knock your socks off if you worked on the tabletop the whole time to screw the top down while installing the legs? No, not kidding Tony. It didn't happen to me. In fact, installing the legs was the most fluid part of building this coffee table.
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I bought metal legs from Lowe's and painted them matte black. To attach them, I pre-drilled a hole and used 5/8″ screws to attach the legs to the top.
Overall, I'm very happy with how this riverside coffee table turned out. I made a few mistakes, but corrected them, and still ended up with a beautiful piece of furniture. Have you tried making a river coffee table? Was your build a bit smoother than my experience?
I made this coffee table as an auction item for a charity event and it looks great in its new home!
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All cookies that are not essential for the functioning of the website and are used specifically to collect personal data from users through analytics, advertisements and other embedded content are called non-essential cookies. It is mandatory to obtain user consent before enabling these cookies on your website. You know those times when you know exactly what you want and can't find it anywhere? I'm sure you've seen it in thousands of magazines and hundreds of Instagram posts, but no matter how much you search the internet, the same thing doesn't seem to exist.
This happens to me all the time with clothes. Some people (my mum is one of them) are brave enough to get out the sewing machine and make what the high street can't offer. I am not one of those people. However, when it comes to a bit of DIY, I'm more than happy to have a shot!
In this case, my difficulty was a nice dining room. Creating tables is easier than you think
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Woodworking skills or even many tools are required. A good plan of what you want to achieve and the right materials to make it happen.
A table was made in the kitchen where nothing else was available. That's when I found some railroad ties and glued them to a woodworking shop. I had some basic metal legs made by someone I know. The result fits the space – character and industrial look.
For our dining room, I knew I wanted something very small, but still had a nice counter that could be used for pictures. I can find more industrially reclaimed wood online than I expected in this space. I thought more ‘Scandinavian' and ‘minimal' than ‘rustic' or ‘industrial'. I thought I had finally found the perfect table and ordered it, but when it arrived the table top was darker than it looked in the pictures and it was completely fake. I took it back and went back to square one.
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I decided there was only one thing for it and decided to make my own. I knew I wanted to recycle wood
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