Live Edge Furniture

Complete Guide to Choosing the Perfect Slab

So, you have decided that you are in love with the live-edge look but - like so many of us – you are overwhelmed with how to choose the perfect one.  Well fear not - we’ve got your back!  Check out our guide below and learn how to choose the perfect slab for your next project.  Whether it be a DIY or a sourced project, we’ve got you covered with all you need to know to make the best decision. 

Get to know your source. 

We cannot stress how important it is to know where your slab is coming from.  The moisture content of your slab will directly affect the quality of the finished piece.  And, the moisture content is determined by the source.  Where did your slab come from?  How was the slab dried?  Dig a little deeper than face value and do some research.  Read reviews and ask around.  Also, ask your supplier some key questions to get to know them: 

  • Where was the timber sourced that the slab came from? 

  • What type of drying processes do you use? (air-drying only, air-drying & kiln-drying) 

  • What moisture content do you dry to? (We recommend an MC between 7-12%) 

  • How do you check the ending moisture content? 

Learn about the different species. 

When making a decision on the species to use for your live-edge project, it is helpful to dive into the science just a bit, especially if you plan on finishing the slab yourself.  For example, poplar wood tends to be more difficult to stain if not done properly, and some species like sycamore can create surfacing and machining problems because of its interlocked grain.  Get ahead of the game and know what to expect when you are working on your project to avoid any mishaps.  You can view our in-depth species guide here.

​What's your vibe?

Crazy live-edge with lots of figure, or straight and simple?  Take some time to think about what aesthetic and vibe you are going for.  Pinterest is our go-to for inspiration on things like this.  Live-edge does not only have to feel rustic or log-cabiny (which by the way we love and there is absolutely nothing wrong with).  This look can fit into so many other spaces – modern, industrial, boho, natural, farmhouse, eclectic, minimalist (you get the idea).  So, keep an open mind and keep your eyes open for inspiration.   

Get the most bang for your buck. 

Let’s face it – live-edge done right can get pricey.  One way to combat the cost of this is to make the most out of the material.  So many of our clients come in with several projects in mind – a dining table, a few floating shelves, and a charcuterie board, etc.   Because of the nature of the slab business, there tends to be a lot of waste if not managed properly.  We do our best to minimize this waste by finding slabs that can cover several projects in one.  For example, say you are looking for a 4’ x 25” coffee table, and two 5’ x 11” floating shelves.  We will do our best to select a slab that is large enough to incorporate both of these projects into one, thus saving YOU money, and minimizing waste.  

Take your time. 

One thing that is so appealing about live-edge slabs is that they are like snowflakes or fingerprints – no two are the same.  This can make it difficult to make a decision and hard to say no in fear that you may “never see another one like it”.  While this is technically true, do not feel pressured into a piece simply because of this.  Make a checklist.  The “must haves” part of your list could include species, dimensions, characteristics of the live edge (things that are fairly easily achievable).  In contrast, make a “would like” section of your list that could have things like a wide range of coloration, multiple knots, bird pecks, etc. These are things that are achievable but not deal breakers.  Shop around and express your checklist with your supplier so that you are on the same page.  Your ideal slab is out there, it may just take a little hunting!  Chances are, this will be a piece that you keep for a lifetime, so it’ll be worth the wait.