Need Advice for an Epoxy Live Edge Project
Hello. I acquired a rather long piece of walnut that I cut into two pieces. One piece is 6 feet (and I plan to make a coffee table out of it). The other piece is 4 feet, and the one I'm currently working on. I've planed the wood and sanded it to 220 on both sides. I've decided to keep most of the bark on the piece, as you can see from the pictures. I also plan on using west system epoxy (105 and 207 hardener). Two coats of epoxy followed by two to three coats of water based poly sprayed on. I hear this negates a lot of the "plastic-ness" of epoxy and instead it'll simply look deep. I've decided to go this route because the table is going to be a make-up table so a large assortment of cosmetics will be interacting with it, possibly, and the epoxy will seal tight and be durable. However, I have a lot of questions about details if anyone can help out.
Should I put anything on the table before I apply the epoxy? I plan to use an air compressor to get out all the dust from sanding, but after that should I apply something like a wipe on wipe off? Or mineral spirits or something?
When pouring the epoxy on the table should I tape anything off or just let it go over the edge? Does this method allow the sides to get a proper coat of epoxy? Does all the bark affect this?
When the first coat of epoxy is done should I sand before I put on the second one that is used to float out the table? Wet or dry sand with what grits? And do these specification differ from how to sand out the drips I'll get from the epoxy going over the sides?
After the second coat of epoxy is finished and ready for poly, what should I use? glossy or semi-gloss? I want it to look like glass but still deep. Furthermore, should I sand the second coat of epoxy before applying the poly?
After the first coat of poly is sprayed on should I sand before the second coat? if so, wet/dry what grits etc.
After the final coat of poly is on the table should I polish it with car polish or something similar to really get the shine? Or with scotchbrite pads or steel wool?
Finally, I plan on sealing the back simply with the spray poly part of the project. Is this okay or should I epoxy that side as well?
I understand these are a lot of questions, and I appreciate any and all help. I'm a novice working with wood, but I find the work fun and engaging. I'm hoping to learn lots, and anyone who can assist with that has my thanks.