How do you engineer a table from 1000 ft of denim and 20 gal of epoxy?
Cam at Blacktail Studio is known for making extremely high-end furniture. Typically he creates tables from large slabs of walnut and epoxy. His creations are well known and in demand, and they often sell for more than $10,000.
But sometimes you need to mix up your tried-and-true format and try a new medium to see how it performs.
Cam decided to engineer a denim epoxy table.
Cam was inspired by another maker, known as Mosevic, who makes glasses from denim and epoxy. Mosevic has spent years refining and perfecting his process to create the ideal eyewear from recycled denim. Even with all of his epoxy experience, Cam had a steep learning curve to create the denim table he imagined.
As you would imagine, it all begins with denim. Cam sourced as many pairs as he could from the local second-hand store, but after deconstructing the first batch of pants, he learned it would take more than 440 pairs of jeans to create a table of this size.
This would cost more than $3,400 for the used jeans alone, not including the epoxy and hardware.
This method would also create issues with getting all of the layers flat and even using such small pieces. It was time for a new plan.
By pivoting and sourcing a bulk roll of denim, Cam was able to get the materials for around $500 and start with a much more consistent substrate.
Next, he began stacking the “lasagna” of epoxy and denim layers. The goal was to stack 50 layers of denim, each soaked in Liquid Glass Deep Pour Epoxy.
Why did Cam choose deep pour epoxy for the denim table?
- It has the longest working time
- It cures the hardest
- The final product is the clearest
The first challenge was how to properly apply the epoxy to the denim. He thought he could simply dip each layer into the epoxy and lay them into the mold, but the denim was too thick and held too much epoxy to make a proper bond.
Removing all of the excess epoxy with a squeegee was labor-intensive, time-consuming, and messy. The process used 20 gallons of epoxy, much of which was squeezed out of the material onto the floor.
After stacking 49 layers of epoxy-soaked denim, it was left to cure, while the team cleaned up the massive mess left on the floor.
See the video to learn how the denim table’s leather-wrapped wooden legs were created.
Once the giant lab of denim-soaked epoxy cured, it was off to the industrial planer. By planing the slab mid-process, the lumps in the uneven surface were leveled out, which makes it flat, but the denim has an irregular look.
Once the slab was flattened Cam could apply the top layer of denim for a uniform look. After the top layer was applied, it was scuff-sanded and trimmed to size, and the corners were rounded and the top sealed in more epoxy.
The final step was to finish the top. The finish always begins with sanding, as this helps smooth the surface and gives the final finish something to bite onto. The denim and epoxy surface was sanded to 320 grit, before receiving generous coats of Renner Water-Based Urethane Topcoat.
Final thoughts for the denim epoxy table
Changing mediums is always a challenge. It would be very easy for Cam to edit out the mistakes (and the cleanup), but that detail is partly what makes this video so interesting. Watching an experienced maker struggle through the process to create a unique final product is what it’s all about.
Watch the full video to see who he gifts the denim table to (it’s well-earned)!
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