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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I just recently received a promising inquiry from a restaurant wanting a big quantity of table tops made with an epoxy layer surface. I've never made restaurant style tables or worked with epoxy but the offer is too good to pass up. I need some advice on how to properly build the table tops and use epoxy to allow for wood movement.

I was planning to glue a layer of reclaimed pine/oak on top of an equal sized layer of MDF or furniture grade plywood to create the thickness needed. Then, to hide the joint and MDF I would place the same wood material mitered around the edges. To finish, I planned to pour a 1/8th thick layer coating of epoxy around the top and edges only. There will be no epoxy on the bottom of the MDF, just top and edges.

Will I have any problems with this construction and wood movement? Will wood movement affect the layer of epoxy, potentially leading to cracks?
 

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Having sold restaurant equipment and supplies, I find it interesting that they would come to you for table tops. Given the variety of tops on the market, I'm surprised they didn't find something with a local dealer. Good luck on the job. Your description sounds like the tops will be very heavy; maybe too heavy for the bases. What bases are you using or are they furnishing them? Lots to consider here.
 

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I am curious as to how you plan to pour a 1/8" thick finish on the sides. Beyond that, I have seen this construction method used, and I have seen the corners grow gaps in the miters. If I were going to do that, I think I would probably M & T the mitered corners to help prevent that problem. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Having sold restaurant equipment and supplies, I find it interesting that they would come to you for table tops. Given the variety of tops on the market, I'm surprised they didn't find something with a local dealer. Good luck on the job. Your description sounds like the tops will be very heavy; maybe too heavy for the bases. What bases are you using or are they furnishing them? Lots to consider here.
Yes, I agree. And they will be furnishing. Steel pedestal bases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am curious as to how you plan to pour a 1/8" thick finish on the sides. Beyond that, I have seen this construction method used, and I have seen the corners grow gaps in the miters. If I were going to do that, I think I would probably M & T the mitered corners to help prevent that problem. Good luck.
I was planning to build a case that the table top would sit in during the pour that would allow a 1/8" gap around the sides and then pour to a leveled 1/8" on the top. Starting to doubt that method though with what I'm discovering online. Not sure how to allow for wood movement when encasing with epoxy or if it can even be done.
 

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you're taking on quite a task if you've never worked with epoxy.

as to the wood expansion . . .
Q: why does wood expand/contract
A: changes in moisture levels
Q: how much moisture will seep thru a layer of epoxy?
A:

(just be sure to have some under the wood as well - pour the base, set wood slats, pour to fill.
 

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I'm skeptical about the bases as the spider base might be too small for the weight that I anticipate with the MDF and the wood on top. If they get the wrong bases, it's tip city.......and not the one in Ohio. Hope they have checked on this. Get a disclaimer if you can to CYD (cover your donkey).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree with everyone here. Thanks for the help guys! I appreciate it a lot. I believe I'm going to suggest a different approach to the table tops or just pass on the opportunity. It's too large of a contract to get wrong. Especially having only used epoxy to fill minor voids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
These are not 8/4 tops? Guess I don't understand your design...

These have epoxy...
I'm not concerned so much with the design I guess, as I am with wood moving inside an epoxy casting. My concern is with epoxy being poured onto the top and all edges and hardening like epoxy does.....would that not substantially limit woods ability to move and cause cracks? Maybe I'm overthinking it a bit, I don't know.
 

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I'm not concerned so much with the design I guess, as I am with wood moving inside an epoxy casting. My concern is with epoxy being poured onto the top and all edges and hardening like epoxy does.....would that not substantially limit woods ability to move and cause cracks? Maybe I'm overthinking it a bit, I don't know.
The company I work for is the largest distributor for restaurant tops in the country. I'll try and get you pictures of what we use tomorrow....
 
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