Your Guide to Live Edge Slabs: Furniture Edition
Discover the timeless beauty of live edge walnut slabs. The unique style mixes well with both traditional, rustic décor and modern, minimalist spaces. At Dutch Craft Furniture, we partner with Amish craftsmen in Berlin, Ohio who start from scratch to turn these rough slabs into a spectacular work of art, sure to be a focal point of conversation in your home.
What Does Live Edge Mean?
In woodworking, the term live edge refers to a thick slice of wood cut across the profile of the tree without removing its outer rings. These untouched edges result in tabletops still displaying the character, shape, and bark of the tree.
It Starts with the Walnut Trees
In the United States, black walnut trees grow mainly throughout the Midwest and South regions, preferring rich coves and well drained bottomland. Soil chemistry and the region from which the tree is harvested leaves its mark on the final color and texture of the wood. Our craftsmen partner with a local tree removal service, on the lookout for walnut being cleared, mostly from along fence rows. Trees from along these open fence rows, being more exposed to the elements, have far greater character than walnut trees harvested from protected areas in forests.
Preserving the Natural Beauty
After being slabbed at the sawmill to 2” thick, the slabs need to dry. They are sent to the kiln to ensure longevity, durability, and a meticulous drying process, which takes months. Here, they attain a specific moisture content that safeguards against instability, warping, and cracking, laying the foundation for a piece that will stand the test of time. After being dried, we seal and varnish the slabs using a catalyzed conversion varnish. This creates a heat and water-resistant finish, making the slab ready to be used in the home.
The most common large piece we use our walnut slabs for is a dining room table. They are simply stunning as a large 6’-10’ table, even longer if you have the space for it. Most often we pair them with a locally welded metal base of some kind, although there are custom wood bases available as well. Offices and conference rooms often use these live edge slabs as workspaces as well and smaller slabs add interest as bench seats, sofa tables and coffee bars.
Selecting Your Slab
Slabs are different than the rest of our furniture because of the uniqueness of each individual slab. We prefer to stock a variety of sizes and styles for you to come in and pick the exact piece used in your furniture. Style options include a solid slab, exactly as it sounds, a single piece cut from the tree. Also available is a book match style slab, which is a set of two slabs cut from the same tree, glued, and joined together creating a mirror image of the grain, and looking much like an open book. Finally, we offer glued up live edge slabs, which may be 4-6 pieces joined together, still displaying the bark and live edge along the outer most edges.
Caring For Your Slab
Now that you have this beautiful piece in your home, how should you care for it? Much like any other piece of wood furniture, keep it from extreme humidity and temperature fluctuations. Clean it using only a mild soap and water, no polishes or waxes. The natural color of the slab may change slightly as it ages and exposure to sunlight heightens the honey blonde tones in the wood.
At Dutch Craft, our commitment to the art of live edge slab dining tables is a celebration of nature's beauty and a testament to the skilled artisans that shape it. As you invite these pieces into your home, you're not just acquiring furniture; you're welcoming a story and a piece of the natural world that promises to captivate and intrigue for generations.