The 411 On Using Deep Pour Epoxy Resin for River Tables

When using epoxy resins for resurfacing things around the house, you may find that you can use it for several different projects. From kitchen countertops, bathroom counters, or tabletops, you can add a layer of resin to give a fresh new shine to an older surface and add a layer of protection for the material. However, coating epoxy isn't always the best option to use for certain household projects.

With several major differences between these options, each one has its advantages and disadvantages. The intended use is one of the biggest ways that these choices differ. With epoxy resin being used for coating surfaces, and casting resin being used for casting molds, figurines, and jewelry.

Deep pour epoxy, or casting resin, has different properties that make it a better choice for some projects, like making river tables. With the thicker pour and the slower cure times, this makes casting resin a great option for making these tables.

Epoxy Resin Vs. Casting Resin For River Tables

Besides the difference in intended use, these resins differ because of two major reasons: the thickness you can pour and the cure times. When it comes to the thickness of both of these resins, the deep pour epoxies offer a thicker pour that will cover a lot of surface and volume for larger areas of coverage, which makes them the preferred product to use for river tables.

Coating resins are different because they only allow a thinner pour that doesn’t offer the same amount of coverage of an area, but will allow for multiple layers of resin. This option works better for resurfacing because of the thin nature of the mixture so that you can add a layer of shine to refresh the look of the surface without adding much resin over it. When using table top epoxy for river tables, you will likely need to apply multiple applications to build up your desired thickness. This means also trying to get each batch of epoxy mixed the same color so that you don't see variations of coloring in each layer. 

To sum it up, both products can be used for river tables and will still achieve the same outcome. Many still prefer to use table top epoxy because it is often less expensive of a product. But its important to also remember that time is money so its something to consider when estimating jobs for river tables. Deep pour resin, on the other hand, can be used for one single pour of your river.

How to Make a River Table

River tables are made from large pieces of flat wood using deep pour resin to create a solid surface that is clear (or colored with pigment) and shows the grain of the wood.

To begin this project, you want to choose a piece of wood to use. This piece can be whatever type you would like, but getting a flat piece that has an interesting wood grain to it will make the finished project that much nicer. Live edges are increasingly popular for the character that they bring to the table. Then, you will want to cut the wood in half so that you can use both sides to create the river between them.

Next, you will begin to prepare your mold by making barriers to keep the resin in place. This is done by using a mdf or chipboard under the wood for a base, and a seaming tape to these barriers to ensure that they won't allow the resin to seep through cracks or gaps. 

Next, you will want to apply a seal coat to help minimize bubbles from appearing in your flood coat. It is best to use a table top epoxy to fill in any cracks or holes and seal the wood from releasing air into the epoxy. Leave the resin to cure for the full amount of time, then sand the area down so that it is even, if necessary. We always suggest scuffing the surface lightly with 320-grit so that the epoxy can properly adhere to the surface. Clean the surface thoroughly after sanding with Isopropyl Alcohol 99%.

Next, you will mix the resin. This is done by using the ratio that is recommended on the bottle of resin that you purchase, typically 2:1. It is critical that each part is measured accurately otherwise, you could encounter curing issues. You will thoroughly mix the liquid until it is no longer cloudy, and then add your pigment if you are coloring the epoxy. Mix again thoroughly and then you are ready to pour. Double check the maximum recommended thickness for the product you are using. If you pour too thick, you could encounter an accelerated reaction, which could lead to heating up, smoking, yellowing, etc.

Once the river is filled, you will likely need to run a heat source (i.e. industrial torch, heat gun) over the top to eliminate small bubbles. The bubbles should be minimal, assuming you applied a seal coat. Once bubbles are removed, you can leave the deep pour resin to cure fully. Again, this can take up to 72 hours depending on the product and room temperature.

After the full cure time, you can check to ensure that the resin is solid, then you can remove the barriers and the base. With the table on its own, you can seal the wood with oil for a more natural look, or apply table top epoxy for a high gloss shine.

Conclusion

Knowing the difference between coating epoxy and casting resin can help you choose the right option for the project that you are working on. Thick pour epoxy has many uses and is a great choice for making a river table. So, if you want a river table to be your next household project, then use these instructions and casting resin to create a new table for your home.