We Made A Red Carbon Fiber Table With Stone Coat Epoxy
Step #1: Planning Your Project
There’s two ways to go about building your table using ¾” MDF: doubling up two sheets or making a drop edge. In the video for this tutorial we created a drop edge so that we could teach how it’s done, also it saves some wood and makes the table lighter. We made our table a freeform shape to really emphasize the carbon fiber pattern. Whatever size your carbon fiber sheet is, you’re going to want to cut your table small enough so that a significant “apron” of the carbon fiber mesh hangs well over the edge. This apron will be cut off later.
Step #2A: Doubling Up Your substrate (Option A)
Cut the substrate into two rectangles of equal size. We like to use MDF (medium density fiberboard) because it's smooth and solid all the way through. I get it in 3/4" thick sheets. Set aside one of the rectangles and draw out your freeform shape in the other. We’re going to cut out the freeform shape using a jigsaw and sand the edge to smooth out any jagged parts from the jigsaw. Next, glue the freeform shape on top of the other piece of MDF using your favorite wood glue (here we're using Titebond II Premium Wood Glue). After the MDF sheets are glued, drive some pin nails through the two sheets for extra strength. Since we're going through two stacked sheets of ¾” MDF, we're gonna use 1¼”, 23-gauge micro pins in our pin gun. Pin a perimeter about an inch away from the edges and then distribute some pins inside that perimeter for good measure. Thoroughly wipe any excess glue off of the seams so that the dried glue doesn’t interfere with routering the bottom sheet into our freeform shape. These MDF sheets will be bonded together at maximum strength once the glue sets.
Step #2B: Making A Drop Edge (Option B)
Cut the substrate into two rectangles. One will be our freeform shape and the other will be cut into strips for the drop edge. We like to use MDF (medium density fiberboard) because it's smooth and solid all the way through. I get it in ¾” thick sheets. Set aside the drop edge section and draw out your freeform shape in the other. We’re going to cut out the freeform shape using a jigsaw and sand the edge to smooth out any jagged parts from the jigsaw. Next, go ahead and cut your drop edge strips out of the other rectangle (2½” should be wide enough for these). Place your first strip so that it hangs slightly over the edge of the freeform shape, trace a line so that you know where to place your glue (here we're using Titebond II Premium Wood Glue), then glue the strip and pin nail it in place using 1¼”, 23-gauge micro pins. Thoroughly wipe excess glue from the joint and then repeat the process until the entire perimeter of the freeform shape is covered. Cut drop edge pieces at angles as necessary so that they fit each other tightly. Pin a perimeter around the edges for good measure. Thoroughly wipe any excess glue off of the joints and seams so that the dried glue doesn’t interfere with routering the drop edge into our freeform shape. The MDF pieces will be bonded together at maximum strength once the glue sets.
Step #3: Trim Excess & Roundover With Router
Once your glue is all dry, set your project on a good surface for routering (I like to use a sheet of insulation foam on my shop table where I make cuts). Use a top bearing flush trim bit on a router to cut the excess MDF off of the edges of your freeform shape. This is best done in multiple passes to minimize stress on the router bit. Next, sand the edge until flush and then change to a roundover bit on the router. Test the roundover on a scrap of MDF to make sure the curve comes out smooth and then router the top edge of the project. You can use your favorite super glue to fill in any joints that may have voids and sand off any excess glue for an extra smooth finish. At this point, the tabletop is complete. Now we’ll apply the carbon fiber.
Step #4: Apply Carbon Fiber
Prop your project up on buckets, paint cans, or something similar so that the carbon fiber cloth will hang freely off the edges. Mix up two ounces per square foot of our Stone Coat Quick Coat using a paint stick, so as not to entrain a lot of air. Quick Coat sets up fast, so be ready to pour and squeegee before you start mixing. Once the quick coat is mixed, pour it directly onto the MDF surface and spread from the center outwards using a squeegee, or similar tool. Avoid pushing the epoxy over the edge of the project before the entire top surface is coated, so as to not waste any. Using either the squeegee or a gloved hand, rub the epoxy into the edges of the project. Lay the carbon fiber fabric as evenly as possible over the surface and press it into the epoxy using the squeegee. At this point, the Quick Coat should be starting to set up. Continue to carefully press the cloth over the surface and edges until no wrinkles remain and the cloth is confidently glued. Step back and let the Quick Coat set up over the next few hours.
Step #5: First Flood Coat
Mix a batch of clear Stone Coat Countertop Epoxy at a 1:1 ratio. Measure 3 ounces of epoxy per square foot, and mix for 2 minutes with a paddle mixer and drill. Pour the clear epoxy on the center of the project, use a ⅛” notch trowel to once more mix the puddle of epoxy and then evenly spread it from the center outwards. Use the heel of our Chop Brush to chop the surface in a random fashion, which will remove trowel lines and mix one last time. Don’t forget to pull any loose bristles from the brush and also remember to brush the edges of the project. At this point, use a propane torch to pop any air bubbles in the epoxy. Sweep the torch from side to side 2-3'' from the surface. Let stand for about 5 minutes and then repeat torching at least 2 more times, waiting five minutes between each torching.
Step #6: Repeat Flood Coats
Once the first flood coat is dry it’s time to remove that apron. I used a grinder disk and one of our 50-grit sanding disks to first cut off most of the apron and then cut the remaining bits and sand flush to the bottom of the project. Once the bottom is flush, flip the project over and sand the flood coat, being careful not to burn through to the cloth. When sanding clear coats, I recommend starting at 60-grit and working up to 220-grit disks. Sand the roundover edge by hand, turn your sander speed down for the edge of the project, and be sure to sand the top surface last so as to remove any scratch marks from hand-sanding the roundover. Once the project is all sanded, simply repeat the flood coat step (#5) and let the epoxy dry again. That should be enough flood coats, but if more are needed then just sand and coat again until the surface is as smooth as glass.
Step #7: Install and enjoy
Once the last flood coat is all dry, your new carbon fiber table is ready to install!
You got this!