How to Make Waterfall and River Tables


hey everyone my name is Matt today we’ll
be making three individual waterfall tables and two variations on a river
table these were a recent project in the Wood Whisperer guild and I’ll tell you a
bit about the guild later on in this video so let’s get started. Back in
November of 2015 I picked up an ash log with my newly built log trailer and slabbed
it up in my backyard with my chainsaw mill and my dad giving me a hand.
These were stacked outdoors for a bit over a year before I brought them
indoors to finish drying. The second slab from the bottom on the shorter log is
the slab that I’ll be using for the ash waterfall table. In the spring of 2016 I
picked up some small logs from an orchard. These sat my driveway for almost
a year while I built my bandsaw mill. In one of my first videos showing the
band sawmill in use I cut this log which would become the two river tables. The
first table we’re gonna take a look at is the ash waterfall table. I
started by trimming the ends to remove the damaged material. Before I do the
surfacing on the slab I’ll do an initial fill of epoxy. I’ve applied masking tape to
the underside and ends of the slab and I’m filling from the bottom side. I’ll do
two fills at this orientation. the first will be pretty light that will flow down
and contact the tape further sealing the crack. once that epoxy has set I can pour
it much heavier fill completely fill in the cracks without worrying with epoxy
seeping past the tape once that’s cured I can flip the slab over and fill any
areas where the epoxy didn’t flow to and fill any areas don’t run all the way
through a slab next up is flattening and surfacing the slab sits on my flat
assembly table and a shim to keep it from rocking this slab has a bit of
twist that the router sled will remove my passes over the slab with the router
to remove the high spots and keep lowering the bit until I’ve covered the
entire surface once that side has done the slack and
flipped over and the process can be repeated I stopped the bit before the
entire service was cleaned up so I could include some saw marks towards the edge
of the slab as a reminder of the Slavs backstory after a quick sanding to
remove the milling marks some mineral spirits helps to give a preview of the
green I’ll clean up the epoxy from the ends and do a little touch-up work on
the surface next I’ll add some decorative butterflies to the crack
which would be in the leg of the table I had an off cut from the high boy that
has some crotch figure in it and used those to create the butterflies I’ll add
the shape that I want on each of them and cut them out the little one was a little too small to
cut my bandsaw so I did with the saw and a chisel the butterflies get stuck down
where I want them to go with carpet tape and that shape is traced onto the slab
with a knife a router is used to remove the bulk of the waste and the final
cleanup can be done back to the lines for some chisels I’ll knock off the
bottom edges of the butterflies apply glue to the mortises and Hammer the
butterflies then after the glue dries and they’re flushed up here’s how they
look that’s nice that’s gonna be nice absolutely gorgeous next a little prep
work on the live edge I’ll remove the residual bark and sand the edge smooth
the top edge is sharp and fragile and so I’ll knock off the edge of the
spokeshave and blend it with some hand sanding on to the waterfall joint I’m
cutting this one with a circular saw and a straight edge and the straight edge
just happens to be the track for a track saw next I’ll make the second cuts are
moved to a wedge of waste this cut needs to be aligned perfectly so a blade cuts
along the existing angled cut right next to the surface of the slab and parallel
to the first cut to make checking to fit easier I’ll attach the clamping cauls
now these ones extend to the cut together router I’ll be using two custom
mortises a bit of extra support and to protect the edge of the slab clapping
the two parts together I can see the cuts meet up nicely in the middle they
are open on the ends this can be corrected with the handplant and I’ll
check the cut as I go to make sure it’s flat also verify the angles the same along
its length after tweaking both sides the two parts
come together perfectly with no gap along the top sides or bottom on this
table I’ll use the router with an edge guide to cut the mortises for folding
tendons which will reinforce the joint to get ready for the glue up the extra
bit of the calls can be cut away so the grain of the slab is visible and make
sure you left to right alignment it’s correct for the glue I’m using epoxy
which should give me all the working time I could possibly need to get this
together and make sure the grain is aligned as it travels across the joint once the epoxy sets the rest of the
calls can be removed by splitting down one of the plies the remaining veneers
are quickly chewed through by the sander as I do the final surface prep they get
the table ready for finish one last check with some mineral spirits to look
for any tear-out or glue residue that I might have missed before I finish I’m
using my usual 5 coats of armour seal standing between each coat with 600 grit
sandpaper as I mentioned in the beginning these waterfall tables were
recently a project in the Wood Whisperer guild if you’re not familiar with the
guild let me tell you a bit about it while the finish brings the stable to
life the guilds and online community centered around high-quality
instructional videos that walk you step-by-step through a project projects
come with detailed plans and cutlass and there are many member benefits like live
demos access to our Facebook community and some pretty nice industry discounts
there are many projects that choose from and you can save money by bundling
multiple projects together if you’re not ready to purchase
object and become a member there’s also a free picture frame project which I’ll
give you a great feel for what the gilt is time to make a real base for this
table I’m getting the stock for the base from this reject cherry slab that I’ve
had for a few years I decided on the overall trapezoidal
shape and drew a full skill image of it on my assembly table I can use this
drawing to get all the final lengths for each part and the angle will display the
joinery on the base will be bridle joints so I’ll lay out and scribe the
shoulders of each joint use a table saw to cut the walls of each part and remove
the ball for the waist at the bench I’ll print up back to the
shoulder lines of each part for the glue up on this I’ll use calls again to align
the clamping force once the glue sets the calls can be removed the whole base
finished prepped and finished can be applied I’ll attach the base with counterbored
socket head cap screws and this table is done that’s that’s nice next we’ll take
a look at the resin River waterfall table the process for this one is pretty
similar to the first after the initial defect filling with
epoxy the slack we flattened on the assembly table with the router slid
these cross sections developed a fair amount of warp as i’d expect from an
area of the tree with a good amount of stress in it
so it did end up losing a good amount of thickness as I was doing a flat bang and
surfacing with the surface thing out of the way I can focus on the epoxy core
are you shaving tape to create a form between the two limbs and clamp the slab
down to the bench I’ll be doing the fill in two pours this first one will be thin
and we’ll just serve to further create a barrier up against the tape so I won’t
have to worry as much about the epoxy leaking out I had a couple metallic
pigments mix it up and put the cup in the vacuum chamber to pull the air
bubbles out I’ll pour that in and let it sit for about a day until it’s pretty
well gelled up and then start on the main pour the epoxy I’m using for this
river is eco-park C’s liquid plastic I’m mixing at a two to one ratio for a
harder cure 1 to 10 the pigments I’m using are equal parts of pearl X true
blue and turquoise again the air is pulled out in the vacuum chamber and
then it’s time to pour the biggest advantage of using a product
like this is this long set time this allows you to do thick pores without
having to worry about heat buildup that could cause curing issues over the next
day I’ll watch for any bubbles that rise out of the epoxy and pop them with a
torch after about four days the epoxy has cured and I can remove the tape as
the epoxy went through its final cure it shrunk below the surface of the slab so
ran the whole thing through the planer to flush everything up
and here’s help the slab and the epoxy look with some mineral spirits applied
now it’s on to the waterfall joint this time I’m using a track saw to make the
process a bit easier the cut was pretty darn good up the saw
but I gave it a few passes with the plane just to further clean things up the reinforcement on this waterfall
joint is done with the Domino again just an easier method next I can attach the
clamping cauls and get the two parts glued together I’ll remove the calls and double-check
things with some mineral spirits next I’ll work on polishing the epoxy to
bring back its luster I stand as the wood to 180 grit and I’ll take the epoxy
up to 1,000 grit working through the grits and quitting off the surface after
each grit and lastly it’s time to get some finish on this one next up is the glass River table this
one’s going to be pretty close to the last one a big difference on this one is
I didn’t fully surface both sides I surfaced the top side and didn’t fully
clean up the underside so I could preserve some more thickness the
waterfall joint goes exactly the same way as the last one except now instead
of cutting through resin I’m cutting through crotch now that this thing is glued up into an
L I can work on coming up with a shape for the glass I’m creating a pattern
that follows the grain of the wood out of MDF once I have the shape finalized I
can take this template to a glass shop and have them cut a matching piece of
glass that can be inlaid into the table a couple of weeks later that piece of
MDF has been transformed into a piece of glass and I can get started on the inlay
I’ll start working on my inlaid sample by routing around the perimeter of the
glass since the glass was hand-cut using the
glass and said the MDF template in case there are any discrepancies to make the
inlay process easier I’ll take the templates a step further
and make a perfectly sized negative template this will make it easier to
position the glass exactly in the right spot and I can test fit the glass to
make sure everything fits correctly I have to tweak that negative template a
bit to get the fit perfect but once it was perfect I could stick the template
down to the slab in exactly where position and route the rabbet the glass
will sit in with a pattern bit a little finesse work and this table is
ready for finish now those two crotch tables need basis
these ones we made from steel and will have a similar trapezoidal shape I’ll
again draw a full-sized image of what I’m after and since the base will have
mitered corners the drawing also makes it easy to bisect the overall angle so I
can pick up the miter angle with a bevel gauge and strands for that to my saw
I’ll make all the cuts on the bandsaw for both bases the base of the epoxy
River table is mirror so the length of the top and bottom pieces are shorter
but the side pieces are exactly the same I’ll drill the mounting holes through
the top and clean off all a mill scale before weld them together I grind the welds flush and then it’s
time to finish on the bigger one I’m doing a baked on boiled linseed oil
finish the base sat in my oven for about an hour at 550 degrees before I quickly
pulled it out and white boiled linseed oil onto the surface
this gives the base and almost bronze look the other one I want to leave just
as a bright brush steel type look so I clean it off and apply a few coats of
shellac so this video is actually cut down from the 17 videos on building
these three tables over in the guild so if you want a more in-depth look at the
construction of all three of these tables all different variations and all
different tables definitely check it out to be a link to that down in the
description so I’m really happy with the way that all three of these turned out I
think though my favorite is gonna be the glass inlay River table just something
about having the crotch figure just come right over the corner here with this
really nice piece of glass I think the color of the blue in this glass and the
just overall transparency there this makes a really nice compliment up
against the album for of the wood so this is probably favorite probably the
Astra is my second favorite it has those really subtle
crotch would bow ties in the leg and I think that adds a nice subtle feel to it
and there’s some really cool figure and some really interesting stain down here
as well overall I do like all three of them so that’s it for this one thank you
as always for watching I greatly appreciate it if you’ve any questions or
comments but anything in the video please feel free leave me your comments
and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have and until next
time happy working

100 thoughts on “How to Make Waterfall and River Tables

  1. Wow, so cool and so much work!! Loved to learn about the way you glued the miters and made the perfect pocket for the glass piece.

  2. Haha, my favourite is the river waterfall table. But yeah, they're all beautiful!
    I'm impressed how well you keep track of everything. Not only did you find the footage from years ago when you cut the slabs, you know exactly which tree and cut it was. That's pretty cool 😀

  3. I agree with you on the crotch table being the best, using the actual wood grain of the crotch to represent the water fall looks much better and more natural, beautiful.

  4. Yeah…maybe I had one to many beers…so What !! I Love you Man !!! Totally awesome. I just cut down a walnut tree in my back yard and I have been staring at it trying to think what I could make, Now I know !!!

  5. have you ever done one of these with a matched cookie as the "fall" side?

  6. Great Work.
    In the guild project do you explain why you switched from painters tape when doing the epoxy void fill to doing the epoxy river pour?
    I'm looking to fill the cavernous gaps in my first attempt at hand-cut dovetails and wondering which tape to use (to mask off any overflow).

  7. Hello people.

    Can I please have some advise?

    I need to make a resin kitchen table. It will have some 1 inch wood on the middle of the resin pour (2 inches thick), the rest will be the resin itself. On one side it will be suported by a metal base attached to the wall and on the other side I will have the same resin desing as one single, same width leg.

    It doesnt have to be a 45° joint, the top can be just placed on the leg. How would you reccomend to attach the leg to the top of the bar? it is basically resin with resin and some wood in between. I was thinking poket holes maybe, but dont tant to crack the resin with the screws accidentally.

    It will be heavy, 2 meter top piece. Thank you for your time, everyone.

  8. you're always so precise. i admire your attention to detail. it's oddly–reassuring, somehow.

  9. Matt, have you considered milling the sharp corner of the waterfall with a 3/4" or 1" radius router bit to give the appearance of a more natural flow of the waterfall ? The boards are thick enough to sustain the material removal and may produce an interesting touch to an otherwise beautiful piece of work. Love to see videos !

  10. Great video. Very helpful. What type of glue and how much glue did you use for the clamping cauls? Also, what type of finish did you use for the epoxy river table?

  11. Nice work 🙂 Could you explain why you used epoxy glue instead of wood glue for the joins of the one leg?

  12. Thanks for the waterfall tips. I’m using those this weekend. I’ll tag you on IG. Have a nice weekend 👍🏻

  13. Hi Matt what is the name of the guild you were talking about I couldn't make it out on your video. Thank you again for great videos

  14. This edit is packed with a huge amount of content. Great stuff! I don't think I've seen glue applied temporarily on a surface prior to finishing before but now I have! Seems brave after completing the joinery to contend with glue but it apparently sanded fine! Now I'll watch the 2nd half.:)

  15. great video!! what was the overall size of the project in terms of the slab, it would be a great help

  16. Hello
    What do you do with wood, that after making a table, the wood does not break and does not deform?
    Does the oil itself prevent cracking?

  17. Well, I've been making different furniture and wooden pieces most of my life and I don't think any of them were as good as your work Matt. Great imagination and ability. Your a natural craftsman mate if there is such a thing. Well done and Good Luck in the future.

  18. Beautiful from very start to finish. I am daunted not just by the amount and technicality of the work, but by the thought that, after ALLL THIS WORK, someone twenty years from now will say "Why did the maker pick blue? I dislike blue. I don't like this table." Fickle buyers are what artists and craftsmen face.

  19. i wish i could have a shop and do stuff like this. absolutely love your work and your videos, i just found you a couple of days ago and ive been loving them. Good work man keep em coming

  20. Should have stuck with the bucket leg! Other then that great video, once again.

  21. how much would one sell this for thank you Andrew Northern Ireland

  22. Stunning use of wood…impressed by your skill..master carpenter and designer. Fabulous work.

  23. Sweet video! Adding to the list of questions: how many teeth are on that circular saw used to cut the slab for the waterfall joint? I'm curious to know if what I have is enough to make a clean cut

  24. So glad I found this, I’m making some similar pieces now for my church, glad to see the process

  25. Hey Matt, Thanks for the video. At 8:50 the table is done. When you cut the water fail leg, the 45 degree, how do you know where to make the cut? I assume it can't be 90 degrees to either side. I just don't see how the table is level and the leg is flat on the floor.

  26. Hey, can you tell me what your normal finishing process is and does it vary if you are working on epoxy surfaces?

  27. Well sir that is a very smooth operation you have there. Although a great inspiration, I assure you very few will manage your craft as well as you have mastered .

  28. A technique of shellac around the perimeter of the poor so as to prevent any type of die impregnation of the surrounding wood then building a caulk dam around the poor and slightly over pouring. To either be plained or sanded down to perfect. Killer video!

  29. Very practical and artistic tables – thank you for taking the time to post this!

  30. I like you differences in each of them, Matt. Good workmanship as always.

  31. Wow. Like really. Wow. You're doing exactly what I want to be doing. And now I think I've found my teacher. All right sweet cheeks, let's do this.

  32. I like the creative use of the Festool Domino to hold up the end of a table

  33. Wonderful ! That's exactly what I love doing but without such a workshop , such machines and such skills , even such oversize ash slabs , I needed some time till I understood "waterfall table " (I'm French) , well , all videos of the kind I watch tell me , the US is a good place to be for DIY fans !

  34. "gill"? Hmm okay a communitiy, i'll check it out. 33 links in description – Nevermind..

  35. Wow, I'm stoked to have discovered your page. Really nice stuff man. Hey I was wondering how you liked your Grizzly 20" planer.

  36. Great video, Matt! Were these slabs air or kiln dried? If air dried, have you noticed any issues with wood movement and the epoxy?

  37. Hi Matthew, good stuff. would you share the name of the product you use for the finish?

  38. How do you keep the face of the waterfall table/leg from tearing out when you remove those plywood braces? Wood glue is so strong, and breaking the bond usually tears out wood from both sides.

  39. what type of epoxy did you use on the waterfall mitre joint? does that require any special cleanup for the squeeze out?

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