Instead of a more traditional furniture piece with clean lines, a live edge feature commemorates the natural beauty of a tree. And the best part is that each live edge furniture piece is unique to itself with the tree bark's curves and many other natural features incorporated into the design.
Live edge pieces give you unique beauty straight from the incredible outdoors that can be brought right inside your home.
What Is Live Edge Furniture?
Live edge simply means that the original, living form of the wood slab's edge has been left in its original shape rather than it being milled into a straight plank. Keeping its natural contours maintains the natural beauty of the woods or forest by visibly preserving the tree's trunk.
Live edge furniture is created from one-of-a-kind pieces of wood, so there will never be another table, mantelpiece, desk, or shelf just like yours. Pieces are generally custom-made with many hours of labor invested by different craftsmen. So they are truly works of art!
Live edge wood blends well with a myriad of style choices, so its versatility is a plus. Bringing in a little bit of nature can really help soften modernism's harder edges. This is especially true with office or commercial furniture.
We don't often see a cabin-y commercial business office! Rather, we generally see the latest, most modern trends in the office conference rooms. However, when a sleek, modern office has a natural edge conference table juxtaposed with contemporary chairs and fixtures, it completely transforms the room into a warmer place.
Restaurant décor has also gotten in on the action. When restaurant furniture includes live edge benches, pub tables, or even a bar, it creates a wow factor that makes patrons want to return again and again.
Live edge pieces have a neutral timeless style that complements modern interior designs. You can't go wrong with the rugged and exotic beauty of natural wood. So it makes sense that a one-of-a-kind, live edge piece will never go out of style, even if orange carpeting and avocado-green appliances make a comeback (perish the thought!)
Live edge products are typically considered more environmentally friendly because more, if not all, of the wood, is actually used. By not milling off the edges of the log, much less scrap is generated. And the gnarls, burls, and knots would normally disqualify it from being used in traditional furniture. Ironically, these "flaws" wind up reducing waste! So in a sense, each tree goes further.
Also, choosing reclaimed barn wood helps keep materials out of the landfill and lowers the demand for virgin lumber. It also preserves history by giving new life to old, neglected barns and other farm structures.
In general, live edge pieces are more resistant to wear and tear because they are solid hardwood constructions that don’t use plywood or veneers. Unlike cheaper, industrially produced pieces, live edge furniture will be around for a long time, handed down through the generations!
Less Is More
Live edge furniture is meant to be a conversational piece, a focal point that creates a wow factor. This is especially true of pieces that have large areas of epoxy, such as a "river table." Unless you're furnishing a cabin or country house, it's usually best to choose one or two pieces for a room. (i.e., a live edge coffee table in the living room, live edge shelves in the den, a live edge desk in the office, you get the gist.) Heck, even a live edge charcuterie board on the table will be a fun focal point.
The Price of Live Edge (Spoiler: It's worth every penny)
The recent surge in popularity of live edge furniture has created high demand for the less common gnarly wood. Live edge wood is more difficult to produce because the type of wood and manufacturing techniques used in making conventional furniture reduce the likelihood of curling and twisting. Each piece is essentially custom-made, requiring many hours of work from many highly specialized people. This is particularly true for pieces containing epoxy which is especially time-consuming to produce.
Maintaining Your Live Edge Furniture
The unusual contours of live edge wood aren’t really any more challenging to clean and maintain. Super soft, highly absorbent microfiber cloths will lift dust right off the surface and are better at getting dust deep from within the nooks and crevices of the live edge. Dry dusting your live edge furniture on a regular basis will help keep them clean.
However, you may also want to occasionally give them a quick wipe down with a solution of vinegar and water (1 to 8 ratio). Vinegar is naturally antibacterial and helps remove built-up residue from the nooks and crannies of irregular surfaces.
Some live edge wood table tops are highly varnished, which means that the figured wood is very glossy. Folks might forget that the tabletop is not, in fact, glass! But most of our customers prefer a lower sheen. And although the finish is resistant to moisture, we do not recommend leaving spills or a condensation-laden cup on the live edge wood top for an extended period of time. Instead, if you're planning to enjoy a long, leisurely meal at the table, we suggest keeping coasters handy.
Know Your Retailer
Live edge furniture is popular, and since it’s not very difficult to slice up a tree, many fly-by-night producers have popped up making it difficult to know whose products are of high quality. It’s critical that the manufacturer has used wood that was cut and dried correctly or there will be problems down the road with twisting and warping.
Instead, all of our products come from trusted sources, and we prefer to work with domestic suppliers and craftsmen for the very reason mentioned above. Many of our partners/suppliers are Amish or Mennonite, two groups famous for their high moral and ethical values. They are also well known for their craftsmanship. This is important to consider as making live edge furniture is a very hands-on proposition. In our search for unique, high-quality pieces, we visited farms throughout Ohio’s Amish country. We built relationships with the finest and highest-integrity woodworkers who could meet the demand for customization that our clients require from the largest slab table to the simplest quilt hanger.