What do I need & How To make a table? Part One.

Let us say you are completely new to resin and the craft of making a table. You may have watched a load of YouTube videos discovering that they all show parts of the process without really getting down to the nitty gritty side of things? My advice would be to start off with small projects and work up from there as we have helped others achieve their goals in this way with a few of them moving onto bigger projects that they have sold, making a substantial amount of money.

In the following sections I will focus on the key areas with an explanation about each section and the importance of each stage so you can limit the amount of mistakes you will make. Mistakes are not a bad thing as we all learn by them and we have all made them as we gain knowledge and skills to master this craft.

Wood Choice and Facts

Whether you are making a serving platter chopping board or a coffee or dining table you will start off with the purchase of your wood. All timber dries to the optimum for crafting over a number of years from the time the timber has been cut into slabs or cookies.

Slabs of timber are cut longways with the grain and cookies are cross cuts of the grain like the rounds of the tree. Slabs of timber generally dry at a rate of 25mm per year air dry outside and cookies dry 15 times faster than long grain cut slabs. If you have a slab of say Macrocarpa or Swamp Kauri for example one may dry slightly faster than the other but the rule of thumb is the same.

Kiln Dry Timber

Here at Resin Wood Tables NZ we have our own kiln where we dry our timber with down to a moisture content of between 8 and 12 percent as that is the optimum for making furnishings. Timber that has been air dried over several years rarely gets below 14 to 18 percent moisture content, so kiln drying speeds up this natural process taking it to a better degree of MC than air drying alone.

If you are local or outside the Canterbury region we can Kiln dry your special piece for you. Just message or email us about this service.

Maximum Moisture Content

At a maximum amount of Moisture in the timber to make anything from platters to tables that are going to be fully encapsulated in resin you do not want the timber to be over 14% MC. Best practice is below this number.

If you are making a project that may be oil finished ideally you will want the timber to be below 10 or 11% MC.

Too much moisture in my wood

If you have too much moisture MC in the wood, it will be prone to bend curl or cupping as we say, and this will not be stopped by having the timber fully encapsulated in resin. Thus, the reason to ensure your timber is as dry as possible. Here at Resin Wood Tables NZ we sell Swamp Kauri, Macrocarpa and Walnut that has all been Kiln dried or we can kiln dry it to order that takes 6 to 8 weeks.

Plane Timber flat

You will need to get your timber planed flat so you have a good base to work from. You can watch YouTube videos that will show you how to make a basic router sled for doing this job or message us for a price for a basic or professional router setup pending on the size you are after.

Do I need a Mold?

You only need to make a mold if you are planning on having a river run through the middle of the slab or making a platter or table that consists of multiple pieces or resin on the outer edges. We make molds that are 600mm x 300mm that you can purchase from our site with a tutorial video in our How To section of how to put them together. The principle is the same if you want to make your own from start to finish or we can make one for you and ship it to you ready to use.

When is a mold not required?

A mold is not required when you are going to router out rivers in the timber that do not go all the way through the timber. If you do this, you just use tape to block off the ends of the timber where the resin comes to. Alternatively, you can cut down the ends of the river 10mm deep on the outer edge to make it look like the resin is solid all the way through the timber where the river is running. This is a much better look.

Seal Coating the Timber

Use our one-to-one Liquid Polymer Glass Sealer that is solvent based to seal the timber with multiple coats until you can no longer see any dry areas on the timber. Do NOT use this to fill voids or deep holes as this has been designed to seal coat all micro holes in the timber that eliminating the timber from releasing air in your topcoats. We recommend that you use our Knot Hole resin for filling voids in the timber and small holes. Ensure that you only us the knot Hole filler in pours up to 10mm deep at a time. For much deeper holes and voids use our Ocean Cast resin that is designed to be poured crystal clear up to 35mm deep at a time.

Pouring a River or Outer edges in a mold

If you have a board or tabletop where you have sections of timber with resin around them or running through the middle of two pieces of timber, you will want to be using our Crystal-Clear Ocean Cast epoxy. This can be poured up to 35mm at a time depending on volumes as the more product you have in the mold at any one time increases the exothermic reaction time of the curing process. The optimum temp for the resin should not exceed 35 degrees Celsius.

If your river is more than 35mm deep simply pour another layer once the first layer has almost cured or has fully cured. If the resin has fully cured give it light sand to create a mechanical bond. But if the resin is still tacky simply pour the next layer over the top. You can create effects here if you are pouring a second layer that is clear and I will discuss this in another How To post about resin effects.

Pouring a Router Shaped River

If you are pouring a river through a piece of timber that has been created using a router chances are it will not exceed 15mm deep. If this is the case, I would recommend using our Finishing Compound or our Knot Hole resin that can be poured to 100mm deep at a time. Both products have a very short working time and are best used with pigments or dyes as this resin has a slight yellowy tinge due to the makeup of the hardener that is used.

Second Planning of Platter Tabletop

Once you have your piece looking how you want it and the resin has had a minimum of 3 days after fully curing take it out of the mold and set it up on the router table again to plane both the top and bottom dead flat. You will more than likely have to do this step as when resin cures it shrinks and pulls on the timber causing the outside edges to curl up a bit.

Once you have planned both the top and the bottom go back and use the sealer to do this process again to ensure that your piece is fully sealed and will not release air causing annoying bubbles in your final coat or coats. This does occur even with us, and we have had decades of experience using epoxies and other resins.

Final Flood Coats

Once you are ready to do your final flood coats ensure that your piece is at room temperature or above 22 degrees Celsius. Ensure that you heat your resin to around room temp before you mix it. We use 2 products for our final coats, and it is entirely up to you at this point.

You can just use the finishing compound by itself, and this is perfect for places that have a high UV protector like filtered light inside a home as well as not being in direct sunlight, especially in New Zealand. If you are going to have your piece in an area of direct sunlight for long periods of time, we Highly advise that you use our extremely High UV High-performance Crystal-Clear Tabletop resin.

Here at Resin Wood Tables NZ, we always use our High UV resin for our final coat on all our tables and bar leaners for the best protection.

Do I Need to Polish the Topcoat

You really only need to use a high grit sandpaper like 600 to 1000 grit if you notice any blemishes with the finishing compound followed by using G3 cutting compound or similar that you can purchase from Repco. Final Polish just use a product called Pledge.

If you go with using our top of the line High UV Crystal Clear Tabletop resin you will not have to do anything apart from waiting for it to fully cure as this resin is the best you can buy with the Ultimate Glass like finish.

Resins All You Need To Know

Make sure you see our Resins Guide All You Need To Know under our How To Section as this will give you a vast amount of info about each resin we have with the positives and negatives as all products are designed for specific purposes.

Need More Help?

If you are using our products and need more help we are here for you. Just message us through our Facebook page, Messenger, Email us or call / Text Paul on 021966387 as I am here to help you get the best results 7 days a week from 8am till 9pm every day.


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