When it comes to making an epoxy table, the first step is making sure you have all the necessary items to finish the job. There is nothing more frustrating than setting aside time for a project and being unable to finish as anticipated.
The tools that are most necessary for making an epoxy table are:
- A Circular Saw (and Track)
- A Random Orbital Sander
- Chisels or a Draw Knife
- Mixing Supplies
- A Planer or Router and Jig
- A Heat Gun or Small Blow Torch
- A Drill
- Large Clamps
If you want more information on each of these tools and the ways in which they can be helpful, I have outlined that for you below!
1 — A Circular Saw (and Track)
Circular saws are a staple of any home workshop, but even more so when you are making an epoxy resin table. These nifty tools are used for all stages of the process. When I am making an epoxy table, I tend to use the saw for 2-3 crucial aspects of the project.
The first way I use the saw is building the mold, I use the saw (and track) for cutting all the edges straight and square. The next way I utilize the saw is for cutting the wood I am using – this is primarily for river tables, but often I have to cut other pieces to the right shape or just get them to fit the mold properly. The final way that I almost always need a saw and track for is getting the edges of the table flat and square.
When purchasing a circular saw, you should try to get one that is fairly large. A 7-¼” is a great diameter for the blade as it will get through most table thicknesses. I am personally a fan of the Ryobi P508 — but any (ideally cordless) variation will work fine. For a track, you can get whatever track best fits your needs and budget. The Kreg KMA2700 is a great way to go, but you could also just get a guide clamp for a more affordable option.
2 — A Random Orbital Sander
Anyone who has done woodworking would concur that a random orbital sander is an absolute must. When I first switched from a cheap, square sander to a random orbital my sanding life improved tenfold.
Sanders are vital because they are used a couple of times through the process, but are also a crucial step. The first time you sand will be when prepping the wood, making sure it is all smooth and ready to pour. The main sanding session, however, will come once your table is near completion. After pouring, waiting, and planing you will be at a spot where you need to smooth out the table and prepare it for the polish or flood coat.
A good random orbital sander will be fairly large but not too large for the smaller jobs. I personally tend to use a Ryobi 5” sander, but have a couple other sizes and shapes of sanders for the edges. If you are really serious about the sanding and polishing, I urge you to check out this article about polishing epoxy resin, it will drastically improve the way your resin looks after a job.
3 — Chisels or a Draw Knife
While this is not always a necessary tool, I have definitely found myself using a draw knife on many occasions. A chisel can often work in place, but for large jobs will be more tedious and won’t always leave as nice of an edge.
The main use for a draw knife or chisel is to remove the bark from any live edge. When the bark is inside knots, a chisel is the best way to go. However when the bark is along the edge (most common), I like to use a draw knife to take it off quickly and smoothly.
I recommend just any affordable draw knife. I like the ones where the handles are at an angle from the blade, but that is a preference so choose the one that fits your style best. If you want to get a chisel set for any more tough pieces of bark or small areas and knots that need it, I recommend getting a chisel set for multiple sizing options. No need to get the most expensive or nice chisels for this, it is a small part of the project and should not take a lot of detailed craftsmanship to handle.
4 — Mixing Supplies
Something I tend to forget more often than now when pouring an epoxy table is making sure I have a stock of the mixing supplies. For small pours a plastic cup and chopstick or plastic knife is fine, but for larger pours you want to make sure you have the proper equipment.
I recommend having a mixer that attaches to a drill, as well as multiple paint buckets of different sizes so you can get the right amount of epoxy poured. If you want to get it all at once and not worry for at least a couple of projects, you can find paint-mixing kits that include buckets and mixers.
5 — Planer or Router and Jig
While a planer can be incredibly useful, they are hard to find in sizes that are conducive to large epoxy tables. For this reason, and for cost effectiveness, I suggest making a jig for a router that can plane for you.
For this project, you will need a router, a proper router bit, and a jig. For a router, you can get just about anything. I suggest a Ryobi R163K or a DEWALT router. When it comes to a router bit, you will want a bit that is made for planing down larger surfaces. Make sure to plane slowly and only a little bit of depth at a time as epoxy is prone to chipping.
6 — A Heat Gun or Small Blow Torch
When it comes to pouring epoxy tables, one of the most satisfying parts can be using a small torch or heat gun to release the bubbles as they surface.
I suggest using a small Bernzomatic torch which you can get refills to at any hardware store. While that is what I use, you can also using a cooking blow torch, or a heat gun and get similar results. With a heat gun you will want to make sure that you keep it on a low setting to avoid moving the epoxy around too much after it has begun to set.
7 — A Drill
Another staple of any home workshop is a drill. You will likely use this for constructing the mold, as well as putting table lets on the table at the end. While it is not the most intensely used tool during this job, it is important to get a drill that is capable of drilling into hardwoods and epoxy resin. If you are already committed to a brand that you have tools for, go with that. If you have been following along this post and want your tools to match, get a Ryobi drill to keep up with your cordless power tool collection.
8 — Large Clamps
Large clamps can be used all over a project. They can be used for holding together parts of the mold, or they can be used for holding down the wood so it doesn’t float in the epoxy. Whatever you end up needing them for, clamps are an incredibly helpful thing to have around when constructing an epoxy table. I suggest having multiple sizes of quick bar clamps ready to use for anything that comes up during this project.