Using The Sun To Turn Epoxy Into Furniture

A transparent blue resin waterfall tabletop with a single wooden leg sits on a grey rug between two grey leather chairs.

Epoxy resins have been used to make some pretty cool furniture, but since it’s still a relatively new material, makers are still discovering new techniques to work with resin. [Cam] from Blacktail Studio may be the first person to bend fully cured epoxy using nothing but a form and the power of the sun.

Inspired by a friend’s mishap with an epoxy table left out in the sun too long, [Cam] wanted to see if he could purposely bend an epoxy sheet into an interesting shape. The tabletop was poured in sections to give an ombre look before being planed and given a preliminary surface finish. The epoxy sheet was then clamped onto a form made of kerfed plywood and left in direct sunlight on a 104°F (40°C) day. Once the sheet began to deform in the sunlight, ratchet straps and more clamps were added to conform the sheet to the bending form.

After letting the tabletop relax for a few days, [Cam] finished the surface with lots of sanding and an automotive polishing regimen. The epoxy was then attached to a single zebrawood leg to give a very modern-looking, waterfall-esque table.

More interesting projects with resin you might want to check out are this ocean-themed epoxy nightlight, how to degas epoxy on the cheap, or some techniques for cold casting with resin.

16 thoughts on “Using The Sun To Turn Epoxy Into Furniture

  1. This technique is well known in the composite aircraft and boat building area.

    Epoxy can gain strength with “post curing”, heating the epoxy after it cures. People will wrap structures in black garbage bags and put them in the sun to get a little heat into large structures.

    Too much heat though, and gravity will wreck the part.

    1. It’s the temperature that does this.
      At 11:15 he measured the epoxy to be 57°C, and he did it over the course of a full day, under significant pressure from the clamps and ratchet straps (so this is probably near the lower limit for temperature)
      You could do it in a hot tub (assuming there’s no safety limiting the temps), but keeping a tub at that temperature for a whole day is going to take a significant amount of energy. The sun is free and using it to heat things up has no environmental impact.

      1. I’d think after this process you could likely get damn close to boiling water from the ambient heat before it changes anything in the slab again – but there are so very many variables in resin work nothing is universally certain, may take a greater post cure heat cycle etc.

  2. I use a lot of epoxy in making high-power model rockets. As suggested above by Tom Brusehaver, most epoxies do not fully cure at room temperature. Post-cure heating improves strength and heat resistance. Ideally the most effective temperatures for post-cure are above the glass transition temperature, typically ca. 150C for several hours at least. Lower temperatures are still somewhat helpful, though.

    It would be interesting to determine how well the solar technique would work if the object being bent was properly post-cured. Then again, since you *want* the object to bend…why even bother with post-cure?

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