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Why Add Plastic to a Piece of Wood?

In our journey to create a beautiful live edge table using a slice of tree, we note many craftsmen are using epoxy resin as an integral part of a live edge table.  And right up front, let’s be clear on what epoxy resin is; it is plastic. 

So, why add plastic to an otherwise beautiful piece of wood built by nature?  There are several reasons, but only one we feel is important: to ensure that the table top is level and therefore functional.

Live Edge is Unaltered

Because a live edge table is truly an unaltered slice of a tree, there will be all types of “defects” in the tree, ones we actually think create a beautiful thing.  Nature has a way of allowing insects, growth patterns, branches, wet and dry seasons, and so on to create a wide variety of, well, variety in the look of a tree. 

Using Epoxy Resin or Polypoxides

Sometimes, when a tree is cut to allow us to make a live edge table, there will be holes, voids, knots that are loose or have fallen out and so forth, that require us do to something to create a smooth flat surface in your table.  Today that something is usually epoxy; or more technically epoxy resins, also known as polyepoxides.

Creating a Flat Surface

At JCDC Woodworks we do not add epoxy quickly or without looking to see if we can find another way to create a flat surface for your table.  Our basic approach is to allow nature to be nature and craft a table that will accentuate nature’s design, rather than change that design.  Recently, we were working on a table with a void in the wood, which created an oblong dish and was clearly something we needed to change to allow the table top to be flat, eliminating a place for all things dusty to collect.  We added blue epoxy to fill in the void.

If we are trying to retain a fully organic approach to our tables, we need to be organic in as many ways as possible.  So, while we will add epoxy to a table for it to be more usable and functional, we will always strive to be as organic and as environmentally friendly as possible.