If you’re considering upgrading your decor with a live edge wood table, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are looking for the perfect furniture piece to blend with your rustic, cottage, or country style or a statement piece to balance a more contemporary or modern aesthetic, live edge wood furniture fits the bill.
A one-of-a-kind live edge table can bring a beautiful balance of nature into any living space. No matter what size or kind of home or office table you’re in the market for, this article will cover what you need to know to make the right selection.
To appreciate this unique style, let’s start with “what does live edge wood mean?” Live edge wood comes from one slab that retains the tree’s natural beauty.
Next, we’ll tackle the live edge timber meaning and explore what is live edge lumber. We’ll also cover what is a live edge slab as well as what is live edge furniture.
Lastly, we examine what is a live edge table and explore this type of sustainable and functional artwork. We’ll offer insights on how adding one of these distinct pieces can instantly elevate any home or workspace.
After exploring live edge wood meaning — including how it differs from natural edge wood — you’ll learn how to care for your distinctive piece of furniture so it lasts for generations.
What is Live Edge Wood?
The term “live wood” refers to wood surfaces that retain at least some elements of the natural beauty of the tree they came from. Typically, these live wood elements include the knots and cracks found in the tree. Live edge wood is a type of live edge timber where the periphery of the wood used to create a furniture piece — often some kind of table or desk — retains its natural state.
Unlike traditional wooden furniture that is finished to have sharp, clean lines, tables made in live edge wood style are crafted with the edges untouched by woodworking machinery. Instead, the tables retain the original characteristics of the tree, including its shape and wood grain.
Preparing a beautiful live edge wood table begins with an appreciation of nature and a desire to bring a beautiful reflection of the outdoors into our living spaces. From there, artisans focus on perfecting the mechanics of producing high-quality live edge wood pieces. Woodworkers specializing in the genre often spend years perfecting their hand-crafting skills to create these unique pieces that bring a perfect balance of art, craft, and function into the home or workspace.
Live Edge vs Natural Edge
Depending on the woodworking circles you’re traveling in, you may hear the terms “live edge” and “natural edge” used interchangeably when describing wooden furniture that retains its natural look. However, most purists in the field distinguish between the two types of wooden slabs used in this rustic back-to-mature type of furniture.
As mentioned, live edge wood pieces reflect every aspect of their original form, including the tree's shape and grain pattern. It has curves, character, and texture.
On the other hand, a natural edge wood piece may retain the organic shape of the wood, but other aspects may be altered. Not every woodworking artisan adheres to this strict line of demarcation, though, so don’t be surprised if you see both terms applied in the live edge wood definition.
Types of Live Edge Wood
There are many wood options for creating live edge wood tables. The following are some of the most popular choices among woodworkers.
Hailing from Costa Rica, Guanacaste wood has an appealing coarse-textured look that emanates from its naturally occurring large pores. The Guanacaste’s larger-than-average trunk makes it perfect for rendering sizeable live edge wood slabs. While lighter weight than other hardwoods, this wood is extremely durable. Its heartwood is a light-to-medium brown with a reddish hue, while its sapwood sports a pale yellow hue.
Black walnut’s deep brown color and accessibility make it a versatile wood to work with. Unlike more exotic wood types, black walnut grows throughout the US, making its slabs relatively affordable and easy to find. The wood’s natural movement makes it a popular choice for woodworkers.
With its uniform grain, cherry wood can be found in straight slabs that lend nicely to bespoke furniture designs. Cherry’s reddish tones deepen with age, giving this wood a timeless beauty. Its versatility in growing habitat means cherry wood is easy to find.
Often referred to as hard maple, sugar maple trees grow in many areas of North America. With its tannish-white color and grainy texture, maple wood stands the test of time for its beauty and durability.
A solid wood found up and down the Pacific coast, bigleaf maple is a top choice for artisans seeking the unique aesthetics that come with an abundance of weather-worn curling and knobby burls. Its color palette ranges from creamy white to a rich golden-orange hue.
Bespoke live edge wood furniture made from claro walnut always makes a statement. Native to Northwest America, this exotic wood boasts a deep color medley of deep browns, reds, purples, and yellows.
The Benefits of Live Edge Wood
Prized for its organic beauty and rustic charm, live edge wood is a design trend that brings nature's imperfections into homes and businesses. Unlike traditional lumber, live edge wood preserves the natural edge of the tree, showcasing the intricate grain patterns and unique contours. Its appeal lies in its authenticity, connecting spaces to the outdoors and evoking a sense of warmth and character.
Natural Beauty of the Tree
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of a live edge wood table is that each piece incorporates the natural beauty of the tree the wood comes from. Since no two trees are alike, no two pieces of furniture come out the same.
Has a Rustic Appeal
There is a certain rustic appeal to bringing a bit of the outdoors inside to balance your decor. With each appealing layer of texture and color, your live edge wood table offers a sense of connection to nature and the earth.
Requires Skilled Labor
Much of the beauty of a bespoke live edge wood table results from the skilled craftsmanship that brought it into creation. From selecting the perfect live edge wood slab to the intense artisanal labor of each piece, each live edge wood table is a work of handcrafted art.
How to Care for a Live Edge Table
Properly caring for live edge furniture isn’t tricky, but it is different than caring for mass-produced or more traditionally woodworked furniture. These four tips for taking care of your unique table will ensure its heirloom quality will last for many generations.
Tip #1 Stick to Microfiber for Dusting
The best choice for routine dusting is a super-soft microfiber cloth. Not only will microfiber lift dust off of surfaces and within your live edge wood table’s nooks and crannies, but it will do so without any scratches on the finish. As a bonus, these highly absorbent cloths will leave a streak-free, clean surface.
Tip #2 Protect the Table Surface From Moisture
Even though some live wood tables have an epoxy finish, you still want to protect them from moisture. Put glassware on a coaster and keep microfiber wipes handy to quickly soak up wet spots or spills.
Tip #3 Stick to Natural Cleaners
Harsh cleaning chemicals will strip your table of its beautiful finish and could even damage the wood. Stick to a simple vinegar-based cleaning solution to be safe. While it’s crucial to clean deep into the grooves, avoid saturating the table with too much moisture as you clean.
Tip #4 Avoid Wood Polish
Commercial spray furniture polishes, even if designed for wood surfaces, can damage your table, so use them sparingly. If it gets into your table's textured and pitted surface, a wood polish solution can cause unsightly wax-like buildup.
Custom Live Edge Tables For Your Home or Business
As you become more familiar with what live edge wood is and get ready to move forward with your new custom-built table, Timber Ridge Tables can help. We are experts at creating custom woodwork and artisanal furniture for the home and office.
Please visit us online to learn more about how we can create a live edge table that suits your decor and lifestyle. Contact Timber Ridge Tables for more information about how we can help make your dreams of the perfect back-to-nature table come true.