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It is hard to skip past live edge wood furniture when designing a modern dining room or modern living room. At Unruh, we get a lot of follow-up questions when customers are interested in the live edge customization.
Below we have answered some of the more common questions about live edge furniture, so you can be confident when you choose the live edge option!
1. What is a Live Edge?
When you design a table with a live edge at Unruh, you are getting a piece with a beautiful, organic edge. Live edge furniture gets its name because of the way the wood is milled. Live edge furniture keeps the natural edge of the tree intact. For a more detailed account of how live edge wood is milled check out this article.
Live edge furniture can be made with a single slab or multiple slabs. Single slab stays true to the width of the tree it is milled from. This way, it is a direct piece from the tree and both edges are beautifully curved.
Though Unruh still uses natural slabs to make live edge furniture, we use multiple slabs in between the live edge pieces. This way we can honor the width dimension our customers ask for.
2. Why is it More Expensive?
The main reason live edge furniture is so expensive is that it is more challenging to mill. Working with live edge slabs also proves to be more difficult for our production team than traditional pieces of lumber.
Live edge slabs are also incredibly unique, as each slab is one of a kind. The term “live” in live edge is used because some people feel that the tree lives on when it is not traditionally cut. In this sense, you are paying for the distinctive nature of the live edge.
3. Why are Live Edge Pieces only Offered in Walnut at Unruh?
Walnut lumber for a live edge piece is more readily available because of its popularity. You might ask: Why are walnut live edge pieces so popular? Well, there is no direct answer, but we here at Unruh believe it’s because of the appearance.
When using walnut for live edge furniture, you are able to see a ring of blonde wood accompanying the edge of the live slab. This blonde wood is the “sapwood” from the tree.
Natural walnut slabs have such a deep brown color that the sapwood really stands out and creates a beautiful variance on the piece of furniture. We think, for this reason, walnut is the go-to when it comes to live edge furniture.
The mere size of walnut trees is also a good indicator of why so many live edge pieces today are made out of their trunks. Though white oak trees are similar in size, they are not as visually interesting when cut into live edge slabs.
4. Which Table Styles Look Best with a Live Edge?
When it comes to designing a live edge table, it stylistically lends itself to more modern pieces of furniture. We usually don’t recommend pairing a live edge table top with a heavy base. Heavy bases distract from the live edge, and it also feels like design overload when the table base and the tabletop are competing for “most unique”.
Steel-based tables already have a leg up on modernity, so designing a live edge for the top fits very well. Any of Unruh’s steel-based tables would be a perfect partner to a live edge top. Some of our favorite steel-based designs for live edge tops are the Boulevard Table and the Buffalo Creek Table.
Really any table design with no apron works well with the live edge! With no apron, the live edge will stand on its own and make the statement it yearns to make. The Coleson Table is the perfect candidate if you are keen to pedestal base tables, but want a modern flair.
Many of our coffee table designs are also suited for a live edge customization. This is a great way to add a statement piece to your living room.
5. Any Other Specifics?
Each live edge table is completely unique to whatever tree it was cut from, so no furniture maker can guarantee what it is going to look like. It is a little bit of a gamble to order a live edge table! The edge could be super wavy and dramatic, or very subtle.
Another variable to note when ordering a live edge table is stain choice. If you want the blonde ring to be visible don’t pick a dark stain for your table. Many of our example photos are pieces of walnut with no stain, so the natural option. If you want your table to be stained darker, that is totally okay! Just know that the rich variance you see in the pictures will not be present on the table.
The thickness of your tabletop will also be a gamble. To follow the curvature of the trunk, we try to honor the live edge by not cutting it to be of uniform thickness. For the most part, it will be around 1 ¾ inches thick, which is thicker than our standard tabletops. This is another reason we suggest going with a design that does not have an apron on it.
Now you have all the information you need to purchase a live edge piece! No matter what stain and design combo you pick, your live edge piece will be the star of your dining or living room.