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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone, I’m new to woodworking and have some ambitious projects in the works. One of which is my sister’s graduation present. I’ve taken two live edge pieces and covered them in TotalBoat ThickSet epoxy, as shown in the picture. I have about 1/4” of epoxy that is now near fully cured on top. I want to edge the sides with a bevel using my electric router. Do you think this is a good idea? I don’t want any tear out or chips to result, so I’m planning on making shallow passes on each edge. Thanks for the advice in advance!
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Go Red Raiders.
Can’t tell much by the pictures. Epoxy usually routes well, if you wait until it is fully cured and take thin cuts. Probably going to have to sand it to at least 400 wet to get a decent finish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Go Red Raiders.
Can’t tell much by the pictures. Epoxy usually routes well, if you wait until it is fully cured and take thin cuts. Probably going to have to sand it to at least 400 wet to get a decent finish.
Awesome, that’s what I thought after making a few practice passes on some scrap. Do you use a polishing agent at the end? Like Meguires Ultimate Compound?
 

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You can route epoxy, and pretty much an other plastic, but there are a few things to watch out for. First things first, take light passes, epoxy will chip in a heartbeat if you try to push it too hard, either by trying to cut deep or by trying to force the cut too fast.

Second, dont go too slow either. If you dwell in the cut, heat will build up and the epoxy will soften and the entire operation will be up a creek. Keep the router moving fast enough so that each tooth of the cutter is taking a solid bite, but not too fast, its a fine line

Finally, if you want the beveled edge to match the rest of the finish, youre going to need to polish it out, and that can be a bit of a process. Start at 320 grit, use a stiff sanding block to preserve the crisp edges, and be sure to wet sand. Move up through 320-400-800-1000-1200-2000-2500, cleaning thoroughly when you change grits so that lingering crap from a lower grit doesnt contaminate the higher grit. Finish with an automotive rubbing compound, then a polishing compound
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You can route epoxy, and pretty much an other plastic, but there are a few things to watch out for. First things first, take light passes, epoxy will chip in a heartbeat if you try to push it too hard, either by trying to cut deep or by trying to force the cut too fast.

Second, dont go too slow either. If you dwell in the cut, heat will build up and the epoxy will soften and the entire operation will be up a creek. Keep the router moving fast enough so that each tooth of the cutter is taking a solid bite, but not too fast, its a fine line

Finally, if you want the beveled edge to match the rest of the finish, youre going to need to polish it out, and that can be a bit of a process. Start at 320 grit, use a stiff sanding block to preserve the crisp edges, and be sure to wet sand. Move up through 320-400-800-1000-1200-2000-2500, cleaning thoroughly when you change grits so that lingering crap from a lower grit doesnt contaminate the higher grit. Finish with an automotive rubbing compound, then a polishing compound
This is great advice! Thank you! Would it work to use my random orbital sander for the majority of the surface, and save the crisp edges for the sanding block? Obviously, both with same grits for each round of sanding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Be sure to use tape on the surface before "dragging" your router across it. You might get the perfect routed edge, only to find a chip got under the plate and gouged a line through the surface finish. Be a shame to ruin that glass like surface you've got there.
So you’re saying just tape the edges? As in, route through the tape? That makes a lot of sense, too. I do that for plywood, but didn’t even consider using that for epoxy. Thank you!
 

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Actually, I was just cautioning about the flat, clear table top. I doubt tape would prevent damage to the routed area, but it will keep the router base from scratching the surface as you run it along doing the bevel cut.
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This is great advice! Thank you! Would it work to use my random orbital sander for the majority of the surface, and save the crisp edges for the sanding block? Obviously, both with same grits for each round of sanding.
Depends on what you mean by "the majority of the surface". Are you planning on polishing the entire top? If so, yeah, you can use the sander for the broad, flat areas for the first few grits, but be warned, its extremely easy to irrecoverably screw up a finish with a power sander. Personally, i would only recommend using a powered sander for the initial flattening of the surface with 320 grit, everything after that is hand sanding, doubly so since 400+ should definitely be wet sanded. Water and electric sanders dont mix. Honestly, even for the initial flattening, im still leery of sanding under power, its again way too easy to sand a little too much and burn through the finish, or otherwise screw something up

If youre talking about sanding the bevels with the sander, dont do it unless you want a roundover instead of a bevel, its way too easy to roll an edge under power, not worth saving the 2 minutes
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Depends on what you mean by "the majority of the surface". Are you planning on polishing the entire top? If so, yeah, you can use the sander for the broad, flat areas for the first few grits, but be warned, its extremely easy to irrecoverably screw up a finish with a power sander. Personally, i would only recommend using a powered sander for the initial flattening of the surface with 320 grit, everything after that is hand sanding, doubly so since 400+ should definitely be wet sanded. Water and electric sanders dont mix. Honestly, even for the initial flattening, im still leery of sanding under power, its again way too easy to sand a little too much and burn through the finish, or otherwise screw something up

If youre talking about sanding the bevels with the sander, dont do it unless you want a roundover instead of a bevel, its way too easy to roll an edge under power, not worth saving the 2 minutes
Okay that makes a lot sense. I do have two areas of raised, cured epoxy that’s left over from where I held the wood down to keep it from floating. Now there’s these bumps that I need to get rid of. Will 320 grit work to remove it? Might be just a focus area, if I’m guessing.
 

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I've never used a router on epoxy either, but this raises a question for me - is there any particular type of bit that would work best for resin? Or any type of bit that works especially well for both epoxy and wood?
 

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Okay that makes a lot sense. I do have two areas of raised, cured epoxy that’s left over from where I held the wood down to keep it from floating. Now there’s these bumps that I need to get rid of. Will 320 grit work to remove it? Might be just a focus area, if I’m guessing.
Depends on how sizable the bumps are. If theyre too large, you might need to drop to a lower grit to do the flattening, starting at 320 is for when the surface is already pretty flat
I've never used a router on epoxy either, but this raises a question for me - is there any particular type of bit that would work best for resin? Or any type of bit that works especially well for both epoxy and wood?
Not really, the same edge geometry that works on wood works on plastic. You could press a carbide end mill meant for CNC use into service as a router bit, but you wouldnt really see much benefit
 

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If you used a removable barrier to hold the wet epoxy on top while it cured there is very likely a thin lip sticking up at the edge (capillary action in the liquid).

I typically take that down with a hand plane first before routing or sanding. Otherwise router doesn't ride flat on the top surface.

Epicfail48 advise on sanding/polishing is perfect including avoiding power sanders.

Can you take down you raised spots with a hand plane? Note that you will need to sand/polish after plane. On the edge you're routing and sanding anyhow so plane marks are removed. But if your now cutting or sanding areas on top you necessitate sanding/polishing on the flat top and feathering that into the untouched area of the top. It's more difficult.
 
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