Lighted resin desk - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-31-2018, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Lighted resin desk

I'm looking to build a new desk for my office, for the top I am going to use 2 1/4" oak flooring (I have 10 boxes laying around). I thought about doing a lighted river type of top. I am going to use 3/4" pine plywood for the base to give the tongue and groove flooring something solid to glue down to. I am thinking about mortising a 3/8" x 1/4" deep channel on the pieces that border the river, hot gluing the LED strip in that channel and then sealing over it with silicone to give the resin a barrier so it stays put. I don't know how well the polyurethane will react with the silicone, and there doesn't seem to be any thing on the internet about a possible reaction (possibly because no one has ever tried it before). Any and all ideas and help are most welcome! Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-31-2018, 06:53 AM
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I wouldn't glue the flooring to the plywood. If the flooring swells a little it will cause the top to bow up. Just nail it to the plywood like flooring is intended.

I don't think I would trust the LED strip to last forever so I wouldn't be gluing it in. I don't really understand what you are doing with the LED but there is a lens to cover a LED strip where you could machine the wood to put the strip in and finish the wood and put the lighting in last. https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/90...SABEgLrZPD_BwE
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-31-2018, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Heath Townley View Post
I'm looking to build a new desk for my office, for the top I am going to use 2 1/4" oak flooring (I have 10 boxes laying around). I thought about doing a lighted river type of top. I am going to use 3/4" pine plywood for the base to give the tongue and groove flooring something solid to glue down to. I am thinking about mortising a 3/8" x 1/4" deep channel on the pieces that border the river, hot gluing the LED strip in that channel and then sealing over it with silicone to give the resin a barrier so it stays put. I don't know how well the polyurethane will react with the silicone, and there doesn't seem to be any thing on the internet about a possible reaction (possibly because no one has ever tried it before). Any and all ideas and help are most welcome! Thanks in advance!
Not following why you need to silicone at all, why not just pour the resin right over the led strips?
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-31-2018, 08:20 AM
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some suggestions ...

You flooring will have grooves where each piece joins the next, difficult to write on. A glass top or clear epoxy bar top finish would help.

The "river" would be a meandering sort of thing, I assume. That would be difficult to seal up as you cross over the flooring pieces.... again an assumption. If you make a recessed trough for the river and the LEDs, you could cut a clear Plexi panel to cover it all, precisely fitting down in the trough, but flush with the surface.

You may have expansion/movement issues with the flooring to plywood, it's difficult to predict. The flooring would be pretty dry from the factory cartons, again an assumption. The flooring is 3/4" thick or less?

I like the idea of the "river" but would consider other materials to surround it with.....cloth, fabric, leather, brown rice or other grains, ? It may still require a smooth surface as a cover... glass? .. epoxy?


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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-31-2018, 11:30 AM
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You flooring will have grooves where each piece joins the next, difficult to write on. A glass top or clear epoxy bar top finish would help.

The "river" would be a meandering sort of thing, I assume. That would be difficult to seal up as you cross over the flooring pieces.... again an assumption. If you make a recessed trough for the river and the LEDs, you could cut a clear Plexi panel to cover it all, precisely fitting down in the trough, but flush with the surface.

You may have expansion/movement issues with the flooring to plywood, it's difficult to predict. The flooring would be pretty dry from the factory cartons, again an assumption. The flooring is 3/4" thick or less?

I like the idea of the "river" but would consider other materials to surround it with.....cloth, fabric, leather, brown rice or other grains, ? It may still require a smooth surface as a cover... glass? .. epoxy?


I used oak flooring for the top of my bar and ran into this. I finished it with several coats of poly and it was like glass. Over time it has developed "bumps" at the seams. Not a crack that anything can get in, or enough to crack the poly, but enough that you can feel it if you run your hand over it. Enough that I wouldn't want to have it as a desk top. My issues may be from "pilot error", but it's something you might want to keep in mind.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-01-2018, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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I think it will make a great top, and I have a lot of it laying around gather dust so why not use it? So the way it sounds to me from what woodnthings and Ron_j are saying, it would be in my best interest to coat the top with epoxy as to keep the surface smooth over time. Probably more work than I want but it sounds like it'll be worth it in the end! Thank you both for that! Also the flooring is 3/4" and I have had it for several years, so it should be dry but to be safe I think I will bring it in and let it acclimate to the house before gluing it to the plywood. To answer Shoot summ, the way the flooring is made, the bottom of the flooring is fluted and will not be sealed completely, so I need to do something to seal the area that I want the river to "run" so the epoxy stays where I want it. Also I need a small channel to hide the LED strip so you can't see it from the top, so I was wondering if I could kill 2 birds with one stone. By mortising out around the edge of the river for a place to attach the LED's and then sealing them in along with making a barrier to keep the epoxy where I want it. My concern is that I don't know how the epoxy and silicone will react with each other (nor does the rest of the internet, or the guys at my lumber yard for that matter). The idea of the LED strip's is to make the river glow, and if I am clever enough maybe make it look like it's flowing, doubt that will happen, as I am not that clever... I am not that worried about the wood swelling. I can get it down below 5% moisture and then install it in a climate controlled area. Unless you think that could still backfire. I am open to all suggestions! Thanks again everyone!
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-01-2018, 06:13 AM
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Some more knowledgeable guys will probably chime in, but the problem isn't getting the wood to 5%, but having it the same as the room it will be in. In my case, the humidity in my basement fluctuates throughout the year. It is a finished living space, and have a dehumidifier running, but it still changes enough that doors and such stick for a while this time of year. I built a dart board cabinet and the gap in the door goes from probably 1/16" in the winter to tight in the high humidity months.

So you may be able to get it to 5%, but if the room is at 10%, it will eventually do the same.
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