Finishing walnut waterfall river table

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I’m making a waterfall river table with a walnut slab I found with some really unusual grain, what I like to call crotch rot. The slab was cut from the trunk of a tree, where a limb was growing from, and the slab was an unusual shape with holes throughout the piece. So, I ended up cutting it in half, flip the live edges towards one another, and I had to flip one side 180 degrees in order for it to be the size I wanted. I’ve already filled the voids with epoxy, along with the center “river” portion. I’ve also sanded the epoxy down to 2000 grit and taped over it so I can focus on the wood finish. I’ve gone over it with 220 grit sandpaper in some areas and a cabinet scraper in most since the grain is unusual. 

Just for testing purposes, I had another piece of walnut that I applied different finishes to. I applied some with grain filler in some spots, BLO, shellac, etc, but since this table with be in my living room where people can set drinks, etc, I don’t think shellac will be durable enough, especially since some of these drinks will be alcohol. Does anyone have any suggestions how I should finish this walnut and seal the grain so it’ll be durable enough for everyday use?02441ACB-2A9E-4C78-AE8B-7A4E78B1CBB6.thumb.jpeg.e962767caa17d15e8d9b2823b7006422.jpeg02441ACB-2A9E-4C78-AE8B-7A4E78B1CBB6.thumb.jpeg.e962767caa17d15e8d9b2823b7006422.jpeg




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General Finishes Arm R Seal or Minwax Wipe On Poly, 4 coats would be what I'd shoot for. I'd set drinks strait on it no coasters and never flinch.

If that's epoxy in the center you'll want to sand it to a pretty high grit to get it to look good under any finish.

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11 hours ago, roldogg said:

Thanks! Yes, it’s epoxy. I’ve already sanded it up to 2000, which is why I taped over it while I was sanding down the walnut.

I was wondering what the tape was for. That's a good idea I'm gonna have to try and remember that.

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  • 2 months later...

Nice Work! I must say I'm not a fan of the epoxy river table stuff but this is a better way to use the technique and i like it. I think you did a good job with the epoxy pour to get some texture in the fill as well as a decent thickness of lumber. Most of these river tables seem too heavy handed using 2" thick slabs that just look clunky.


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