What Is Live Edge?


George Nakashima , is the winner of the Institutes’ of Architect’s Gold Craftsmanship Medal and he is known for leaving the natural edge of wood as part of a finished piece that is included his series for Knoll in 1946. His type of style is considered that of mixing Japanese, American and International modern using timber organically produced and deliberately chose boards with knots, figured grain and burrs.

Living edge or natural edge is a style or type of furniture that a carpenter incorporates in the natural edge of the wood. This type of furniture often incorporates gnarly wood, with types such as Alligator Juniper, mesquite and salvaged wood which cannot be used in conventional woodworking. Several methods for live edge have developed as there are special challenges involved in working with this type of wood; while some leave natural holes and cracks in the wood, some artists choose t fill them with resins.

Natural edged communal tables are typically 7-16 feet king, 2.5-3.5 feet wide and more often than not, 42” tall, this a good height for being seated on a standard stool. This allows guests to stand close by and mingle with those who are already seated without imposing on them.

Indonesian suar wood is all about the breathtakingly natural wood and the unique slabs are a sustainable wood from Indonesia; this being a very beautiful and durable hardwood and the natural aesthetics will always lend itself to various furniture types. Suar wood has an appealing finish and thereby makes it very attractive to artisans and builders; the special grain is particularly suited for carving and making it an ideal choice for designer tables. A fitting choice for colossal table tops to be used as conference tables and dining tables, all Suar timber is to be approved by the Indonesian ministry of forestry and needs to be certified eco-friendly.

Live edge tables are also made from American black walnut, spalted maple, cherry, oak and other hardwoods. This natural masterpiece is revived and ready to welcome the generations to come, being sustainable and very durable. Slabs once cut, are air dried for up to two years, removing residual moisture in a heated kiln can take up three additional months. After acclimatizing the slabs are then planed and transformed into a beautiful table. Each customers taste varies so after consultation and discussions with clients the table is designed and fabricated to their specific taste. This includes leg choice, wood species, size as well as butterflies and other details. A wise choice to make would be to have a computer generated preview of the table to enable any changes that might need to be made by the client, checking for colour and tint and overall design.

Final finishes and quality control are paramount to bringing out the timeless beauty of the wood grain and of course the colour found in the wood itself. When the client run’s their hand over the finished surface of the tabletop, they should be able to feel the grains of the actual wood, but yet know it is protected.

The art of fabricating these live edge dining tables lies in the workmanship of the crafter who has a love affair with the wood and thereby brings out only the best of the wood by applying several coats of finish and sanding it down again and repeating this process many times until it has reached perfection and looks extraordinarily clear and minimal.