I'm not going to pretend that's not important to me. It is and these sell the best.
Not only do they sell — and no matter how lovely a solid wood table is — beautiful river tables definitely stand out from the crowd.
I stand by my craft, so it’s all about clicks. Meaning that if I get a click, I believe people with stick around. Lots of sellers have epoxy tables and boards. And since standing out from the crowd is important, my challenge is to make something that looks different enough to get a click.
You know that buyers are taking no more than just a few seconds to click after the search. I've considered taking a leaf out of YouTube content creators' thumbnails, which very often have a picture of themselves with a look that says the happiest thing in their life just happened.
That's not the kind of standing out I'm looking for. A picture of the item is what has to attract people. And a range of pictures from different angles is good. Close ups work well, where you can show off the detail and craftsmanship.
I like to stage items. A cute plate for charcuterie boards. An interesting light for a desk or table.
“Live edge” river tables sell better than those with straight lines. Even if the live edge only has a little bit of movement.
The next step up is interesting lines. They can be parallel for a calm look. Or broken up for more movement. The choice of wood is important, whether you choose a slab to give a specific flow, or if the table is dictated by the slab itself.
Pick your wood
Walnut is a great choice for gentle curves because slabs usually grow that way on their own. Walnut can have great contrast between the darker heartwood and the lighter sapwood. This is a great backdrop for a darker epoxy river. There are different kinds of Walnut. Claro Walnut often has interesting figure. The rarer Bastogne Walnut is a hybrid valued for its figure, grain, and color.
Maple is a species with lots of variation. Slabs usually have a gentle live edge. Spalting describes black lines in the wood, which sounds a lot nicer than fungus and decay.
And then there’s Big Leaf Maple Burl. This always has extraordinary figure of small knots and dormant buds right up to complex live edges. Large voids and chaotic edges can give you lakes and islands when you take a slice for a table.
Pick the color
Black is always a safe bet. You can go jet black through to smoky. And you can add some color too. If it’s deep black the color won’t show up much until you get it in the light. That can be really interesting.
You can pick bright colors. Be careful with greens and yellows. The Yellow River is not actually mountain-rescue yellow. You can add just a bit of color for a great cloudy look. See-though tables sell well. We use TransTint dyes and pigments exclusively because they are predicable. Since a little goes a long way, a little too much can change the look.
But if you want something punchy use mica powder. There are lots of manufacturers out there. We always use Black Diamond Pigments. Again, because we’re looking for consistency and predicability.
Not satisfied with punchy? You can use mica powder variants that have the look of microscopic glitter.
And then there’s color shift. One of our favorites is Dragon’s Breath. Liquid Fire is quite the statement too.
A table or board with interesting contrast and color appeal that stands out from the crowd.