Epoxy Coffee Table with Walnut Slabs and LEDs

– Hey I'm Caleb with YouCanMakeThisToo and in this video I'm gonna make this coffee table with LEDs underneath.

This table is for a viewer that reached out to commission it after seeing my epoxycharcuterie boards video.

To help keep costs down, I try to come up with a design from things I had in the shop.

With some Photoshop magicI was able to come up with a few concepts andone really struck him.

Now it's time to start cutting.

Using the Photoshop mock-up as a guide, I lay out my cuts and startbreaking down the slabs into the three main pieces of the table.

The large slab had a split that made for a pretty obvious placeto finish splitting it.

Instead of using a planer sled, I thought I'd try a different technique for getting the faces flat and parallel.

Even though these slabsare bigger than my jointer.

It's pretty straightforward.

They just get face jointed until there is a reasonably flat spot.

The long slab was justbarely wider than my jointer and only had a sliverthat was left unjointed.

So I was able to finishit off with a hand plane.

The wider slab thoughneeded a different approach.

I was able to get a largereference area flat on it.

So with the aid of some hot glue, I attached it to a flat board and then started sendingthat through the planer.

This is basically still a planer sled.

But by getting a flatspot at the joiner first that was big enough tosafely support this slab, I don't have to mess withtrying to shim a slab that's all wonky.

Which is always kind of a pain to me.

Once I get the top flat, I go ahead and pop off the slab.

I thought a putty knife was gonna work but when it didn't I switched to a trick my metalworkingbuddy Richard taught me.

Which is just hit it with a hammer.

And you know what? That worked.

Then I flipped it over andsent it through the planer until the side I partially jointed earlier came out flat and parallel to the top.

And off camera I planed theother slabs down as well until all three were the same thickness.

Then I could go getmaterials for the form.

Where are we going? – To Home Depot.

– [Caleb] Where do you wanna go? – To Home Depot.

– [Caleb] Are you excited? – Yeah.

– [Caleb] So my Home Depotdoesn't carry 3/4 inch melamine and here's my options.

So normally I like tobuy the full size sheets 'cause it's a lot cheaper and cut it down.

But since it's all wet, MDF probably wouldn'tdo so hot back there.

So it kinda worked out.

While I was in Home Depotevaluating my choices, I did some phone research and discovered these markerboards are actually melamine.

Which epoxy doesn't stick to and bonus it doesn't have all the bumps of the particle boardmelamine you normally see.

But it's really flimsy.

So I just used some Starbond CA glue to attach it to a sheet of MDF and then trim the edges.

It wouldn't fit to do theshort sides on my table saw.

So I lay down some bluetape to minimize tear-out and then use a flushedtrim bit in my router to flush up the ends ofthe bottom of the form.

Now to lay out for the final trimming and get these pieces sothey'll fit in the form.

Fortunately it's as easy asjust laying them on the form and marking out the lines.

I couldn't find thestraight edge I normally use to guide my circular saw.

So I just went ahead and used my track saw to make all these cuts right on the lines.

It's the same results.

I just think this went a little faster than using the straight edge and circ saw.

And there we go.

Now those pieces fit in their spot better than pretty much every car atmy local Walmart parking lot.

I just need to cut down some strips to wrap around the edges of the form to form the walls of the form.

It's a lot of forms.

Because I'm smart sometimes, I figured it would be a good idea to make sure epoxy doesn'tstick to the marker board.

Well the CA glue stuck andthe epoxy isn't popping off.

So I set to taping the form.

Fortunately I haveplenty of Tuck Tape left from when I did the epoxy boards.

Speaking of quite a fewpeople have asked me about using other tapes besides Tuck Tape.

If you have experience with that or would be interested in me doing a video on what epoxy will andwon't stick to let me know in the comments below.

Now that I need to buy somemore tape to tuck with, I can start attachingthe sides to the bottom.

There's not going to bemuch pressure on these and like me they're pretty short.

So I just attach themwith plenty of brad nails.

If you think this will leak and ooze like you forgot to shakeit before zipping it up, well you're right.

But some silicone is going to fix that.

First I just need to make a little tool to smooth the silicone.

A dowel chucked up in my drill with some sandpapermakes quick work of that.

But before I start siliconing, as some extra insurance, I pull out my shop sock.

You can identify it from theold wax buildup on the toe and I liberally lac wax the whole form.

Now I can start laying down some silicone to seal all the corners.

It's been awhile since I used caulk and I was really pleased to see my technique was still pretty good.

Check out how consistent that bead is.

Also I went for almondinstead of white caulk.

I thought that'd be easierto see against the Tuck Tape and it seems to be.

Once I went all the way around, I used the shaping tool I justmade to smooth out the caulk.

It's important here to use a shop sock to keep the tip clean.

Silicone is pretty sticky and I don't want that getting everywhere.

I didn't get started without you.

Okay good news and bad news.

Good news you're right I did.

Bad news you're right I did and it's not Netflix so we can't rewind.

But I'll bring you in close so you can enjoy how satisfying this is.

Then I decided to check the epoxy again and realized that before I just made the boneheaded mistake of not letting it fully cure.

This stuff does actuallypop off the whiteboard.

So all that tape was unnecessary.

Anyway it's time to load the form except my boards won't fittightly into the corners now that they're siliconed.

But just a few swipes with the hand plane is gonna add enough of a chamfer to mostly take care of that.

But before I start mixing epoxy, I need to know how much to mix.

I came up with a clever way tofigure that out from a photo.

And I released a videothat has that technique and three other techniquesfor estimating volume.

So hit the card above ifyou wanna check that out.

As you probably know wood floats and epoxy's actually denser than water.

So it really has a tendency to float so I got it clamped down.

I like to take my excess epoxy and pour it into theselittle silicone molds I have to make these pucks whichare really handy for that.

And I also elevated my moldoff my workbench a little bit to give myself room to clamps.

Now I just need to level it off and we'll be ready to pour.

And it's time to mix up a bunch of epoxy.

I start with four liters and end up having to mix a little more.

I'm using TotalBoatThickset which is perfect because this pours almost an inch thick and this stuff is the best at half inch to one inch thick pours.

And yes as you can see.

I did hear you and Idid put my respirator on while working with this stuff.

Once it was fairly mixed up, I added some black diamonddeep blue sea pigment and a little bit ofbattleship gray pigment and then kept on mixing.

And mixing.

And mixing.

You don't want to under-mix epoxy.

Seriously it's bad.

And now for the part thatdoesn't need anymore words.

A few days later it's safeto de-mold this thing.

The question is if I can do it safely.

Here's hoping the tape andwax didn't let me down.

After cutting the tape off the corners, I can get to trying to pry off the sides.

Fortunately it goes great.

The sides are a littletaller than the tabletop.

So I can tap them in a downand away kinda direction with the hammer and thenthey pealed right off.

From the charcuterie boards, I knew that breaking the seal between the bottom of the form and the bottom of the table was gonna be the really hard part.

Once I realized that my delicate lady fingersweren't strong enough, I tried some really stupid shenanigans.

Then thankfully I realizedthat a putty knife would probably be a smart way to go.

And it was embarrassinghow easy that worked.

Oh man this is gonna look good.

This right here was an exciting moment.

Seeing the top for the first time.

I knew sanding this wasgonna be a chore though.

So I asked a friend of mine if he'd let me borrow his new Mirka setup to see if it lives up to the hype and can make this go easier.

And for some dumb reasonhe let me borrow it.

The big thing I'm supposed tosee is great dust collection and super long life on the abrasives.

And a big part of that is these net discs that let the dust through alot better than regular paper because well it's a net.

It works great on thesmall spots on the bottom but I knew the real testwas gonna be the hours I'm gonna spend sanding on the top.

One thing I really liked is it's quiet and comfortable enough that Iwas able to go full lazy mode.

Which I enjoy doing and catch up on some YouTubevideos while I sanded.

And almost unbelievably I was able to sand all of the seepageof epoxy off the top with a single 40 grit net.

The only thing that wouldhave made this go better would be if I'd usedsome penetrating epoxy on the bark before doing the pour.

Because the bark is a lot softer than all the surrounding material.

So I had to be reallycareful not to sand divots into the bark while trying tosand the surrounding areas.

Of course there was someair trapped in the pour that created little cavitieswhen I sanded them open.

But they were easy to fixwith a little Starbond CA glue and some activator and alittle bit more sanding.

There was some seepage onthe sides of the table.

So I trimmed that off thelong sides with the table saw and for the short sides thetrack saw made quick work of it.

If this thing didn't work so good and much faster than my circular saw, I might actually be motivated to try to find the straightedge for my circular saw.

Probably not gonna happen though.

One detail I really like is the chamfer on the underside of a table.

It helps widen the feel of a tabletop.

To do this I just use my trim router with a chamfer bit todo this in two passes.

And fortunately epoxy respondsto the router really nicely.

So don't ever be afraid of that.

Another must on epoxy and hardwood is to break the sharp edges.

They're sharp sharp.

I normally use a planeor sandpaper by hand but I thought this would bea good test for the Mirka.

So I slowed it all theway down and gave it a try and it impressed me withthe amount of control I had and the dust collection again.

And since I'll be using awater-based finish on this, I made sure to pop the grainwith water to make it fuzz up and sanded it smooth again off camera.

As with any open grainwood like this walnut, it's important toremember before finishing not just to wipe off any dust but also use air to blow any dust out of the grain pores thatmight have settled.

But before I add any finish, I'm gonna try out this little Ortur.

I don't know how to say it.

Compact laser that Gearbest, which I do know how to say, sent me to try out and do a little engraving on the underside of the table for the client.

For less than 200 bucksthis is a great way to personalize the pieces and I really like that Ican just set it pretty much on anything that I wanna engrave.

They didn't pay me.

They just sent it to me to try out but so far I'm really enjoying it.

To finish this I'm goinga little off script.

I wanna add some warmth to the table but don't wanna muddy the bluewith an amber finish on top.

So I took some TotalBoat Halcyon and diluted it about 60/40 with water.

Which is a lot more than they recommend and liberally applied it to the wood.

I took care not to gettoo much on the epoxy and after giving it justa little time to set in I wipe off the excess.

Halcyon is not a wipe on wipe off finish.

Water-based polys just aren't but by diluting it more I was able to get the color topenetrate into the wood but it's not gonna penetrate in the epoxy.

And then by wiping it off I'm not going to leave any amber haze on the epoxy but I'm getting the warmthand the walnut that I want.

I do that twice beforegiving it an hour to dry.

And then I coat everythingwith TotalBoat Clear Halcyon.

This will build up theprotective film over anything and get the shine back on the epoxy but without changingany of the color tones.

Of course I need somethingto put this tabletop on.

So it's time to work on the base.

The base is an open cube.

Just 12 pieces.

Four pieces that are threedifferent dimensions.

I make these by measuringand cutting one piece and then using that pieceto mark and cut the rest.

I broke my hacksaw bladethe other day though and didn't have a spare.

So I figured I'd use my portable band saw.

Of course the angle grinderwould have also worked.

And this actually gives mepretty consistent results as you can see.

But some of them still weren't quite as consistent as I wanted.

So I used the cutting grinding disc that Millner-Haufensent me to even them up.

Then I used the samedisc to grind the bevels into pieces to have roomfor the weld filler to go.

The awesome thing about these discs is if you ever wear it outor break one somehow they'll send you another for free.

I don't weld enough to have any luck getting things even closeto square on my own.

So I invested a little in this Minion FireballSquare set to help me.

This is my first time trying them.

My dog wasn't any help ingetting them clamped up but once I did have them clamped up they definitely worked as advertised and prevented the piecesfrom coming out of position as the weld cooled off.

I don't know enough aboutwelding yet to share much but I can get some cool video of it.

So here's that.

And if you're having problemsrolling things square too, consider giving these a try.

They definitely helped me.

The first thing I welded up was the two rectanglesthat'll be the ends.

Before I get farther, I grind down my welds usingthe Millner-Haufen disc to hock off most of the material and then a flat disc to blend it.

Then I switch to a quick strip disc and set to removing the scale.

This is the metalworkequivalent of sanding except there's not any cool tool yet that makes it quiet and dustless.

But now I'm set to clampthe long stretchers to the end rectangles and getthis base to come together.

I use the Minion Squares to get the first two longstretchers on both rectangles.

But for the last two piecesI just use some magnets to hold them in place and a square to make sure they're aligned before welding them.

At this point there isn't muchroom for these to move around so this is plenty adequate.

To attach the top to the base, I ordered some pre-made tabs from Amazon.

My many magnets did a greatjob of holding them in place and I just zapped them on.

And of course ground down my nasty welds.

Now to finish the base I usesome appliance epoxy paint after wiping the whole base down with denatured alcohol again.

This stuff has worked really well for me and goes on fast andreally is scratch resistant for the price.

The last finishing touch on the base is to tap some plugs that'll act as feet into the bottom corners.

And now for the two to be joined into one.

I'm going to use those tabs on the bases to locate the positions forthe underside of the table.

A punch helps me make suremy drill bit doesn't wander and then I drill a hole to the proper depthfor my threaded insert.

It would be just fine toscrew the base to the top.

Especially since somethinglike this is unlikely to ever be separated.

But when someone spends acouple grand on a table, I feel touches like thisare part of the kind of quality that should follow.

Then the base can get put backon the table and installed.

I used 10-24 inserts.

So some 10-24 boltswith washers are perfect to hold it all together.

The last finishing touch is adding some LED strips to the bottom.

My thought was puttingthem on just the underside of the table would be best.

So the top could betaken off the base easily without anything connecting them.

To make changing batteries easier, I attached the battery packsto the underside with Velcro.

I could of ran both of the LED strips off a single battery pack but the battery life wouldhave gone down a lot.

And both strips are gonnarespond to a single remote.

So I think this was the way to go.

The LEDs ended up bleeding through the epoxy more than I thought and the strips were super obvious.

So I moved them to the frame and put the sensors on Velcro too.

So everything can be removed from the underside of the quickly.

And there you have it.

Now it's just time for some glamor shots.

Anyway I hope you're inspired, learn something, or at least entertained.

If you feel I've earned it, please make sure to hit thatsubscribe button and bell.

And until next time maketime to make something.


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