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Restaurant Table Top2/26
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 to create the thickness needed. Then to hide the joint and MDF I would place the same would 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 the MDF.
Will I have any problems with this construction and wood movement? Will wood movement affect the layer of epoxy, potentially leading to cracks?
You will absolutely have issues with gluing solid wood to mdf
You will definitely have a problem. Anytime I glue wood to a substrata, I always have a balanced board. I use plywood as my core material and we slice the wood to about 3/8", finishes at 5/16", gluing solid wood on both side of the plywood. I would also finish both sides of the top. Not necessarily using epoxy on both sides, but definitely seal the underside. I have been making wood tops this way since 2003 when we got our bandsaw. I have had one failure since then and that top was done during the summer when we had high humidity and it went into a basement office. We had shrinkage and cupping during a very cold winter. In a restaurant, I would expect a more constant level of humidity.
We have used epoxy finishes. These are not easy to work with. Long cure time and the edgers are difficult. Unless the owner is adamant about epoxy, I would suggest ICA products. ICA products are easier to work with and very durable. You can spray ICA and if there is some imperfections, you can usually buff it out.
Whatever you do, do a sample first, know what you are getting into. We replaced the top I mentioned above, our cost.
There are reasons to make these from solid wood, 1-1/2" thick minimum. The chief reason is that they are more likely to stay flat than by bonding to a stable 'back'.
A solid table top will allow movement. At worse, you may need to add a couple of cleats cross grain to the bottom. Remember to allow the fasteners to move with the top.
I assume you know that wood moves, how to calculate it, and how to accommodate it? As well as having a moisture meter and knowledge on its use? Just because it is wood does not mean it can be used as you or someone else might wish. You may be able to make it work, but you need more info first.
Reread the original posting. I love it,