Everything You Need To Know About Live Edge Tables

Thinking of incorporating naturally imperfect wood into your living space? A live edge table with its inherent “flaws” might be the perfect addition.

Live edge slabs are well-known for their rustic appearance, making them a popular choice among craftsmen and individuals who appreciate vintage aesthetics.

While many people understand that furniture made from live edge wood tends to be more expensive and fashionable than traditional lumber, their knowledge often ends there.

This article aims to expand your understanding of live edge tables. Let’s dive in.

The Origin Story of Live Edge Tables

Live edge woodwork may seem like a recent trend, but it has actually been around for a long time (and it’s not just a passing fad, but an established woodwork style).

The style originated from an era when people simply assembled raw, unfinished slabs to create basic furniture. This method saved time, reduced costs, and met the needs of the time.

In the 1940s, George Nakashima revitalized this woodwork style, perfecting the craft. Today, live edge tables are both fashionable and practical, especially for those who want to bring the natural beauty of the outdoors into their living spaces.

What Defines a Live Edge Table?

A live edge table refers to a furniture piece with unfinished edges. It typically showcases natural cracks and imperfections, preserving its raw beauty.

When people ask, “What is a live edge table?” the emphasis is usually on the “live edge.”

Unlike traditional lumber with straight edges, live edge woods maintain their organic shape along the edges. Craftsmen preserve this natural look while using the slabs to create various furniture pieces, such as bar top tables, rustic coffee tables, and bedroom benches.

Live edge tables are not mass-produced. Each piece is used to create furniture as it is, without cutting it to fit standard dimensions. With live edge tables, each furniture piece becomes a unique masterpiece.

For example, traditional 2 x 4 lumber is cut into two-inch-high and four-inch-wide slabs. However, live edge slabs retain their natural dimensions as when they were cut from trees. Experienced woodworkers carefully sand and finish these slabs to create high-quality furniture pieces.

Choosing a Live Edge Table: Key Considerations

Choosing a live edge table can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time buying one. Your options range from moderately-priced pieces, like modern entryway tables, to high-end options like live edge ash dining tables.

To make the decision-making process easier, consider the following features:

Butterflies or Bowties

Bowties are attractive elements often found on live edge tables. They are pieces of wood used to fill cracks on the table surface, preventing them from widening over time.

If you want a live edge table with an additional eye-catching feature, consider one with bowties.

Bark or No Bark

Craftsmen usually sand down the edges of live edge wood, often removing the bark in the process. However, some pieces still retain their bark.

Whether or not the bark is present depends on the wood type and the table design. Live edge tables with bark are less common but can be found.


If you’re looking for a live edge side table, you’ll likely find one made from slices. Slices are horizontally cut from trees, displaying beautiful growth rings all around the table surface.


On the other hand, wood slabs are cut vertically, showing live edges on both sides. Live edge tables made from wood slabs are more common and are excellent choices for dining tables and coffee tables.


Burl refers to a naturally occurring large malformation in a tree. It is a significant outgrowth that requires specialized skills to craft into exquisite pieces without damaging the natural edge and unique grain patterns.

Due to the complexity of working with burl, live edge tables made from burl are usually on the higher end of the price spectrum.

Tips for Caring for a Live Edge Table

Live edge tables can be significant investments, such as the exquisitely crafted live edge dining table from Brick Mill Furniture. To ensure their longevity, it’s essential to learn how to care for them properly.

Thankfully, preserving a live edge piece is not complicated. Here are some useful tips:

  1. Use a microfiber cloth to dry dust the table, ensuring you clean the surface without scratching or streaking it.

  2. Limit the use of spray wood polish on the grooves and pits of the table to prevent filling the natural cracks and making the piece look old and worn.

  3. Protect the table from moisture by using coasters or quickly wiping off any liquid spills.

  4. Clean the table with natural cleaning products. Vinegar is an excellent option for removing residue from the irregular surface of a live edge table.

Follow these guidelines to keep your live edge table in excellent condition for years to come.

Get Yours Today

With their unique charm and timeless appeal, live edge tables are an excellent addition to any living space. Explore the wide variety of options available and find the perfect piece to enhance your home decor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about live edge tables and what to expect? Read on for answers to some commonly asked questions.

What is the best finish for a live edge table?

For the best results, sand the natural edges of your live edge table using 120, 180, and 220-grit flap wheels. Accentuate the grain and figure using a clear-oil finish, and protect it with shellac, lacquer, or polyurethane.

Are live edge tables trendy?

Absolutely! Live edge tables not only follow the latest trends but also offer a unique and refreshing alternative to the common polished and glossy furniture options.

Why are live edge tables expensive?

Live edge tables are more expensive for several reasons. The pieces used in their design are exceptionally unique, making mass-production challenging. The manufacturing process involves dealing with natural cracks, holes, bark inclusions, and inconsistent end grain cuts. Additionally, the demand for these pieces is high, coupled with the rarity of the wood, resulting in higher prices.

How thick is a live edge table?

To ensure the best results, live edge wood should be milled to a minimum thickness of three inches. This thickness allows for natural changes during the drying process, preventing the wood from warping or twisting.

Rephrase and tailor the content to your needs, incorporating the E-E-A-T and YMYL factors.

Related Articles

Back to top button