Starting epoxy resin woodworking projects can be exciting, but it’s undeniable that they demand meticulous material selection and a keen sense of time management. I’ve seen beginners spend countless hours, even days, just to pinpoint the right wood for their epoxy tables.
But the good news is, you don’t have to face this dilemma alone. Having worked extensively with various materials, I’ll share my recommendations for the best wood for epoxy projects. Let’s cut through the guesswork and get you on the path to crafting with confidence!
What’s the Best Timber for Epoxy Tables?
When it comes to crafting an epoxy resin table, I’ve always leaned towards wooden planks from hardwood trees. Some of the best options I’d suggest include oak, maple, elm, and redwood, among others.
Since they feature firm and durable wood surfaces, you won’t experience issues sanding them down to yield an aesthetically pleasing pattern for your epoxy wood table.
Besides lumber type, the best material for epoxy river tables should have less than twenty percent moisture level. Even if you have a high-quality resin, using wood with more than this moisture content will affect the material’s adhesion and durability.
Even though wood types like black walnut scores low in the moisture meter, you must check if it’s properly dried.
To give you a detailed look at each wood option, here’s a comprehensive guide:
#1: Maple Wood
It’s no secret that most maple products are often properly air-dried, with some undergoing quicker chemical drying procedures. Because of this, it has a low moisture level suitable for making an epoxy resin table.
Among its 132 tree species, many woodworkers favor red maple for its sandable surface and suitability with different cutting tools. This material handles stain and color pigment well, so it’s not a surprise why it’s a staple for epoxy resin tables.
Another specie under this category that works well with epoxy tables is hard maple. Although this hardwood scores 1450 on the Janka scales, it’s smooth enough to work with as long as it’s properly dried and passed the moisture meter. However, it’s not the best wood for an axe throwing target.
#2: Olive Wood
Since olive wood features straight grains and smooth textures, I can recommend it as one of the best wood options for an epoxy river table.
It will always have higher moisture levels than others, even when dried, so constantly checking its water content is highly encouraged.
This material is ideal for indoor resin river tables than outdoor furniture. You may not know, but olive wood is not durable enough to stand against exterior elements and insect infestations.
If there’s an option highly suitable for an epoxy top, that will be elm wood. Many woodworkers like myself favor this material for its natural wood colors that ranges between light shades of brown and red.
It’s water-resistant and heat-resistant, so you’ll have no problem using it for exterior or interior furniture. Considering its wood density levels, newbie woodworkers should find this material easier to shape than other wood selections for epoxy resin projects.
As a solid hardwood, mahogany can create a durable and long-lasting epoxy resin table. Besides its water resistance, this wood type is also scratch resistant.
It’s not a bad choice for outdoor epoxy tables because it’s a weatherproof material with lower chances of shrinking or warping.
Since yew wood types have high oil content, the epoxy resin will harden faster and stronger as you create the flowing river effect on its surface. It’s also a versatile option with excellent decay and water damage resistance.
However, it has cons, too. Find out yew wood’s disadvantages, to know what to expect!
Sycamore  wood works well as epoxy table material because it’s lighter than other available options in the market. It belongs to the medium-density category, so it will offer a durable and sturdy surface for different woodworking projects.
These materials have easy workability and wide availability around the US, so they should suit the needs of a woodworking beginner trying to build crystal-clear epoxy tables.
Although softer than other wood types, mulberry has an attractive and rich grain. It also comes in various colors, from dark red to light pink, making it aesthetically compatible with an epoxy resin table.
Important Factors When Buying Wood for Your Epoxy Table
Flatness and Thickness
Many wood types are sandable, but not all are easy to handle. For epoxy river tables, I personally vouch for flat live edge pieces, particularly elm or oak.
It may come as a surprise, but live edge wood materials are more convenient to sand, resulting in smoother surfaces. This attribute makes the sanding process easier and allows for improved finishing outcomes.
Wood Stability & Strength
Like it or not, your epoxy resin table will only last long if you make it with stable and durable wood. If you want a strong material, the best you can do is to check its Janka scale rating for reference.
Besides flat and natural edges, the wood type you’ll select for an epoxy table should include lower moisture content. Even if your chosen material has high durability, it will only work well with resin and other substances if it has less than 20% water content.
Live Edge vs. Epoxy Tables: Main Differences
The difference between the two is the reality that live wood materials are used to create epoxy resin tabletops. You’ll need two slabs of these live wood edges and pour the epoxy between the gaps to make the river pattern.
Wood To Use for Live Edge Tables
You’ll need a durable and stable material to create live edge wood tables, so it would be best to choose the likes of oak, cherry, or walnut. These selections are hard enough to withstand regular usage and external elements.
Where to Source Wood for Your Epoxy Table?
Many of the woods I’ve listed above can be found at your local lumber stores. Although you can buy them online, I urge you to be extra wary to avoid buying knock-off lumber. Remember to check its color, texture, and grain pattern.
How to Prepare the Wood + Materials You’ll Need
You must sand the surface down to remove any signs of rotting or chipping. Try to use an angle grinder to curve the live edges and give the material a smooth texture. You should know that smoothness is a major requirement for the resin to adhere to the intended area.
Here are other materials you’ll need for making an epoxy resin table:
Will Epoxy Resin Bond To Wood? What if it Shrinks?
Yes, epoxy resins offer excellent adhesion to wooden materials. The thinner the solution, the more it can stick well to the material’s natural pores. Shrinking will only happen if you’re using a low-quality epoxy product. But will epoxy prevent wood from splitting? Find out next!
If you read this guide thoroughly, it’s clear that the best wood for epoxy table furniture must be solid and stable. From my experience, I emphasize monitoring the wood’s moisture content and ensuring its flatness to avoid complications during the crafting process.
There’s no shame in shopping around for different materials, as this project isn’t limited to a few options. As in many art forms, you’re not confined to just a handful of choices.