In this tutorial, I want to teach you how to create an epoxy resin and wood charcuterie/serving board that is as beautiful as it is practical. You don’t need any advanced woodworking skills and in my opinion, is a great size project to start with if you have never used epoxy resin before.
STEP 1: Choose a piece of wood
When making a serving board, your choice of wood comes down to personal tastes and also what is available to you in your area. I recommend something with some character and nice visible grain. For my example, I am using a piece of leftover white cedar which was lying around in my shed and is the perfect size for a larger serving board. The size will depend on how big you want your serving board but just remember to add a little length to account for the handle.
STEP 2: Prepare your wood
First, if you have chosen timber with a live edge you must remove all the bark with a chisel or similar tool. Then clean it thoroughly with a wire brush to remove any remaining debris and lastly give the live edge a quick hand sand.
Now we want to measure, mark and cut your piece of wood roughly down the centre with a circular saw.
Then turn both pieces of wood around so that the live edges are now in the middle with a gap in between to create your “river”.
Step 3: Creating a mould
For the next step, we will need to build our formwork or frame to house our board and epoxy as it dries. I like to use melamine board as it is relatively cheap and usually available from your local Bunnings or hardware store. Start by cutting the base to slightly larger than the desired size of the board. Then, using extra pieces of melamine or wood, cut walls for the frame which need to be roughly 15mm taller than the board to allow for overflow and prevent spills. To join the base and walls I simply clamped the walls down onto the base, pre-drilled holes, and screwed them down into place with wood screws.
With the frame nice and sturdy we now need to make sure it is watertight so no epoxy will leak from the frame while it sets. For this, I used some clear silicone in a Caulking Gun to run along all the joins and edges, then smoothed it over with my finger.
Now we need to either apply adhesive tape to prevent the resin from bonding to the melamine board. I chose to use Ametalin Insulation Tape to cover the entire inside of the formwork. This works great when trying to release the dried resin and board from the frame and it has high heat resistance. Take care not to trap any air bubbles under the tape as this creates an uneven surface to pour on. Lastly, place your two pieces of wood into the formwork in their correct places and clamp down.
Step 4: Mixing the epoxy resin
After using our Epoxy Resin Volume Calculator to determine the right amount of Epoxy you require, it is time to start mixing. For this example, I am using a deep cast resin that can be poured in one single layer.
Note, it is very important to wear the appropriate safety equipment such as gloves and breathing protection, and that the mixing ratio recommended by the manufacturer is adhered to. Also, ensure that the A and B components are thoroughly mixed. To do this you must first measure or weigh the Part A and B separately and then combine them in a larger container or bucket. To mix well I then use a drill and paint mixer attachment for about a minute on a slow speed, making sure the mixer reaches every part of the bucket. Lastly before pouring, if you are adding a colour or pigment in your river, this is when it is mixed through. Now we are ready to pour!
Step 5: Pouring your Epoxy Resin
First, you must choose which end to pour from and then lift your freshly mixed bucket of epoxy and start pouring directly into the river cavity. It is best to pour as slowly as possible to prevent any splashes or drops spilling onto the wood or outside areas. This will also help prevent too many air bubbles from forming. Allow the resin to slowly flow down and level itself inside the bottom of the river. Continue pouring the epoxy until it rises to fill the entire cavity.
After a couple of minutes, I then take a heat gun or hairdryer and apply heat to the areas where air bubbles have formed. You must use extreme caution not to keep the heat applied to one area for too long and keep the heat gun moving at all times. If you expose the epoxy to too much heat, this can cause burning and warping of the resin. After expelling all the air bubbles I return to the project several more times every 10-15 minutes and repeat this procedure carefully until the epoxy starts to harden. We then allow the resin to dry completely in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This can take up to several days depending on the brand you have chosen.
Step 6: Removing the board from the formwork
Firstly, remove any clamps and wood used to hold the board down in place. Then remove any screws from the frame itself and carefully separate the frame sides from the base and board.
Then to separate the base from the board I used a rubber mallet and plastic chisel on one corner, and then slowly worked my way around the board with the tools lifting it from the frame base. Use caution doing this step not to scratch or crack your serving board.
Step 7: board cutting and sanding
For this step, I started with a long ruler to mark out the outline of my board and handle. You can choose whatever shape you wish, from round to rectangular with straight cut edges or irregular ones. Once you have your shape drawn out you can start cutting. I used a circular saw for the straight cuts and then changed to a jigsaw for the round parts of my handle. Lastly, I used my drill for the hole in the handle and routed the edges of the board.
Now we have our basic shape we can then move on to sanding. I use an orbital sander and work my way down from a heavy grit to a really fine one until your piece is flat on both sides and a silky smooth feel is achieved.
Step 8: finishing your board
Depending on the look you are trying to achieve from here will determine what type of finishing work is required. If you want that glass-like finish then applying a finishing layer of epoxy to both sides will achieve this. I chose to go with a slightly less glossy look and used a product called Odie’s Oil. This seals the wood and protects it and it is also food safe and can be used on all wood surfaces, which was perfect for this serving board. I used a soft cloth and applied it evenly across the entire board and only one coat was required.
After your finishing coat has dried your serving board will be ready for your next get together, BBQ or dinner party! I hope you find this Tutorial helpful when you start your journey to building your own beautiful epoxy resin wood serving board