Typically, when cutting a log into slabs, the layer underneath the bark is removed to make uniform pieces with smooth, straight edges. Live edge slabs keep the natural edge of the wood, making each piece uniquely shaped. This provides a gorgeous rustic look.
The Process of Creating Live Edge Wood
To make live edge wood, craftsmen find logs that have knots or other unique features. Then they follow these steps to create beautiful live edge slabs:
- The logs are exposed to the elements for natural coloring. This process could take years, depending on how quickly that type of wood naturally breaks down.
- The wood is then dried, sometimes for years, so that it does not warp over time.
- Finally, the dried wood is cut straight through to create slabs.
- Live edge slabs are finished to protect the wood from scratches and water damage.
Cutting straight through the log without removing anything first creates a live edge slab. Think of cutting logs like cutting an apple. If you are preparing an apple for pie, you skin it, remove the core, and then dice it. If you are cutting it to eat, you might leave the skin on and cut it into bigger chunks, but you would still remove the core. Now imagine that all parts of the apple were edible. You might decide to slice the apple straight through. Each slice would look different with a variety of widths among them. Live edge slabs are cut in this way.
Why Is Live Edge So Expensive?
Live edge products are more expensive than regular cuts of wood because they are so unique and labor-intensive. They cannot be made in bulk since each slab is cut at the same length as the log. Every live edge piece is distinctive, blending aesthetic with practicality. Like with every hardwood furnishing, live edge products are an investment. Even a small cutting board can become an heirloom, its history as textured as the wood.
Reasons to Invest in Live Edge
Incorporating live edge furniture into your home has many benefits. Its unique look fits with a variety of styles. If you want a rustic look, obviously a live edge piece will blend well. But, if you have a sleek, modern design, a live edge end table or cutting board will still add a beautiful contrast to your home. As with any wood piece, live edge products are sturdy. They will serve you well for a long time.
Finishes for Live Edge
Choosing the right finish for live edge slabs can affect the final product as much as selecting the log. Any type of finish will protect the wood from scratches and spills while keeping it looking new. However, you can drastically change the appearance of your live edge piece by using different materials.
An epoxy resin finish is durable and gives the wood a nice sheen. However, it requires precise measurements when mixing the solution. If not done properly, it may not set or have air bubbles. If you are new to finishing wood, epoxy resin may not be a good choice for a DIY project.
Another option is polyurethane, which is the generic name for a variety of products available in different sheens. They are much easier to use than epoxy resin and last a long time.
Finally, mineral oil is a non-toxic finish that is perfect for food preparation surfaces. It repels water and does not change the wood's appearance much.
Find the Perfect Live Edge Piece for Your Home
Whether you want to purchase a live edge slab for your own project or you’re looking for a prefinished cutting board or table base, the Hardwood Lumber Company has everything you need. Check out our beautiful live edge products for your home.