• Monday, October 31st, 2016

live edge wood

The rustic look of furniture featuring a live edge board currently has wide appeal, as it seems to draw a response even from those people who otherwise pay little attention to the intrinsic beauty of wood.

Here are two uncommon options for designing with live edge wood: let the natural “path” of the board’s live edge guide the whole structure of the piece or, similarly, determine the shape of just other components of the piece. The live edge can be followed loosely or closely.

In the small table above, the front rail in ash follows the general sweep of the live edge of the walnut top. As with other pieces, I carefully striped the bark and prepared the live edge to retain almost all of the organically interesting wavelets. Thus, the live edge follows the peaceful flow of the ash rail but also presents an exciting contrast in form.

The rail construction is a bent lamination. I worked out the angles and joinery in a full size drawing because they were trickier than I first imagined.

In the wall shelf below, I again preserved the undulations as well as the fine ripples in the curly big-leaf maple board. The pear drawer front is a rare specimen with exquisite flame-like heartwood. As seen in the second photo below, I matched its contour to the waves in the maple’s live edge.

live edge wall shelf

live edge design

The photos of this piece are a bit weak but the actual piece projects a distinctly “live” feel. I really let the wood “design” the piece.

These are just some ideas for working with live edge wood. Though they involve a lot more trouble in construction, the wood is inspiring and sustaining.

wall shelf with drawer

Category: Wood
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5 Responses

  1. That is very creative and a really nice way of capitalizing on the live edge. The leg shape complements it as well.

  2. 2
    Tico Vogt 


  3. 3
    Don Peregoy 

    Like the table a lot the edges look great. I just picked up a slab of walnut to use as a fireplace mantel. Completely remove the bark with out damaging the underlying edge is proving a challenge. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks Don

  4. 4

    Thanks, Andy, Tico, and Don!


    Go to this post: where I’ve detailed a method to produce a lively live edge. If you’re still having trouble, let me know and I’ll try to assist. Sounds like you’ve got an exciting project at hand. Good luck.


  5. 5
    Don Peregoy 

    Brushes on order should be just the thing.
    Thanks for the help on this and all the great information over the years.
    Thanks again Don