Creating Masterpieces with Live Edge Wood

Live edge wood piece

Have You Considered Live Edge Wood?

While we put so much energy and time to plant and grow trees, there are times, sadly, when they need to be taken down. It might be that they are being cut for new construction, or that their placement is becoming dangerous for homes and people.

Although it can be heart breaking to watch a tree get taken down, the great news is that the life of a tree does not have to end. In fact, the natural beauty of a tree is being preserved in very practical ways that allows for those trees to live on for many more lives right inside your local coffee shop, stores, or even your home.

Live edge wood slabsPeople are appreciating and preserving the life of many trees by using live edge wood pieces and their beauty will take your breath away have you begging you to find a way to bring one into your own home or store. As Shawn Staffin of Lyondon Furniture wrote, “Mother nature is still my favorite designer.”

Uses for Live Edge Wood

Live edge wood pieces are being created into bar tables, side and coffee tables, lamps, and bed frames, shelves, and dining room tables. Using live edge wood pieces have become a trending option for many stores and homes alike.

Live Edge is simply using the natural edge of the wood piece as the style of the furniture. A carpenter will incorporate the natural edge of the wood in the design of the piece. Using the simple beauty of the trees natural state, can truly make a masterpiece.

This past weekend, my family pasted through Asheville, North Carolina and stumbled upon the lumber store, Asheville Hardware, with more live edge wood pieces that I have ever seen in one place. It felt like we hit a gem mine of wooden pieces.

Live edge  wood piecesThere were a large range of sizes from thin to wide, tall and short. The pieces were stunning. Each type of tree offered its own spender of different colors of browns, reds, shades of whites, and even pinks.

The incredible look of pure natural wood can take your breath away. In addition, the best part is that each piece is unique. Not two pieces are the same. No matter what, you are guaranteed to have your own custom made masterpiece.

Choosing a Live Edge Wood Piece

One of the biggest and hardest parts might be simply choosing a piece. You might be going in looking for a piece for a specific project you have in mind, or just letting a piece inspire you.

Regardless, making the choice can be difficult. You want to find the right weight, height, and color. Also, different dimensions of knots in the wood, imperfections, and cracks can play a part in the uniqueness.

For my family, we are looking to make a bar top. We wanted the width of the piece to be at least 15 – 20 inches, and the thickness to be at least two inches. We also knew we needed a piece that would be at least 64 inches in length. That helped us to a point, but then choosing the color, the space, and the type of wood had our heads spinning.

Types of Wood

Each type of wood has some common qualities. When choosing a piece of wood, we found having an understanding of these was very helpful in choosing the piece we wanted. Here are a few of the common pieces that tend to be seen and their characteristics.

  • Osage Orange Slabs
    This wood slab will be golden to bright yellow and will age into a darker medium brown. However, the Osage orange slab is a hardwood and can be difficult to work with.

  • Cherry
    Cherry wood tends to have reddish or violet-brown colors and are a very popular choice. One great aspect of the cherry wood is that they are regarded as experience in resistant to both decay and insect attack and is also pretty easy to work with.

  • Ambrosia Maple
    You will find inside an ambrosia maple piece are dark streaks that give a unique contrast to the light colored wood. The dark streaks are created by beetles that infest and bore into the tree. If you choose to use a piece like this, make sure it has a good cleaning in a kiln. This will help ease your mind of invading your home with any tiny bugs.

  • Walnut
    The color of the walnut can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with dark streaks. You can even see colors of gray, purples and reds splashed inside. Many like choosing a walnut piece because of the grain patters have nice curls and you can find unique “crotch” pieces that branch out adding a lot of character. Moreover, these pieces are seen as a domestic premium hardwood and so the prices will be higher than average.

  • Butternut
    This wood is also known as white walnut. It is a light to medium tan in color and can also have some reddish tint. What make these pieces stand out is the dark rinks that form is pretty distinct. This type of wood is the one my family decided on getting. We wanted the lighter color and loved the character found in the lines and our pieces had some beautiful knots that will continue to add to the personality of the piece once it is finished.

  • Cedar
    The cedar can range from different types and that can get the color of the piece. Typically, they will be a light yellow. The color tends to darken with age with more exposure to light. The grain is usually straight, but you can get some wavy lines and is pretty easy to work with.

  • Pine
    The color of pine can range from a light reddish brown to a pale yellow to nearly white and is a light wood that is pretty easy the work with. The problem that we came across with pine is that it was hard to find one piece that would be big enough for the project we were doing. If you want to use a pine piece you might have to place multiple pieces together to get the size that you want.

  • Oak
    What you will find in an oak piece is that there are many pieces around. It is easy to work with and the grain lines make for many pretty pieces. It also has solid strength characteristics.

  • Ash
    While there are many different types of Ash wood, the color tends to range from light to medium brown in color. The texture is medium to coarse with straight to regular grain lines.

Build Your Own Live Edge Piece

In closing, whether you decide to make the piece yourself or have a carpenter make the piece, you can rest assured that you will have a one of a kind that will be sure to wow all who come and view. The warmth of these pieces brings character to any space creating an environment that is welcoming. They are perfect pieces for either a business or your home. You are sure to have a masterpiece and honor the incredible tree as it lives on in a new way.


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