Live edge wood is a beautiful wood that retains its living outer edge, or ring. The remaining bark can be removed or left, and still maintain the natural shape, contour, and beauty of the original tree’s edge. The wood typically comes from popular sources such as pine, oak, hickory, cherry, or maple. Knots in the wood get filled to maintain a smooth, flat surface and stained and sealed to retain their beauty.
The Three Types of Live Edge
Burl live edge lumber is found in several species of trees, but only in about 5 or 10 percent of them. It’s this rarity that makes this a sought after item for home design and household items. It’s also useful in making furniture and used in gun stocks, and music wood, too.
Live edge table designs are also top-rated options. In this design, a tree round, a horizontally cut piece of the tree trunk, is used. It shows the inner rings of the tree, but the outside bark is not touched. These make popular coffee tables and end tables.
The third type is live edge slabs made into tables, desks, shelves, benches, and limited only by your imagination. A slab is a long piece of a tree fashioned into different shapes for different uses. It helps keep the forest in its natural state by preserving the tree as much as possible by keeping it alive and not touching the edges of the tree.
Just a word about timing. Slabs are in high demand, and rightfully so because they’re so unique. Depending on your source for acquiring a live edge slab, below is a typical timeline to receive your slab.
Assuming a typical 2.25-inch thick slab, it may require three to six months of air-drying, but in some instances, expect 12 months, or three months in a kiln for drying. These numbers are estimates, and depend on the timeline of your producer.
A Brief History of Live Edge Woodworking
The development or creation of live edge woodworking came about by accident, during the early days of America when we lived in log cabins. The settlers needed homes and furniture quickly, so they cut trees for homes and utilized unfinished wood slabs for basic furniture and tabletops.
Since George Nakashima, a Japanese-American architect, and craftsman, perfected live edge woodworking in the 1940s, it has grown in popularity. It continues to be a very trendy style of working with wood.
Where Can You Use Live Edge Furniture?
Your imagination is the only limitation to the uses of this furniture. Anywhere a rustic look is welcome, is a good place. Lately, trending is fireplace mantels, bookshelves, coffee tables, headboards, kitchen tables, and kitchen islands. As you can see, wherever the look is welcome is appropriate for live edge furniture.
The workplace now is enjoying a presence in commercial settings, too. Customers take to the natural look and feel of genuinely organic furniture that creates a warm and friendly atmosphere.
The Appeal of Live Edge Furniture
The wood used in live edge furniture is typically that which would have been regarded as unusable in traditional furniture because of its imperfections. Fortunately, that wood doesn’t go to waste and gets repurposed for live edge furniture, reducing the number of live trees that would usually end up cut down.
The sustainability factor enters into the buying decisions, but the variety of design and use options also tips the scale in many cases. Buyers also love the fact that each piece is original and not man-made. The different species means you’ll see multiple variations in the grain patterns, colors, and bark, but the biggest draw is the knots and imperfections that naturally occur and makes the piece a must-have piece.
The popularity of live edge wood furniture continues to dominate discussions about unique and natural wood designs. They’re not just for homes, either. Businesses, offices, restaurants, and hotels everywhere in the world have caught on to the quality and sustainability of the unique style and longevity of this magnificent product of nature.