While live edge wood makes for a great table, bar top, charcuterie board and a number of other things, there are a few factors that you will want to consider to make sure it is the correct choice for you! Keep on reading to find out how to keep live edge wood from warping and keep your custom furniture in great shape!
What Causes Warping in Live Edge Wood?
Warping in live edge wood is typically caused by the moisture content changing throughout the slab at different rates. If one side of the board is allowed to dry faster than the other (e.g. it was left laying on its face with little air movement), the side of the board that is dryer will shrink faster than the side that has more moisture causing the board to warp.
What Are the Different Types of Warp?
It is important to know what kinds of warps exist in order to consider ways to keep live edge wood from warping. There are three different types of warping: Bow, Cup, and Twist. A bow is a warp across the length of the slab while a cup is a warp against the width of the slab. A twist is a little bit different in that it is a distortion in which the two ends of the board do not lie on the same plane, resulting in a visible twist in the board. Take a look at the photo below to see the differences up close.
How Do I Keep Live Edge Wood from Warping?
There are quite a few things you can do to keep live edge wood from warping and keep your slab in tip-top shape! Keep these items in mind when deciding on live edge wood and you should have little to worry about when it comes to a slab warping.
Store Your Slabs Upright, Not Laying Down
Keeping a slab upright will help to ensure that both sides of the slab are getting airflow. This will help to dry all sides at close to the same rate and reduce any movement of the wood. If you have to keep your slab laying flat, make sure to elevate it using stickers or small, similar sized pieces of wood to keep it off the ground a bit.
Acclimate the Slab to the Environment it will be in Before Finishing
To keep live edge wood from warping in its new home, it is best to keep it stored in the same area that it will be installed so as to let the slab adjust to the temperature and humidity in that environment. It is recommended that you store the slab in that area for a week or more before applying any finish.
Keep Live Edge Furniture away from Areas with High Heat Output
Wood burning stoves and radiators can be tough on live edge furniture as they increase the amount of drying that happens in a slab depending on the time of year. The best way to keep live edge wood from warping is to keep it at an even temperature and humidity, so staying away from anything that puts off a lot of heat will greatly decrease your chances of warping.
Fully Mount the Slab to its Base
While it might be tempting to just set the very heavy slab onto the base without securing it with a fastener or other joinery, it is important to make sure it is fully secured to its base to minimize warping and other issues. Having a secure connection between the live edge wood and your table base will help to encourage the wood to stay where it is at.
Only Use Live Edge Slabs in Temperature and Humidity Controlled Areas
Storing or using live edge wood in a setting that is not temperature or humidity controlled can cause unexpected warping of your finished table top. Examples of spaces like this could be a basic storage unit or a traditional log cabin setting.
If you have more questions, speak to one of The Lumber Shack’s Wood Experts today via live chat, email, or a phone call. We are happy to help!