As a woodworker, I have an ever-growing bucket list of projects I want to build at some point in my career… and at the top of that list is a resin river table. While resin river tables have been made time and time again, one thing I noticed was that many of these projects are made with industrial tools in big shops. So, I decided to challenge myself to create one using handheld power tools and accessories that can be found in my local home improvement store. Even cooler, to help make this happen, I partnered up with my amazing friends at Bernzomatic and got to work!
How To Make A Resin River Table
Here’s the thing… you don’t need an industrial sized, fully-equipped workshop to make cool things. In fact, I originally wanted to create this project using three power tools (circular saw, drill, and a sander), but made a mistake when pouring and ended up having to use a powered hand planer as well. But, if you can keep your resin from leaking under your slabs, you can totally get away with using three power tools for this project!
Here’s how I made this project happen with a few hand powered tools!
What I Used:
Sander & Sandpaper
Power Planer (Optional)
Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch for Hobby and Household Use
Bernzomatic B4500 Heat Shrink Torch for Large Surface Areas
Bernzomatic Propane Fuel Cylinder
Mixing Bucket & Materials for Resin
- Measure and cut your slabs to size. I got my hands on two stunning walnut slabs from Jeff Mack Supplies a while back and knew that they would be perfect for this build! I cut the live edge off of two of my slabs to leave one clean edge. I did this using a circular saw and a straight edge. I made sure to cut the slabs a little longer and a little wider than my final dimensions to allow for room to trim them later.2. Next, it was time to build the form for the pour. I used my circular saw and straight edge to cut my melamine board into four side pieces and the base of the form.
3. Once the form was cut, it was time to seal it using Tyveck tape. This will help prevent the resin from sticking to the melamine.4. Next, I attached the side pieces to the bottom of the mold using screws. I pre-drilled to prevent the melamine from cracking.
5. I then used silicone caulk to fill the gaps along the perimeter of the form. If you don’t have a caulking gun, this can be done using a squeeze bottle!
6. Once I was done caulking, I let the form sit aside and dry. While it dried, I prepped my slabs for the pour by sanding away any loose bark or debris from the slabs.
7. To help prevent the resin from leaking too far under the slabs, I used the same silicone caulking to add a bead of caulk around the low spots in the wood (if you have a planer, this step can be avoided by pre-flattening the slab before the pour).
8. Next, I placed the slabs inside of the form to prep for the pour. I made sure to clamp them down to prevent them from floating once the resin was added.
9. I then used a vacuum to clean the mold of any debris.
10. I then checked for any cracks or openings that would cause the resin to leak, and used the silicone caulking to seal them.
11. Once it was time to prep for the pour, I used a table top resin on a foam brush to seal the bark and help prevent bubbles from forming in the pour during the cure.
12. I then used my Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch for Hobby and Household Use and hovered it over the surface of the resin to pop any small bubbles that might have formed.
13. After letting that sit for a few hours, it was time for the big pour. I calculated how much volume I needed by measuring four different widths of the river, averaging those together, and then multiplying it by the depth and length of the pour (since volume= length x width x height).
I then mixed up as much resin as I needed in a big container according the instructions on the label.
I also added black pigment to make the river appear jet black. You can choose whatever pigment you’d like!
14. Next, I made sure my slabs were level and then poured the deep pour epoxy into the river opening and any cracks that needed to be filled. Make sure to follow instructions on your resin container for how deep you can pour at once. I was a little ambitious and my resin shrunk when curing, so be careful!
15. After pouring the resin, I used my Bernzomatic B4500 Heat Shrink Torch for Large Surface Areas to remove as many bubbles from the resin as possible. This is important because I don’t want the resin to cure with bubbles in it.
I then kept an eye on the pour and occasionally had to use my Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch for Hobby and Household Use to remove random bubbles as it cured.
16. Because my resin shrunk a bit, I had to come back to the project a day later and repeat steps 13 – 15 until I was happy with the depth of my pour.
17. After letting the resin cure according to the label on the product I used, I then removed the mold from the table slabs.
18. At this point, I realized that I had a major leak on the bottom of the slab, so I used my powered hand planer to remove the bulk of the resin.
19. I then used a sander to smooth out the rest of the table. I started with 120 grit sandpaper and worked my way to 400 grit before finishing the table.
20. I then sealed the entire table with a furniture finish.
21. Last step was to add the legs!
I still can’t believe I made this table using tools I found at my local home improvement store! It looks like it came out of a legitimate woodworking shop!
I’m so excited about this project and even more excited at how amazing it turned out!
It fits perfectly in our little hang space!
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Can’t wait to push the limits of my little shop some more and see what I can do! Until then, friends… Happy DIY’ing!