8 Best Epoxy Resin For River Tables: Reviews & Comparisons

So, you were on vacation and saw something you just could not live without. It was a mix of furniture and art that someone referenced as a river table.  

Now it’s time to build your own; the wood part seems easy enough, but what epoxy do you use for the "river" portion? Let’s take a look the best epoxy resin for river tables to make sure you get the best epoxy for your wooden DIY project. 

What Are River Tables?  

River tables have become a very expressive form of furniture for everything from restaurants to business offices. They are made from a combination of live edge wood slabs and epoxy resin. The middle of the table is filled with epoxy resin so that it looks like a river is flowing through it.  

What makes these tables interesting is the intricate detail and individuality of these tables. No two are the same, which makes them captivating and rather valuable. River tables become a conversation piece which makes them a great addition to a bar, restaurant, or office setting.  

River Tables

What To Look For When Buying Epoxy Resin For River Tables 

Making a river table is not easy. If it were, they would not be so expensive. Details matter, and the major detail is the epoxy resin you will want to use to get the results you are looking for.

There is no magic bullet here either. Each table is different and will require a specific epoxy resin. Below is a list of universal factors that will help you get started in this decision-making process.  

Container Size  

Measuring is everything when it comes to resin. Epoxy is quite expensive, so if you mix too much, you are throwing money away. What becomes worse is not mixing enough, which causes you to have to replicate the same mixture in a smaller portion, which never works the same.

Make sure you measure correctly and use the appropriate containers that have measurement hash marks that are clearly labeled on the sides. These may cost a bit more but are worth it in the end.  

Water Resistance 

For a river table to look perfect for its entire lifetime, you will want it to be waterproof. Some epoxy resin products are not going to check this box. The last thing you want is to finish a beautiful river table, only to have someone ruin it with a drink ring from not using a coaster.

Waterproofing should be one of your top priorities when choosing your resin. It can be tricky; waterproof or water-resistant epoxy may not have to be used throughout the entire project; it could just end up being your top layer. The waterproof epoxy may only have to act like a shell to the rest of your project.  

Resistance to UV Rays 

The ability to block UV rays will also be important when considering which epoxy will be the right choice for a river table. To keep your river table from developing clouds or fading, you will need to be sure you purchase a UV-resistant material.

This is not only important for the river section of the table, but also the wood that is used for the table as well. Not protecting the wood from UV rays could end up giving you sun-faded boards that will make your table look old and unprofessional.  

Toughness 

River tables attract a lot of attention. This means that people touch them, set drinks on them; they may even be used as a table that food is served on. This means making a tough table is a crucial factor in longevity.

Not all epoxy will make your table durable. This, similar to the water-resistance factor, could mean that you need to create a type of shell for your river table. A harder shell could also prevent dents and dings in the table.  

Gloss Level 

The shine and gloss level of your river table will be an entirely personal preference. If you are building a river table for a customer, it will need to match their expectations. Epoxy has different gloss levels based on mixture and the general variety of finish you chose to purchase.

While you can sometimes find a low gloss epoxy finish, you will find a high gloss finish more often than not. This is because high gloss finishes are usually harder to damage and easier to clean.  

Self-Leveling Ability 

The majority of epoxy varieties are going to be self-leveling. This means that the epoxy resin will form in a level orientation similar to a liquid. It is very important to level your mold before starting your project so that the epoxy resin hardens and cures evenly on your river table.

You will also want to make sure that you add the correct amount when you pour your epoxy. You will need the epoxy to self-level flush with the slab wood so that you do not have to do a ton of router or planning work after the epoxy cures. More about that later.  

Drying and Curing Time 

Time moves slowly with epoxy. You will have plenty of working time once the epoxy is mixed because it does not fully cure for hours. If you are using spot treatment epoxy to fill bug holes or imperfections, you may use a 2 part epoxy resin that cures within a few minutes, but generally, pourable epoxy resin takes hours to start hardening.

Curing takes much longer. Based on the directions provided with your epoxy, curing, which is hardening completely, will take from 24-72 hours based on the thickness of the void you filled with the pour.  

Ease of Application 

Epoxy itself is quite easy to pour. As long as you take your time and have the correct tools, the actual pour is simple. What does take the most skill and time is the preparation work. Making a mold takes time and materials.

It needs to be perfect for the river table to come out perfect. The mixing takes a lot of attention to detail and usually 5 minutes of mixing. After you pour the epoxy, you will need to remove bubbles with a heat gun or torch, usually pouring and heating in multiple layers.

Next, stirring the liquid epoxy that has been applied to the table will take some time and skill to get the desired finish.  


8 Best Epoxy Resins For River Tables Reviewed  

1. Craft Resin Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin

Our Top Pick

Sizes Available 

34oz, 68oz, 4L, 8L 

Max Pour Depth 

¼” 

Demould Time 

72 Hrs 

Cure Time 

10 Days 

This is our number one choice for a few reasons. The first is that the kit is super easy to use. The mixing ratio is 1:1, which eliminates any confusion or math when it comes to measuring out the proper quantity of material.  

The next reason that the Craft Resin is number one on our list is the packaging. Every order comes in a kit that includes both resin and hardener with clearly labeled directions and usages for the product. There are even gloves and a stirring stick included with the kit. 

Finally, the Craft Resin Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin has a fast setup time and works perfectly for multiple applications. It pours in ¼” layers, so there are plenty of opportunities to remove imperfections and bubbles between layer applications on a river table project. The resin also hardens clear with no haze or fog, making it great for adding lighting or color accents to the project.  

Pros

  • Crystal clear 
  • Low amount of bubbles 
  • Quick Initial dry time 

Cons

  • Low max pour depth 
  • Designed for small projects 

2. Epox-It 80 Clear Epoxy Resin

Best Budget Option

Sizes Available 

10 gal, 2gal, 1gal, 64 oz,32oz,16oz 

Max Pour Depth 

¼” 

Demould Time 

24 Hrs 

Cure Time 

10 Days 

The best bang for the buck when it comes to an epoxy resin choice when building your own DIY River table is the Epox-it 80. This product has tons of great reviews, and it is for good reason. The clear epoxy resin is designed for DIY applications that are not limited to woodworking or river tables, but it does work perfectly for these projects.  

Because this product is sold in large quantities, users can build an entire river table with a single order. Easy 1:1 mixing ratios eliminate guesswork and scales for mixing the proper amounts of resin as well. The Epox-it 80 is easy to pour. It has a short demould time and is clear once hardened. 

The best attribute of this material is that it is resistant to water, UV rays, and scratches. It will not require an additional hard coat on the surface. That makes for a durable and long-lasting river table.  

Pros

  • UV-Resistant 
  • Scratch-Resistant 
  • Water-Resistant 

Cons

  • Short working time
  • Poor customer service 

3. Incredible Solutions DEEP Pourable Plastic Casting Resin

Best Deep Pour

Sizes Available 

2qt, .75gal,1gal, 1.5gal,3gal 

Max Pour Depth 

¼”-2” 

Demould Time 

18-24 Hrs 

Cure Time 

2 weeks 

Deep pour resins are the best choice for building a large DIY river table. Using a thick slab of wood typically requires multiple pours of epoxy, which can lead to numerous opportunities for mistakes and imperfections. This pourable plastic resin can be applied in up to 2” depths, which cuts mistakes and drying times in half.  

With a 2:1 mixture, the deep pour epoxy resin is a bit tougher to work with. It also cures slowly, which means it may harden and look dry soon after the working period, but can not be finished and used until a few weeks after the table build. You always want to be sure that your materials are completely cured before seeing any live-action.  

Another benefit to using the Incredible Solutions Deep Pourable Plastic Casting Resin is that it is unaffected by any heat, water, UV, scratches, or staining. Again, no additional hard coats necessary with the use of this product. 

Pros

  • Imperfection resistant 
  • Multiple sizes available 
  • Deep pour 

Cons

  • Expensive 
  • Long cure time 

4. TotalBoat Thickset Deep Pour Epoxy

Value For Money 

Sizes Available 

1.3qt,1.3gal,4gal,8gal 

Max Pour Depth 

2” 

Demould Time 

12-24 hrs 

Cure Time 

10 days 

The TotalBoat Deep Pour Epoxy kit is what I see most when researching river table epoxy DIY builds. This option is a bit more challenging to work with because it has a more complex mixing procedure and takes a bit more time to cure than some of the other options we have discussed. 

It does have one of the best reputations in the industry, and the product is used for tons of other projects by professionals and do it yourself craftsmen. The TotalBoat brand has an excellent reputation for offering a variety of products at great price points. 

Being a deep pour epoxy, this is another instance where the material can be applied all at once, eliminating the variables of introducing dust or imperfections between pours. Another benefit to using a product from Totalboat is the great customer service. If you run across a problem or concern, the company has a telephone or virtual connect option to solve it.  

Pros

  • Great reputation 
  • Multiuse  
  • Durable 

Cons

  • Requires experience 
  • Bubbles need to be heated out 

5. FGCI Superclear Epoxy Resin

High Gloss Finish 

Sizes Available 

.75gal, 1gal, 1.5gal, 2gal, 3gal 

Max Pour Depth 

¼” 

Demould Time 

12-14 hrs 

Cure Time 

24 hrs 

This epoxy resin is industry-specific. It was designed and formulated specifically for wood slabs and river tables. It is also designed more for professionals than DIY crafters, so it may end up being a bit tougher to use than some of the other general-purpose products that we have gone over.  

The finish of the Superclear Epoxy Resin is the calling card of this product. While others give a clear or high gloss finish, this FGCI variant gives a mirrored clear finish. If you are a seasoned professional with a few river table builds under your belt, the time may have come to try using this epoxy resin.  

Durability is still achievable with this material, and it has a very high UV resistance level. We have also discussed customer service in this guide, and FGCI is no slouch in this area. The included directions are very specific, and the website gives a bunch of tips and trick examples so that users can be confident in applying their product.  

Pros

  • Engineered for river tables 
  • Best finish 
  • Great customer support 

Cons

  • Tough to apply 
  • Expensive 

6. MAS Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin Kit

Best Complete Resin Kit 

Sizes Available 

1gal 

Max Pour Depth 

¼”-⅜” 

Demould Time 

30 min 

Cure Time 

24 hrs 

This is another professional-grade epoxy resin, but the difference is that the kit is designed specifically for the DIY individual. You will not need prior knowledge of tools to buy and use this MAS Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin Kit for your next project. 

While the material is not specifically designed for use with river tables, the MAS website is littered with images and descriptions of product reviews on use with river table builds. The epoxy creates a clear gloss finish that looks great and holds up for a very long time.  

The instructional videos for this product are probably the best selling feature, as they do not only show you how to unbox and mix the product but apply it to your project properly as well.  

This product is not as durable as some others we have discussed. Adding a topcoat of a harder, more durable epoxy would be something I would suggest. 

Pros

  • Great finish 
  • Easy to use 
  • Great customer service 

Cons

  • Low durability 
  • Potential for yellowing if not colored  

7. NAKED FUSION Epoxy Resin Deep Pour Crystal Clear

Non Toxic Epoxy Resin

Sizes Available 

.5gal, 1gal, 1.5 gal 

Max Pour Depth 

2” 

Demould Time 

48 hrs 

Cure Time 

72 hrs 

The Naked Fusion Deep Pour is a unique material in the industry. Traditionally, the strong chemical smell and off-gassing of epoxy as it hardens have been the norm. Wearing protective gloves and masks was a mandatory step to ensure users did not breathe in these gasses, which could be harmful in minimal quantities. This is not the case with the Naked Fusion epoxy. 

The chemists of this epoxy have extensive resin knowledge, which has led them to develop a high-quality material that does not off-gas toxic fumes. This is great when working with large amounts of epoxy resin but also makes this product a nice alternative when doing smaller craft projects inside the home or workshop.  

This product is just as durable as the other resin we have discussed and is capable of being poured in depths as much as 2 inches without excessive bubbles or imperfections. For the environmentally-conscious DIY project, the Naked Fusion Deep Pour Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin would be my choice.  

Pros

  • No voc’s 
  • High-quality finish 
  • Ultra clear when cured 

Cons

  • Can not use oil based colors 
  • Bubbles need to be heated to remove 

8. LEDLampsWorld 16 Ounce Clear Epoxy Resin Kit

Best For Beginners 

Sizes Available 

16oz 

Max Pour Depth 

¼” 

Demould Time 

24 hrs 

Cure Time 

72 hrs 

If you are going to tackle your first ever epoxy resin DIY craft, you will want to start with a kit that includes everything you need to get started. Look no further than the LEDLampsWorld Clear Epoxy Resin Kit. This epoxy has unbelievably great results for being such an entry-level product. Because the kit comes with material, tools, and instructions, it will be hard to mess up your first project.  

The quantity is quite small, so keep that in mind when brainstorming ideas of what size project you are looking to get into. This kit would be the perfect buy for sample size or model of an eventually larger project, where you were working out quantities of desired finishes.  

For a product with this price point and the almost non-existent negative reviews, purchasing the LEDLampsWorld Kit would be a great gift idea for anyone that was even slightly interested in crafts. Their experience would most likely be pleasant, and the results would be a beautiful, durable work of art.  

Pros

  • Easy to use 
  • Everything included in kit 
  • Great finish 

Cons

  • Low volume applications 
  • Designed for small projects 

How To Create A River Table (The Easy Way) 

Building your DIY river table can be broken down into a few steps that need to be taken over a few days to complete. Gathering some tools and materials will be the first step.  

Gathering Tools and Materials 

  • Chose Lumber - Choosing the lumber for your slab will be mostly personal preference based on the look you are aiming to create. Be sure to choose a hardwood slab that is fully dried and seasoned. This ensures that the wood will not decay, warp, or bow over time. The best choice, in my opinion, is White Oak.  
  • Building The Form - Because the epoxy resin is a liquid without a water-tight form, the epoxy will run out of the mold and spill. For building a form, use a polypropylene sheet that is wider than the desired table size. Cut strips of the sheet to form the mold walls and use hot glue or caulk to create the water-tight basin for the project to be formed in.  
  • Tools - We discussed the importance of mixing bowls and cups needed for your river table project. Some other tools will be a sander to flatten the table, some clamps to keep the wood from floating on the first pour of epoxy resin, and some plastic squeegee cards to help push resin to areas where the pour left too little or too much resin. Also, a heat gun to remove bubbles 
  • Epoxy Resin - This article should have provided you with enough information so that you can choose a resin that will work for your project. There will be multiple pours, so I would suggest mixing up a large batch and pouring from that each time to ensure consistency. Be sure to decide on tinting or coloring your epoxy before you start.  

Build Steps 

Wood Preparation 

Now that you have your materials and tools, it is time to start your table. The first step will be to flatten the wood slab. This will make all of the other steps easier.

Once the wood is flat, cut the center line down the slab with a table saw. This line has to be perfect because it will be the perimeter of your table once completed. 

Mold Setup 

Next, you will want to build your mold. Now that the wood has been cut, flip the live edge sides toward one another and place your mold sides on the desired width of your target table width. Clamp the wood down and glue up your mold edges.

Once the edges are in place, remove the wood and use your glue to fill all voids in the mold to create a water-tight environment for your table.  

Fill in Gaps 

Once your mold is complete, you will want to mix up your epoxy resin. Place the wood into your mold and clean with a vacuum. The epoxy can then be poured into any voids or crack in the wood slabs.

This will allow the voids to be eliminated before the main pour of epoxy resin. At this time, you should also brush the live edges with resin. Note: the bark should be completely removed before any other wood preparation. Let this pour of resin cure for 48 hours. 

Main Pours 

When the initial pour has cured, it will be time to start the main pours. You will first pour a light film of epoxy, approximately 2 millimeters deep across the entire bottom of the form. Clamp your wood into its final orientation within the mold and initial pour.

This step will provide the epoxy coating to the bottom side of your table and give the next pour and even base to be applied to. It should fill the bottom of the river void just slightly. 

After the initial pour has been set overnight, it will be time to pour that first river stage. Apply the epoxy resin until about half of the river void is filled. Use a heat gun to massage air bubbles out of the resin and let this pour cure overnight. 

You do not want to let this layer cure to its full hardness before pouring the second half. If you let this pour cure completely, the entire surface would need to be sanded before the next pour.  

The first river pour has now sat overnight, and we are ready for the second river pour. Apply the epoxy to the river void until the entire river section is full. The curing process will shrink the epoxy a small amount, so be sure to pour flush with the top of your wood.

This pour will again need the air bubbles removed and left to cure. Since the river is now full, you can either apply the epoxy resin across the top of your wood, if you do not plan to use a topcoat or wait if you do plan to use a topcoat. 

Topcoat 

A topcoat of epoxy resin can be applied to the surface of the table once the river section has cured completely, which could take up to 72 hours. After the topcoat is applied and cured, it should be sanded to remove any high spots, low spots, or imperfections. 

Buffing 

When the entire tabletop has been cured and sanded, polishing can take place. Because you sanded the table with a low grit to high grit sanding strategy, you will have an almost perfectly flat surface to work with.

You can now buff that surface using a plastic or epoxy-specific rubbing compound and a buffing machine. This will be the final step in the river table finishing stage.  

Best Epoxy Resin For River Table
Final Touches 

Once the tabletop has reached the desired finish, adding legs and braces will differ based on personal preference. It will be safe to drill or screw fasteners into the table bottom at this point.

An extra level of insurance against warping can be achieved during this stage by routering out a few thin sections of the river table's underside, which can then be filled with metal bracing. This is not necessary but should be added if the table will be used commercially.  


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How much epoxy resin (in gallons) do I need for a river table? 

Depending on the length and thickness of the table you plan to create, the amount of epoxy resin will change. The average will probably be around 5 gallons when all is said and done. This material will not all be poured into the center of the table at once, which is why it is important to use the proper measuring and pouring buckets or cups.  


How thick should a river table be? 

Most river tables should be roughly 2-4 inches thick. This provides the proper aesthetics without being too large. A thinner table will not give the correct look of the river portion of the table, which is the entire reason for taking on a project like this.  


How much does it cost to make a resin river table? 

River tables are expensive. The cost of your table will depend on a myriad of factors which includes tools, resin, the wood slab, the form, and the labor. You may even want to enlist a helper if the project is large. I would tell you to budget a minimum of $500 to get started.  


Does resin scratch easily? 

Resin does scratch fairly easily. This is why you need to be sure and use a top coat of epoxy resin that is harder. A topcoat that can withstand scratches and water will lengthen the lifespan of your river table 10 fold.  


Conclusion

Creating your own epoxy resin river table is undoubtedly difficult. It takes a lot of time and research to make sure you will achieve the desired results.

We hope that this guide has shown you that Craft Resin Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin is the best choice as far as materials go. Now, choose the rest of your materials and get started already!  

Comments are closed.
DMCA.com Protection Status