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5 Things to Consider Before Purchasing Live Edge Furniture

5 Things to Consider Before Purchasing Live Edge Furniture

live edge furniture, live edge table chicago makers studio

Table of Contents

What is Live Edge Exactly?

When Did Live Edge Furniture Emerge?

5 Questions to Ask When Purchasing Live Edge Pieces of Furniture

  1. What is the Species of Wood?
  2. How Was it Dried?
  3. How Thick is the Piece?
  4. What is It Finished With?
  5. Is it One Solid Piece?

Rounding it Up


Do you love looking at live edge furniture but need more clarification about actually making the purchase? Being unsure about the kind of wood and what constitutes good quality are often issues that furniture buyers need help with.

Since live edge pieces tend to be pricier, you want to ensure you’re purchasing a high-quality item before making a significant investment. This guide provides you with five simple, solid questions that you need to understand and ask before you make your purchase.

Knowing the basics will help you contemplate whether the items will appeal to you and your budget.

What is Live Edge Exactly?
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Before we get into what you should consider before purchasing, you need to understand what live edge wood furniture is. Pieces that preserve the wood's natural edge on one side are called live edges. This can be a dining table, coffee table, vanity, or floating shelves. It is a more sustainable way of making furniture.Live edge pieces straddle modern and traditional furniture styles. The beauty and naturalistic aura of the furniture appeal to a wide range of furniture enthusiasts.


When Did Live Edge Furniture Emerge?

It first emerged when American settlers used fallen trees to make tables and furniture. They used wood to build log cabins and sawed trees in half to form large slabs for various purposes.It was in the 1940s that George Nakashima introduced the modern concept of live edge furniture. He revolutionized the idea of pulling pieces together to form butterfly joints and chose trees that had irregular ridges, creating distinct live edges. He considered fallen trees as valuable as live ones and referred to their ‘second life’ as furniture. This promoted a more sustainable way of making furniture.

5 Questions to Ask When Purchasing Live Edge Pieces of Furniture

Now that we know the basics let's look at some essential things we should consider before buying live edge tables or any other piece of furniture. What is important to remember is that not all live- edge furniture makers are of the same quality. Asking these questions will help you become aware of the seller's knowledge and hopefully result in you buying something you will cherish for years rather than regret.


1.   What is the Species of Wood?

First, you must ask what kind of wood was used to create the piece. Various species can be used, but Oak and Maple are two excellent hardwood types of wood. These kinds of wood species are hard and sturdy, but there are many others that your live edge seller may be using, like Elm, Cherry, or Birch.

Another critical question is where they are sourcing their slabs from. Your seller should be able to guide you regarding what kind of wood is best suited for the piece you are interested in, but here’s the lowdown on what’s considered hard and soft; this list is not exhaustive.

Hardwood species include Walnut, Cherry, Ash, Oak, Acacia, Elm, Cottonwood, etc. Softwoods include Cedar, Parota, Cypress, Juniper, Pine, and Douglas Fir.


2.   How Was it Dried?

How the slab dried is a fundamental question. So, before your live edge piece is created, artisans must dry the wood to ensure it does not warp over time. Questions you need to ask your furniture maker include how the piece was dried and for how long. The furniture store you purchase from must take no shortcuts regarding how long they dried the piece.

Generally, a piece should be dried for one year for every inch of its thickness, and on average, most slabs are dried for about three years. Kiln drying is a great way to grab all the moisture in a temperature-controlled environment. However, some furniture sellers will also use air drying combined with kiln drying, which is an ideal way to ensure no moisture in the wood.

3. How Thick is the Piece?

On average, live edge slabs used to make tables or other furniture should be close to 2 inches of thickness when fully finished. This ensures that the piece will withstand any movement and changes that occur when the slab dries. This also helps to ensure that the furniture will not crack or twist when made into a dining table, coffee table, etc.


4.  What is It Finished With?

This is a relatively important question when purchasing a live-edge piece of furniture. The finish is the last touch to a piece of furniture that can significantly impact buyers and usage. You want to make sure the finish amplifies the beauty of the grain and piece of furniture.

You should ask your seller if they are using food-safe finishes if you plan on using your live edge piece as a dining table, kitchen island, or cutting board.

5. Is it One Solid Piece?

Live edge pieces can be more than one slab that is then bookmatched when placed together. This means that the patterns of the grains are aligned when the slabs are placed next to each other.

Single slab live edge pieces are usually more expensive than bookmatched configurations. When looking at items, if you cannot tell if the piece is a single slab, it is always a good idea to ask the seller. In most product descriptions, the seller is upfront on whether the piece is in a single or bookmatched configuration.

Rounding it Up

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Now that you know the basics, you are more empowered to go out and buy a beautiful piece of live- edge furniture that you can treasure for years. It is essential to mention that looking at reviews on Google, Yelp, and other forums is another great way to know if the seller you are buying from is invested in making timeless pieces or cutting corners.

Always ask if the furniture seller has a physical shop to see where the furniture is being crafted. Visiting their workshop or warehouse will be an added advantage because you will see first-hand how the furniture is made.

Here’s hoping you find that live edge heirloom piece soon; happy shopping!


To purchase these beautiful pieces and see more live edge furniture, visit our site.

Feel free to contact us at:

Tel: 708-573-7295 



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