If you've been lurking certain circles of the internet, you might have noticed that river tables and waterfall tables have taken the woodworking/crafting circles by storm. You might ask: How can I create my own waterfall or river table with epoxy resin? Well, we are here to guide you step by step from gigantic hunk of fallen tree to the river table centerpiece of your living room.
There is no need to be overwhelmed because you can contact us for advice any time. You might even find yourself enjoying the process enough to make it into a bonafide hobby. I don't expect you to fill your house with waterfall river tables, but if you get really good then you can sell them and have the project pay for itself after you overcome the initial investment.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves... First things first, you need some tools and supplies.
All the things that you'll need:
Splitting the slab:
Once you've got all the pieces in place. You'll want to take your slab and mark out a line down the middle to cut. When you're ready, you can either clamp the wood down and have at it with a circular saw or run it through the tablesaw. Generally speaking, I'd go with the tablesaw for safety.
Straight rivers look fine and are a safe bet for your first project, but once you're done making that first cut you might see fit to add a couple of curves into your river if you're feeling particularly adventurous. Keep in mind that more curves will end up using slightly more resin.
Once you're satisfied with the split in your slab you'll want to get those pieces looking nice and pretty in preparation for pouring. Plane your wood down and fill any cracks in the edges with a 5 minute epoxy. Sand down those edges you're almost ready to pour... But first...
Create the mold:
At this step you'll be building a frame (four sides and a bottom) around your two wood pieces to keep them from sliding out of position while the epoxy is poured. You can generally use a bit of plywood covered in sealant tape. I definitely recommend using the sealant tape to keep anything from sticking to the epoxy once it is completely dried.
Depending on the size of your project you might need a few screws or clamps to hold everything together sufficiently. You'll want to ensure that every edge and corner is well sealed. There could be some stubborn corners that you can't seem to get sealed, and in those cases a dab of hot glue can work wonders!
Measuring your epoxy resin:
Some people like adding little rocks and plants to their river before the pour. I wouldn't recommend it for your first venture though. It does nothing but complicate the process and it's very difficult to make it look nice. Concentrate on just mixing and pouring this time around.
To figure out the amount of epoxy required you'll need to measure across the size of the gap. If you've but some curves them you might need to split your table into segments. Multiply the size of the gap by the length of the segment to find the volume. Once you've measured and recorded each segment of the table, add them up. Then you will multiply by the height to get the total volume of epoxy needed.
Take your time with this part. Epoxy isn't cheap and you'll want to pour it all at once in order to avoid layering new resin on top of hardening resin. The layers are fairly obvious and won't give you the smooth flowing look that you're aiming for. That flowing look is what makes a river table so stunning.
Pouring the river table:
Once you're ready, mix the hardener and epoxy. Add any mica powders that you might like and slowly pour the resin as smoothly as possible to avoid creating bubbles. Bubbles can be brought to the surface with a heat gun before the resin starts to dry so stay vigilant. Once you've got your river looking nice, it's time to take a well-earned rest while it dries and check back on it in a couple of days.
Creating the frame and waterfall part of our table:
Create a C shape with your square steel tubing and weld it together. This can be attached to one end of the table via screws. Simply screw it into the base and your table is halfway towards standing on its own. The other side of the table's legs will be the waterfall part of our river waterfall table.
Measure the length of the legs to determine how large your waterfall needs to be to reach the floor. Mark if off on the wood and create a 45 degree cut that is angled away from the mark. From this point, if your river is lined up with the waterfall nicely, you simply need to apply some glue or 5 minute epoxy.
Finishing the job:
Finishing is my favorite part. Sanding and sealing can be done at any point after the epoxy is set, but I prefer to do it at the very end so I can watch the transformation. Sanded epoxy might seem dull but one coat of sealant being added over the epoxy, gives it a new lease on life. This is the most breathtaking part of the job and my kids love watching the transformation too!
Don't get discouraged, mistakes will happen... But eventually you'll be able to create some stunning river waterfall tables with nothing but some wood, epoxy, and a bit of old-fashioned elbow grease! Best of luck to you!