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Epoxy or not?

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Forum topic by Oldschoolguy posted 12-29-2019 06:57 PM 424 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Oldschoolguy

108 posts in 691 days


12-29-2019 06:57 PM

Hi y’all, I have an oval piece of live edge maple that I’m making a table for my wife. She is dead set to epoxy the entire top. I have a couple of questions or suggestions answered first. One, would it be feasible to do that? Second is should I finish the legs with epoxy too or use something else. Third, there are a couple of cracks, about 1 inch long in the top and underside. Would I insert a bow tie in those or would the epoxy hold them together? I’ve never put a finish on anything before, so please guide me. Looking for tips, suggestions, name brands of finishes or any thing else that might be relevant. Thanks and highly appreciated.


7 replies so far

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John Smith

2687 posts in 1017 days


#1 posted 12-29-2019 08:10 PM

how big is the slab and what will the table mainly be used for ?
(and all the other questions about the history of the slab)

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-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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Oldschoolguy

108 posts in 691 days


#2 posted 12-29-2019 08:33 PM

Hey John, the diameter of the table is about 20” x about 3/4 to one inch thick with bark still intact on the outside. I guess that is why they call it live edge? She is going to use it as a T.V table. We purchased it from NC Hardwoods Store. Additionally, I didn’t think to ask the age of it. Also, we have central air and heat produced from a heat pump. As in Florida, humidity is high for most of the year. However, I have a dehumidifier for when the air gets “sticky”. Thanks for asking and that is basically all that I am aware of concerning the wood.

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wildwoodbybrianjohns

1993 posts in 402 days


#3 posted 12-29-2019 10:32 PM

There is a learning curve with epoxy pours, and with no prior experience they can easily turn into a nightmare. There are many variables to take into account. Is the slab perfectly flat? Whats the moisture content? Is it gonna move/shrink any after the pour is done? Will you do a seal-coat first, to prevent air-bubbles? Do you have a torch or heat-gun to remove air-bubbles if they appear? And so on.

You might get 10 or 20 members here commenting, and they will give you all sorts of info on how to, and how not to. If you are unfamiliar with the terminology, alot of that commentary isnt gonna make a whole lot sense.

I would suggest you google: epoxy pours, slabs, youtube; and watch a bunch of them. It will be beneficial to have visuals to go along with how-to commentary. Then, do a test pour or three on stock you dont care about to get some experience before you move onto finishing a project you do care about. A foam brush is very good for floating the egde of a slab or other smooth surfaces, but if you intend to keep the bark then maybe a throwaway brush is better.

Lastly, doing a pour on an horizontal surface is one thing; and that top needs to be dead-on level when the epoxy is put down, or it will all flow to the low point, pool over the edge, and puddle on the floor. Epoxying the vertical legs of a table is quite another thing, as most of the epoxy you would apply will run, and again, end up on the floor around your table.

If you do a L.J. site-search for epoxy pours/questions, I am sure you will find a number of threads on the topic.

Hope that helps, and good luck.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

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John Smith

2687 posts in 1017 days


#4 posted 12-30-2019 03:43 AM

Floyd, tell your bride that epoxy is a soft finish. anything that has weight,
such as a large vase, lamp or television set will eventually sink into the finish
and it will be ruined.
there are many hard furniture and floor finishes that would be better suited
for a table top than epoxy.
you can fill the cracks with epoxy after you put the bow tie pieces in.
check the ole YouTube – there are many videos on how to do both bow ties and epoxy
fills in cracks.
personally, I am not a fan of epoxy on any kind of residential furniture.
in my world, only BBQ joints have tables with epoxy.
best of luck in your project !!

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-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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John Smith

2687 posts in 1017 days


#5 posted 12-30-2019 12:58 PM

what you have is a 1” thick “cookie” slice from a tree.
that thickness is not the most desirable for a table project. cookie slices that thin
have the potential to be haunted by movement and splitting for years to come.
you have a lot of work to do before you get to the final finishing part, so put that
in your back pocket for the time being.
focus on getting it flat and looking pretty and do the bow ties and fill the cracks
with epoxy as you indicated. the bow tie will be the mechanical holding force
in the cracks – not the epoxy itself. after all that is done, figure out what kind of base
or legs will be supporting it. this process will be allowing the wood to become acclimated
to your home environment and hopefully stabilize any further movement issues.
as for leaving the bark on, that is also a controversial and sometimes passionate subject.
if you really want to keep it on, do it – and just address any parts coming loose in the future
as they occur. I have seen bark stay on for years – and also bark that fell off in 30 days.
your project = your call.

The Hardwood Store of NC carries a large variety of wood products. do you know exactly
which species of wood you purchased from them ?

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-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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Oldschoolguy

108 posts in 691 days


#6 posted 12-30-2019 02:10 PM

John, the species is hard maple and for the legs she chose soft maple.

View LesB's profile (online now)

LesB

2606 posts in 4297 days


#7 posted 12-30-2019 06:09 PM

I’m with John. First allow the slab to stabilize for a couple of weeks.

I too do not like epoxy finishes. For someone inexperienced in finishes I would strongly suggest using a water based Poly floor finish, about 4 coats. Very durable, I have used it on on both stairs and table tops with great results. Sand between coats with 320 sand paper and after the final coat cures for a few days you can buff it with a white 3M pad and carnauba paste wax for a glass smooth finish.

The cracks, you said they were about 1” long but not how wide. Narrow cracks can be difficult to fill with epoxy and it is quite messy. I like to fill cracks that are under 1/4” wide using fine sawdust and CA glue. You can collect color matched sawdust by sanding with a belt sander or orbital sander that has a collection bag attached. Pack the crack as full as you can with the sawdust then put THIN CA glue on the sawdust followed “immediately” with MEDIUM or THICK CA glue until it will take no more and forms a raised surface. The thin CA acts as a wicking agent for the thicker glue so it will penetrate. After it cures, which could be hours depending on the depth of the crack, sand level. if the crack is deep you can do this in a couple of stages. Sometimes the glue will heat up and give off fumes be careful not to inhale them. You can also spray the surface with a CA glue accelerant to form a quick top seal but it will still take time for the interior to cure.

-- Les B, Oregon

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