This project is a pair of bedside shelves made from maple and epoxy resin. This wood has a bunch of beetle holes in it, some of which I filled with silver wire as an accent. Let’s get started.
For this project, you will need:
- Flat wooden boards (I used maple)
- Epoxy resin
- Measuring cup/mixing containers
- Stirrers and scrapers (I used chopsticks and a cut-up plastic food container)
- Glue syringes
- Plastic sheeting
- Painting risers (I 3D printed mine)
- Heat gun
- Rubbing alcohol for cleanup
- Paper towels
- 18ga silver wire
- Starbond CA glue in “thin” viscosity (keep it in the fridge!)
- Orbital sander with various grits of sandpaper
- Dust extractor
- Circular saw
- Power drill
- Drywall anchors
- Pocket hole jig (optional depending on your mounting conditions)
- Pocket hole screws
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Cut and Plane Lumber
These boards came from the same tree as my cross-cut cookie table. They’ve been stored outside since about 2012, and by now the moisture content is super low, but at some point, likely when the board was fresher, these boards became a tasty snack for an unknown number of powderpost beetles. The last time I visited, in February, My dad helped me pick out a few boards and square up one of the edges.
I took the boards home, and eventually got around to finishing this project a few months later. During different times, I might seek a visit to a shop with a thickness planer, but I settled for leveling the top surface of each shelf board with my handheld power planer.
3D Printed Dust Port Adapter
This is the project that really tipped the scales for me to make a 3D printed adapter to my dust collector, because the planer makes big chips that fill up the bag really fast. Plus the vacuum does a much better job of capturing all the chips, so that I don’t have to clean up wet sawdust on my roof.
Once the boards were flat on one side and all the planer marks were sanded out, I took them inside and marked the rough positions of the shelves within the boards.
Most folks might not choose to make a project out of this beetle-bored wood, but I wanted to embrace the holes instead.
I happened to have some silver wire leftover from some jewelry projects that matches the average beetle hole size perfectly. I filled some of the holes by sticking the wire in and cutting it flush with the top of the board. I tried to scatter the bits around to create a sort of constellation effect, and just kept going until I used up all the wire. Then I used some extra liquidy CA glue to drip around the silver bits so they would be sure to stay put during later steps.
Fill Beetle Holes With Resin
Next I set to filling the beetle holes with epoxy for the first round. I’m using ArtResin because it’s got less noxious fumes than most epoxy resins, and it is also less yellowing over time. I followed the manufacturer’s instructions, and was sure to mix it for the full three minutes. I used a glue syringe to get resin into each tiny beetle hole. This process was oddly satisfying and didn’t take as long as I thought it would, however the wood sucks up a lot of resin at first, so I did go over the holes a few times to fill them as much as possible. The work time on this resin is about 45 minutes, and I used a heat gun to pop bubbles along the way.
I let that resin cure and then came back with another pass to finish filling each hole so that it was at least flush with the surface, if not domed over.
Shaping and Sanding
When all the holes were filled and cured, I cut the shelves to their final shapes before sanding. Then I filled the holes and cracks at each end of each shelf.
Pour Epoxy Resin
I had a dust tent set up for my earlier steps, but it’s really a lot more necessary for the final full coats of resin. I brushed on a thin coat to the underside first. This will prevent the wood from absorbing moisture from the air unevenly, which could warp the shelf over time. Once that was cure, I used some tape around the bottom edges to catch drips, and mixed up a fresh batch of resin to pour and spread across the top and sides. I used my heat gun once again to pop the bubbles that came to the surface.
A few hours later I pulled of the drip tape and did a second coat of resin to level out any areas that had soaked up more that others. The resin is hard to the touch after 24 hours and completely cured after 72.
Attach to the Wall
Since these shelves will each touch an interior corner, I used pocket holes along each edge to mount them the wall, trying to find at least one stud and using anchors for the rest.
These shelves are a welcome addition to our tiny Brooklyn bedroom, which really isn’t big enough to host a proper nightstand or bedside table. These shelves are the perfect size to hold the essentials and I think they help elevate the otherwise mostly undecorated bedroom. I’d love to hear your thoughts and resin project ideas in the comments below.
If you like this post, you may be interested in some of my others:
- Plywood storage wall
- Live Edge Maple and Epoxy Table
- 3D Printed Dust Port Adapter
- NYC Rental Apartment Hunting and Moving Survival Guide
- Geometric Succulent Planter