Making Wood Epoxy River Placemats!

Woodworking

YouTube: Making Wood Epoxy River Placemats

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted any new videos, and I’m quite excited about this one! I came up with the original idea of making a “river table style” placemat out of wood, and I’m hoping some of you all can make your own at home by following along. I wasn’t sure if this would work out — the wood is pretty thin at about 0.200 to 0.250”, or roughly a bit under 1/4”, but it has proved to be quite durable. I’ve been testing out my original set of placemats for a few months now, and they are holding up really well. Any water or food spilled on them is incredibly easy to cleanup. The conversion varnish is so durable and waterproof, and helps prevent the epoxy from getting all beat up. I’ve made three sets of 4 placemats, so at this time I have quite a bit of experience in making them.

Materials Used

  • Tuck Tape – for make sure the mold doesn’t stick
  • Caulking – for making sure epoxy doesn’t leak out
  • Quick epoxy – for sealing the wood, preventing bubbles, and gluing the piece down
  • Casting epoxy – for the color pour
  • Mica pigment (black onyx) – a few scoops of the small packet is plenty
  • Mica pigment (large container) – in case you make a ton of stuff or are doing a really large pour
  • Conversion varnish – two part finish that is very clear and very durable; I use “satin”
  • Catalyst – required activator for the finish – you can sometimes find these elsewhere with the catalyst included 
  • Wood: I used California black oak, some of which was spalted a bit. Any live-edge wood would look great, but I would avoid soft woods.

Tools Used

Some other notes: I spray three coats of finish on each side. If first did all three coats on the bottom side. This caused the thin wood to curve downwards; the wet spray on the top expanded the top side of the wood and made it bow. I stacked the pieces on top of each other and weighted them down a bit overnight to remove most the bow. After I sprayed the top it made them a lot more stable (it also, again, made them bow a bit).

The epoxy takes a full 30 days to fully cure; be careful with the pieces until then and don’t stress them or leave heavy objects on them. The finish takes about a week to fully cure. I think I wanted about three days before I started using mine.

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Photography: Lahaina Pano
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[…] Feel free to copy this idea! I posted materials and a how-to video on my blog: Making Epoxy River Placemats […]

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[…] durable. I’ve used it for some tops, such as my black river bar top and epoxy river placemats. It will show scratches after a while due to dragging stuff over […]

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