Epoxied wet slab, salvageable?

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Forum topic by hg1027 posted 12-12-2018 03:26 AM 607 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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42 posts in 2706 days

12-12-2018 03:26 AM

A friend got a slab of cypress from a local sawmill to make into a table for his restaurant. The slab came out great, I made up some legs for it, the sawmill guy slapped some epoxy on, and the restaurant opened. The slab had only been drying for 18 months, and it’s 3 inches thick, so I raised my concern, but the sawyer was convinced it would be fine.

Now, a few weeks later, the wood is starting to (mold? mildew? chickenpox?) under the epoxy. I expect this will get worse until my friend is forced to admit his big beautiful table is now a big blotchy eyesore, and toss the whole thing.

So, can we run this through the planer or sander to get the epoxy off, and let it dry properly in service, and all will be fine? Is it permanently ruined forever? Will I need to bleach it or something else?

If it can be saved, what can we put on it to protect it from spills while it dries? Don’t mind running it through the sander again in a few years to get the spills off and epoxy again, so it doesn’t need to be impermeable.

6 replies so far

View Rich's profile


5134 posts in 1193 days

#1 posted 12-12-2018 05:21 AM

If you can get the finish off then oxalic acid will remove the mold and return the color. That finish will be a problem. It’s awfully hard to sand, and I know from experience that if you run it through the planer the little slivers of epoxy will embed themselves into the rollers and cause slippage. It’s a bear to clean them off too.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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42 posts in 2706 days

#2 posted 12-12-2018 11:59 AM

Any suggestions on what to put on it once the epoxy is off? It will be in use in a casual Italian restaurant, so expect a few spills and slightly careless staff. I’m in about twice a month, so I can certainly do some regular maintenance if needed to keep it looking good.

I’m assuming that some combination of scrapers or possibly grinders with wire wheels will get us most of the way down to wood, then maybe flap discs, then belt sanders, before we send it through a planer or a drum sander.

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1496 posts in 3453 days

#3 posted 12-12-2018 01:57 PM

Might be best to go with a $40 HF electric hand plane to remove the majority of the epoxy before going to abrasives. I would be afraid of digging grooves and gouges with a flap or other grinders. For $40 you could keep it set for light passes and if it’s toast at the end of the job then to me it would be worth it.

If it’s going to go back into service without letting it dry for a couple of years, I can only think to treat it like a cutting board and keep it oiled with mineral oil or one of the block oils with some wax in it. Your friend could put oiling the table onto the servers side work schedule and it could get oiled weekly for awhile. There are several LJ’s that are sawyers and many more that likely have more experience or thoughts for an interim finish than I do, a non-film oil finish is the best I’ve got for my $0.02, it’s a beautiful table and certainly worth some work to get back in service.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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2113 posts in 2011 days

#4 posted 12-12-2018 02:42 PM

If you strip it back down how about having it kiln dried this time?

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150 posts in 1439 days

#5 posted 12-12-2018 04:34 PM

I would try using my router with a slab flattening jig, only because I have one already.

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42 posts in 2706 days

#6 posted 12-12-2018 04:48 PM

Router and power plane are both good ideas, I have both ready to go. Probably going to find a drum sander for a final pass.

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