Live Edge Wood Furniture and Techniques - UnfinishedFurnitureExpo

Live Edge Wood Furniture and Techniques

by Matthew Cutler February 21, 2017

Live Edge Wood Furniture and Techniques

What is Live Edge Wood?

Live edge wood is commonly referenced as wood maintaining its natural bark, edges, knots or holes. The most traditional use of live edge wood is keeping the natural edges uncut and allowing for its natural shape and texture to remain. Live edge wood is a design technique that has become trendy with diy furniture. Many kinds of furniture can utilize live edge, including unfinished furniture. 


Top Uses for Live Edge Wood?

One of trendiest applications of live edge wood is custom cutting of the wood slab. Many carpenters or diy furniture makers cut the wood slab along the natural grain lines. Live edge wood is very popular in tables, benches, shelving, wine racks, countertops, and even picture frames. Tables and shelving typically leave the rough edge exposed. Benches and wine racks tend to leave the natural knots and gnarls in the wood slabs. 

live edge wood counter unfinished furniture expo   
* Photo credit: Apartment Therapy
live edge wood shelving unfinished furniture expo
*Photo credit: Apartment Therapy
live edge wood table trestle base unfinished furniture expo
*Photo credit: Reclaimed Rustic Wood


How To Create The Live Edge 

Finding the right slab of wood is the first task. Whether you have a lumber resource or a fallen tree, you'll need to locate the right width of wood to work for your project. Next, cutting the wood to your desired thickness requires a good saw and lots of sandpaper. Once you are in good shape with the wood slab, its time for your creativity. 

create live edge wood line unfinished furniture expo

*Photo credit: Design Confidential

Many diy furniture creators use a jigsaw to cut the live edge on the wood. It's best to first outline the pathway of your edge. You can either follow the natural grain in the wood or create your own line. The Design Confidential recommends when finishing off the edge of the wood to "find a clever and interesting way to finish it off on the ends ... suggesting an asymmetrical shape that curves in more on one side than the other so it mimics real wood that is drifted and has been out in the ocean or the elements for some time just as the real deal might be found in nature."

Finishing Techniques

There are a number of traditional finishing techniques for live edge wood. Especially with unfinished or raw wood. Our top favorite ways to finish live edge wood furniture pieces are:


Using live edge wood in furniture building creates a statement piece for your living space. Unfortunately, being a carpenter is not in everyone’s skill set. Also, finding the time and tools to create the piece from start to finish may not be as simple as the tutorials on Pinterest portray. If you are looking for the live edge look without the carpentry tools or time to create, check out our latest live edge wood pieces.



Matthew Cutler
Matthew Cutler


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