How to Get an Epoxy River Table: Buying v.s. Building


Epoxy river tables have taken over the market – or at least Instagram. Maybe you saw these beautiful pieces and wondered how much they cost, or how to make them. I’m going to go over all the benefits to buying and building these, so you can make the best decision for you.

So should you buy or build an epoxy river table? The answer depends. If you have the money, don’t have the time, or aren’t too handy, buying may be your best option. If you are up for a challenge, have time and tools, it could be well worth showing off your own craftsmanship in such a beautiful piece.

Below I will outline the top reasons for each argument. You can’t really go wrong with either – it’s all about having that perfect table. There are, however, a lot of considerations before going in either direction.

Picking out this important piece for your house will depend on a lot of factors. What type of wood you want, the ratio of epoxy to wood, leg type, size of the project, what tools you have, and more.

I am hoping to give an unbiased review of your options, and hopefully you are able to get the table of your dreams!

Buying Your Epoxy River Table

While both options have a lot to consider, this one allows for more price volatility and options, plus the knowledge of quality work. Although technically you could spend way more or less when building, buying will probably help you make Here are a few things to think about:

Price:

Because many buyers have access to epoxy resin at bulk prices, it can sometimes be cheaper to purchase the table. On the flip side, craftsmanship, size, shipping, and time are going to play into that price – which can significantly increase the price to be outside a normal humans budget.

When looking for a coffee table, it is common to find them in the range of $300-$2,500. This will depend a lot on the creator, the legs, the amount of epoxy, and the size overall. When purchasing a dining room table, you can expect to spend $3,500 minimum on anything decent. Dining tables and conference tables can very easily go up to the sum of over $15,000 depending on the maker, the shipping, and how custom they are.

Availability:

Purchasing a table is always an option – but not always locally. You can find awesome tables on places like Etsy or through custom carriers (such as Black Forrest Wood Co.) and get a unique river table for yourself. I highly suggest having a good idea of what you want ahead of time. Knowing the wood types and colors you want, the finish or gloss on the table, and the size will all be incredibly helpful for making the buying process painless.

That being said, if you aren’t willing to pay custom prices, be prepared to sacrifice on little things you want in order to get the piece you can afford.

Time:

Time-wise, buying will be the best option. You can get a pre-made table to you within a couple weeks at the longest, and often within a week. If you order a custom table, it will obviously be at least a week or two just to make it, and then shipping/installation time.

Extra Thoughts:

If you are able to save up, and pick out your dream pieces, and know the table won’t have any issues along the way, go for it. It is very satisfying to be able to purchase the a dream by saving, and have it come out exactly as desired. If you need it for a new house, an event, or a gift, it may also be worth buying since it will save you a lot of time both in the process and in the finished product.

If you plan on building – make sure to check out my recommended products for this.

Building an Epoxy River Table

Price:

This can be much more affordable, but also more expensive for the same or worse quality. One of the largest problems with building your own is that purchasing everything for it can add up VERY quickly, and if you are getting a single piece, it’s not always worth that extra cost.

However, if you can source wood locally, don’t mind multiple epoxy pours, and have a variety of tools at your disposal – this is without a doubt the cheaper option.

Availability:

Whenever you can make it happen!

Honestly though, it depends on whether you can source things locally, find good deals, and your own abilities. Unlike purchasing a table, the availability of building a river table is on you – and of course the time to acquire the necessary things for it.

Time:

Although this isn’t an easy answer, you should expect a minimum of two weeks to make a river table, and realistically for a working human, a month isn’t a bad timeline to give yourself. It takes a while for the setup, the prep, the pour and cure time, and then all the finishing touches to make it look oh-so-good.

If you need it fast, purchasing is the way to go. If you want to just have a hobby and make it happen, it is definitely worth the experience and satisfaction of making your own piece.

Extra Thoughts:

Building your own river table is a huge commitment. It will take up space in your house or garage, it will be very time consuming, you may mess some things up, and it can be very costly. If you have the money and time, and are a crafty or handy person, definitely give it a shot. Nothing is more satisfying than building your own thing and having a gorgeous finished project to show for it. You will have a new skill, learn a lot, and maybe even be able to make them at a profit in the future.

With all these thoughts now out in the open, you may be having quite a few other thoughts about building your own table. Consider some of these next questions as well if you are thinking this is the route for you.

What Tools are Necessary to Build an Epoxy River Table?

This should be one of your first thoughts when deciding to build an epoxy river table. Even if it wasn’t, I want you to be aware that it is variable and you should definitely think about it. This was one of the biggest surprises to me when I first started this work.

What tools are needed for an epoxy river table? Actually, not too many at a minimum. You’ll need a mold, a sander, a paint bucket and stirring stick, a chisel, and a saw. Despite being able to make it work with the bare minimum, you will probably want to have at least a few other tools. A plainer or router with a sled is a HUGE help when doing this. For my complete thoughts on this, definitely check out my complete post on this.

What Type of Epoxy do I Use for an Epoxy River Table?

Picking the epoxy may be the biggest buy you make for your table. Because of this, you don’t want to cheap out, but also don’t want to overpay for something you don’t need.

So what type of epoxy should you use for a river table? The most popular and widely agreed upon for this are going to be the EcoPoxy Liquid Plastic, and the Chill Ice 2.

Although these are the most popular, there are many other types of epoxy resins to consider and you should do your research before purchasing. Check out my post on top epoxies to have a better idea of why some work better for this than others, and for an in-depth report on those two epoxies.

What Type of Wood Should I Use for My Epoxy River Table?

This deserves a post all to itself, but I will try to summarize here. You probably want a harder wood for this, especially as epoxy dries very hard.

What type of wood is best for your river table? Variations of walnut are the most popular, with maple, oak, mahogany, and cherry coming right behind. This will depend a lot on what color the epoxy and the setting to be, as well as how you want the wood to pop or blend.

In general, do your research, but for a first table, I highly suggest some dark walnut, which is easy to acquire and looks awesome with most colors and epoxies.

Jedediah Arnold

Jedediah has been working with epoxy resin for a couple of years. When he started, he wanted to share everything he learned as he learned it which continues.

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