Denim Epoxy Table Is A Work Of Art

Epoxy has become a hugely popular material in the woodworking and furniture worlds. Who doesn’t love glossy, translucent finishes, after all? [Cam] recently spotted some neat combinations of epoxy with denim, and decided to see if he could replicate the technique to create a very unique desk. We’d say he succeeded.

A significant amount of material was involved, with [Cam] claiming he used 1,000 square feet of denim and 20 gallons of epoxy. The denim was sourced as a bulk roll, making it easy to cut to the proper size to make the desk. Liquid Glass epoxy was used for its visual qualities and its hard-wearing nature.

Combining the two materials was a challenging task. The 50 layers of denim had to be squeegeed one at a time to remove excess epoxy, a process made harder by the thickness of the material. Once all laid up, the stack of denim was compressed between sheets of wood, leading to an epoxy spill of monumental proportions.

Regardless, when the final desk was cleaned up and polished, the results were well worth the trouble. It looks like some kind of crazy denim gem thanks to the rich shine and perfect grain. It’s a material we’d like to play with ourselves.

34 thoughts on “Denim Epoxy Table Is A Work Of Art

  1. I saw that one a few weeks ago and I found the table quite boring.
    The table would have been a lot more interesting if he just put whole trousers into the table instead of first cutting small pieces out of trousers and then discarding the idea all together.

    It also reminds me of although that is traditionally delivered in only a borish brown color for almost 100 years…

    I also wonder why this guy makes such a mess of things. He has got years of experience with working with wood and epoxy, and yet he claims a lot of his projects “fail”. I have a strong suspicion he does it on purpose, as people tend to have a tendency to like watching and gloating over the failures of others.

    It may also be a ploy for price differentiation. He can sell a “perfect” table for USD20.000 or so, and for the people who do not want to spend that much, he also has a “failed” variant with flaws for half or a third of that money… “quite cheap”…

    1. Addition, I’ve also wondered why this guy never de-gasses his epoxy in a vacuum pot.
      Squeegeeing the textile layers one at a time also seems ridiculous, has this guy never heard of vacuum impregnation?

      Don’t get me wrong, this guy does make amazing stuff. Maybe it’s just me that I can’t get my head around the way he does things. Apparently he does have a “formula” that works.

  2. What a waste of denim, especially considering it’s one of the most environmentally controversial fabrics you can work with.
    I thought at first “yeah, great… he’s recycling a load of thrift store jeans” and then he scraps that idea because he mucked up the calculations, and buys a bulk roll of denim from a supplier for 550 bucks, then an absolute shit-tonne of epoxy? And the mess he made of his garage? hahahaha!
    And use the proper gloves designed for working with chemicals for $deity’s sake!
    Why not just make a small-scale version first to see if it’s even practical?
    What an idiot. He even admits he knows what he’s doing is wrong which makes him even more of an idiot.

    1. Apparently, denim is only as inefficient as it is because we don’t produce it in an environmentally friendly way, even though we could. As long-lasting clothes, it’s still decent.

      That said, no point in these supplies wasted just for looks and not even strength.

    2. Some of you guys must be great fun at a party.

      Host: “May I get you a drink?”

      Hackaday Commentor: “Only if the vodka was produced with sustainably grown organic potatoes, distilled with solar or wind-generated energy, and served with fruit juice grown using fair-trade practices by indigenous peoples, served in a glass containing at least 75% post-consumer recycled glass… and hold the ice. Not only is ice production energy intensive and wasteful but we will need as much ice as possible to rebuild/repair the damage to the polar caps due to global warming. Oh… and wipe that WTF expression off your face or I’ll simply declare you an idiot.”

      This guy built a cool-looking table using a shop, tools, and materials he paid for. I believe he then gave it away as a gift. He actually MADE something which made another human happy, which is why Hackaday’s editors presumed the content would be of interest to readers. Not my cup of tea as far as projects go, but I found this interesting.

      Was this project wasteful of materials? Yes. Will planing epoxy composite ruin his planer? Maybe. But so what? Half of Youtube is already comprised of video of people destroying perfectly good stuff. I saw a video last week of a guy that used his Youtube-bucks to buy a pristine Model T…and then smash it for the “fun” of it. Made me sick to see it. This table guy, in contrast, at least had a productive purpose.

      Are there better/preferential techniques to do what he was doing? Almost certainly. But that doesn’t make him an “idiot.” That makes him like most real creators on Hackaday… people who attempt projects that they aren’t necessarily qualified to do, but have the will to navigate far enough into the learning process to reach their goal.

      As to the viewers of videos like his, I can learn as much from other people’s mistakes as their successes, which is why I appreciate seeing both.

  3. Mixed feelings about this…

    Aesthetically, the result is really beautiful.

    – Denim is made of cotton, which requires a log of pesticides and consumes a lot of water to grow. So using so much denim for creating a furniture is already not a great idea.
    – Denim is initially fully recyclable, and still is when used for clothes. But once impregnated with epoxy, it is no more
    – A hell lot of epoxy was used and a considerable amount was simply wasted
    – Epoxy is made from oil (unsustainable resource), and is completely not recyclable. Most of the time it end up in a landfill, which is the worst way to get rid of wastes.
    It also seems that all the processing of this epoxy will generate a lot of micro-plastic particles (polishing…), and likely some amount of them will be released in the environment, especially in these mostly improvised facilites. Same for some chemicals involved here.

    So, does art, aestheticism and craftmanship are enough to justify and counterbalance the waste of so much precious resources (while generating a lot pollution to produce) and generate what will be at the very end a huge chunk of non-recyclable waste? I don’t think so.

    It’s not because it is doable that it should be done, even if the result is pleasing to look at.

    1. Apparently, that’s only the popular way to mass farm cotton; if you do things more organically you can reduce the water by an order of magnitude. And IIRC the chemistry is such that you could really turn it blue with the same chemical and a lot less waste.
      That said, no point in this much layers and supplies wasted just for looks and not even strength.

    2. If he was building up to the manufacturing of a large volume product, I could see your point. But this is a one off build. I believe it’s a bit disingenuous to critique the sustainability.

      Beautiful table, the inserts are a great addition and I love the leather legs.

      1. It a common bias to think that an isolated individual act has no consequence. But each individual act of every of the 8 billions people living on this planet adds up and finally do have consequences!
        Again, yes, i find the result beautiful, but i think the balance between the beauty and the wastings involved in this project is not reasonable. There are ways to use other recyclable materials and craftsmanship to achieve at the same time very beautiful AND environmentaly friendly pieces of furniture (like for instance the legs of this table!).

  4. I think making a MDF table and then using one or two layers of denim would do the trick in most cases, If you want the layered sides, you can do them with thin denim plaks made of stacks of denim, and It would be visually appealing and way less wasteful.
    Anyways, although It’s a bit wasteful, I like the final product.

    1. /\ This

      And using a structural mid layer means that the table will not crack once you put 20kg on it.

      I’m also wondering how the planer workshop accepted to plane an epoxy + denim plank. This will mix epoxy and cotton to the wood dust the machine is producing spoiling it completely with the rest of the (true) wood.

    2. It reminds me of the very early fiberglass sailboat hulls that were an inch thick solid fiberglass, before folks discovered that using a balsa wood or foam core provided great strength and a 95% reduction in glass and resin. MDF would work fine, but I’d use foam so the thing didn’t end up weighing a ton.

  5. Horses for courses of course, however the whole epoxy table thing seems incredibly bad to me. Let’s take a wonderful piece of wood and drown it in expensive plastic…. let’s take denim and cover it in liquid plastic to make a hideous table….

  6. I’ve been wanting to get some dragon style chinesey patterned silk on a canoe or car repair, etc. instead of fiberglass.. or “paisley”, “brocade” type patterns. Don’t know the nomenclature for ‘tacky dragon shirt fabric’ but when I find out.

  7. The smarter versions of these techniques are great for making handles for hand tools – fiber composites do have strength going for them.

    As handles they can be tougher to break than wood, maybe even including a lot of types of resin/epoxy stabilized woods.

    Can’t really justify the waste though, there was no need to make the center so thick even if the whole idea hadn’t been a huge resource sink from the start.

    1. Tough crowd.

      Beauty is in the eye of the bolder … So good job. Enjoy it.

      I don’t get the negativity we find here in the comments. Lots of arm chair quarterbacks evidently! He made it, looks like a well made project. Hope it lasts him a long time.

  8. Damn! Very few of our projects are things we absolutely need nor use zero resources.

    Commenters are vicious today!
    Is there a caffeine shortage or something?

    1. The real question: Is the environmental impact of this “wasteful” build greater than the environmental impact of any toy electronics project made with a bunch of ICs?

    2. I think it was the sheer wastefulness and ineptitude of this creator who should have known better.

      It kind of seems like commercialized incompetence (like, weaponized incompetence, but for financial gain). (I’ve seen creators put obvious spelling errors or other minor mistakes in on purpose so that people will comment the grammar corrections which boosts the score with the algorithm)

  9. It’s a decent build video – but this posts looks more like an advertisement for his channel than anything else. I’m not even sure if it’s “hack a day” material.

    For the posts about a desk not being recycled, I’m not sure any of the wood from office desks ever gets recycled, there would be a lot of labor to separate out non wood from metal. As a solidly built desk should last 20 years or more – the recycle ability of the desk is negligible.

  10. Save me from HackADay commenters on this post. It is almost like Facebook, I expect better.
    I think he really could have improved the process by laying out the denim and then adding the epoxy a layer at a time like a normal layup. He would have wasted a lot less epoxy that way.
    I like they way it looks but you are allowed not to. I was hoping that the cost wouldn’t be bad but good grief.
    As far as recycling this is furniture so if it holds up well it could last for at least a 100 years.
    I often wonder if we get the balance right when it comes to things like furniture. I see a ton of people buying cheap Ikea stuff and doing hacks with it. I doubt that it will last for long time. I have two night stands that my parents bought back in the 60s. They are think pine with slate tops so they must be close to 60 years old by now.
    So maybe this table will still be good in 60 years while some Ikea hack desk might last a lot less time.
    Yes he might have done it better but exactly what project can not be improved on? So chill out folks.

    1. You expected ‘warm fuzzies’?

      We’re geeks here.
      Don’t post dumb things and not expect to be called dumb.
      This is stupid youtube clickbait, HackaDay has a big problem with this type of content. At least one editor is clearly a sucker for it.

  11. Hackaday isn’t about whether something “should” have been done. It’s about what ideas or skills you can take away from watching whoever did it. And, sometimes, a little bonus schadenfreude, for those caffeine-free days.

    If you can’t see the problems when someone does something, you should perhaps not play in these fields. If you can see the problems, but never make anything, that’s on you.

  12. Just two thoughts:
    1) couldn’t he have achieved similar resist with less hastle by embedding something inside, large plank or other?
    2) doesn’t his trouble with the brass comes because he’s not using adapted bits for brass? geometry is quite different on those…

  13. I would be worried about breathing all that epoxy.
    So I checked Wikipedia and it seems the stuff is not as bad as it seems, but it does say: Epoxy use is a main source of occupational asthma among users of plastics.
    But that is prolonged working with it of course, not a single project issue. Seems it can cause allergies when you are exposed a lot.

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