Tables with character: "River tables" made in Canada

Furniture made from wood and epoxy resin

Canada, land of endless forests, national parks and home to the family business Rustic Designs by Rich. This is where local wood and epoxy resin come together to form unique items of furniture.

Keeping a cool head

Before we start, we get to choose the colour for the epoxy resin. Not an easy task – Rustic Designs offers as many as a hundred different pigments. We decide on a lush green, which we then stir into the resin with the Festool MX 1200 stirrer. Now it's time for the exciting part: The resin is about to be poured into the table mould. All around us fans start to whir and the temperature in the room noticeably drops. Griff explains why this is necessary: "The fans are important to keep the temperature consistently cool. If the resin gets too hot, it can lead to huge problems like deformations and bubbles. This is the most exciting part for us as well, because everything has to happen very quickly."

From a garage to their very own workshop

Andrea and Rich are waiting for us at the Rustic Designs workshop. They have been managing the company since 2014 – initially working from their garage. But soon enough, demand was so high that they simply had to establish their own workshop. Finally their son Griff joined the family business and brought with him the idea to incorporate epoxy resin with the wood. Rich leads us to a large tabletop secured in place with a Festool lever clamp: "It takes more than a day's work to make these tables, so we've prepared a tabletop for you into which we can pour the epoxy resin. From the first cut to completion, the whole process takes around four to seven days."

The first steps

"Our customers love the combination of epoxy resin with rustic wooden elements. The resin gives each piece of furniture its unique character," says Griff. "First, we cut the wooden board to size with the TS 75 plunge-cut saw. The cutting depth of 75 millimetres is perfect for these thick boards of solid wood. Then we use the cordless drill to assemble a frame around the table which will keep the liquid resin in the mould. All that has already happened on this table in front of us, so we can get started right away," explains Rich about the first work steps.

"It takes more than a day's work to make these tables. From the first cut to completion, the whole process takes around four to seven days." 

Rich - founder of Rustic Designs by Rich

Like a river through wood

Finally Rich pours the resin into the cut-outs in the wood. It slowly meanders into every gap. "The resin looks like water making its way through a riverbed. That's why we call our tables "river tables". These days we are pretty good at estimating how much resin we'll need just based on the size of the cut-out," says Griff, keeping an expert eye on the process. Once the resin has hardened, it's time for the ETS 150/5 EQ-Plus eccentric sander to come into play. Griff uses the Festool GRANAT abrasive with a grit of 400 to smooth out the last few uneven spots and give the table a perfect surface finish.

Getting to the root of the matter – the wood

Our day at Rustic Designs doesn't start at the workshop but rather at a nearby timber merchant. Griff shows us where the materials come from that the company works with every day. We enter a gigantic warehouse in which stacks of squared timber and planks are piled high. "We only use local wood. That wood comes from maple, black walnut or poplar trees. Walnut is the most popular choice with our customers thanks to its rich, dark colour. But for most orders, we try to recycle materials like old doors. Others might see these materials as rubbish – but for us, the wood can be sustainably reused despite its age. All you need is the right tools," explains Griff. We make our way through the warehouse, passing between the piles and enjoying the scent of wood. It's almost like breathing in the very scent of Canada's forests.