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Everything You Need to Know: Live Edge Table Tops

Everything You Need to Know: Live Edge Table Tops

So you’ve discovered the beauty that is a Live Edge Table Top. Now it’s time to start the search for YOUR perfect slab! There is a LOT to know about live edge wood slabs and it can seem intimidating when you first start searching. To help you navigate this process, we’ve made a need-to-know list with all the things we believe will help make your search a breeze!

Common Dimensions for Live Edge Tables

Selecting the size of your dining table may seem stressful, but don’t worry, we can help! The size of your dining table depends on the size of your family or the amount of people you’d like to have around the table at once. The more people the more space you need! We like to follow these guidelines as a starting point for finding the perfect live edge table:

Rectangular Table Top Sizing:

  • 2-4 people: 30” Wide x 36” Long
  • 4-6 people: 30” Wide x 48” Long
  • 6-8 people: 42” Wide x 84” Long
  • 10-12 people: 42” Wide x 120” Long

Round Table Top Sizing:

  • 2-4 people: 30” Diameter
  • 4 people: 36” Diameter 
  • 6 people: 54” Diameter
  • 8 people: 60” Diameter
  • 10 people: 84” Diameter
  • 12 people: 96” Diameter

Please also that these dimensions are not set in stone, you can always adjust your sizing up or down!

Ideal Wood Species for your Live Edge Table

When picking your live edge table, selecting a wood species can play a big part. We get asked which wood type is best for a dining table a lot, and the simple answer is all of them!  Any wood type can work for a project depending on the work you’re able or willing to put into it. A lot of people prefer to use hardwoods like black walnut, white oak and ash because less work is needed to make them super durable, but softwoods such as spalted maple, cottonwood and pine are usable, they just need a little bit more love. This can be in the form of epoxy, C-Channel Struts, or a super supportive table base.

If you’re not familiar with wood species or hard versus soft woods, you can use the color you’re looking for to help narrow the options! We have both dark and lighter colored woods, and here is a quick overview: Our dark woods consist of Black Walnut, but sometimes you can find darker pieces in Red Oak, Maple, Hackberry and even Elm. Our light woods include Ash, Boxelder, Cherry, Hackberry, Maple, Oak, Pine, and everything else except Black Walnut. Remember that if you need any help finding the perfect slab you can contact one of our wood experts via chat, email, or phone during hours provided at the bottom of the page.

Live Edge Table Commonly Asked Questions

What is a Live Edge? Should I leave them on the slab?

When you see the phrase Live Edge it means the slab still has natural edges from when it was a part of the tree and these edges have not been cut or altered during processing. Whether to leave the live edges or cut them off is a personal preference! Live Edges add an additional uniqueness to your table, while a straight-cut edge offers a modern sleekness, both of which look amazing!

Should I remove bark from my dining table?

Some wood slabs may have partial or full bark along the live edge and you may wonder if you should remove it. There’s a few reasons why we suggest removing the bark from the live edge, the first being it naturally falls off with time. Even after finishing, the bark coming off just happens as the piece ages. There are precautions you can take to try and prevent the bark from falling off, such as epoxy resin, but there is no guarantee that it will stay on long term. Another thing to note is that removing the bark allows the live edge to be sanded smooth for a soft feel compared to the sharpness that the bark can provide.

Live Edge Table Product Description: What to look for

You found a beautiful slab, now you’re diving deeper into the listing and find a long list of details one everything from tapers to cracks. We recommend always reading each description point to get the best understanding of that particular live edge slab, but you definitely want to look for the following:

Bow/Cup/Twist/Taper

These defects are all things that affect how flat the slab is, and will help you figure out how thick the slab would be after flattening one or both sides. Here at The Lumber Shack, we do our best to process all slabs to have at least one flat side at the time of listing. This helps ensure you can preserve as much thickness as possible, and any remaining defects can be hidden/adjusted for on the bottom side of the table top.

Size/Depth of Cracks and Voids

This is important to note so you can decide if there is a structural need to fill in any cracks/voids. We always recommend filling these on a dining table top to protect the integrity of the table as it is exposed to foods and liquids, but understand that some prefer the open, natural look.

Soft/Punky/Fragile

Soft/Punky/Fragile notes are very important to consider when selecting a live edge slab. These wood characteristics mean the slab will require additional custom work to ensure it is stable enough for use in a majority of projects. There are many ways to stabilize this wood, but here in The Lumber Shack shop we use Epoxy! Here is a quick video that shows the process we use to stabilize soft/punky wood

Want to learn about more wood characteristics & defects? Check out our Common Defect Guide!

Finishing Options for live edge tables

If you want to have someone else do the finishing work on your live edge slab, it is important to know what options they offer! At The Lumber Shack we offer a few different finishing option levels based on your needs.

  • No Work
  • Joint & Glue Up Table Top
  • Flatten One Side Only
  • Flatten Both Sides
  • Prepare Slab for Finishing
  • Finish Slab

We provide more information on each of these in our customer care section or you can just click here, but if you have little woodworking background or want an expert to do it for you then the Finish Slab option is where you want to go.

In the Finish Slab option the selected side will be sanded to a 220 grit and sealed with 2-5 coats of finish to ensure a smooth, sealed top for your project. The bottom will be lightly sanded and sealed with 1-2 coats of finish to help protect the bottom side. Straight cuts will be fresh cut, and could be squared up causing possible length reduction. Epoxy Wood Filler is not included. If you do not want straight cuts changed, or if you are in need of filling the cracks and voids, please include a note at checkout. The finishes that we provide are rubio monocoat and satin lacquer, and you can find even more information by clicking here!

Don’t have the time to search? Chat, Email, or Call our team of Wood Experts with what you’re needing and let us do the work for you! Our Team is available: 

Monday, Thursday, Friday – 7Am to 9PM CT

Tuesday, Wednesday – 7AM to 6PM CT

Saturday – 3Pm to 9PM CT

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