Guide to Live Edge Wood Slabs


In recent years, live edge wood slabs have become increasingly popular among woodworkers, home designers, artists, and individuals. Everyone loves wood slabs! We sell wood slabs finished or unfinished to businesses as conference tables or bar tops, to individuals for home furniture and decor, to woodworkers for DIY projects, and we even recently started making them for a company who installs them in boats! Let’s take a deeper look at this modern trend.


What is a Live Edge Wood Slab?

A live edge wood slab, sometimes called natural edge wood, is a slice of wood that is cut across the profile of a tree. The term “live edge” refers to the living part of the tree- its outer rings- that are left on the cut of wood instead of being trimmed off to a straight edge like normal lumber. A live edge slab will include the rough, natural shape of the tree bark on both sides. Sometimes the bark is even partially left on. You can either leave the bark for a more natural, rustic look or carefully remove it and sand out the edge.


Why Are Wood Slabs So Popular?

live edge wood slabs
Elm slabs cut from same tree

Live edge slabs are prized for their beauty, uniqueness, and character. When you cut a slab off a trunk of a tree, you are getting a raw, natural, product that can never be reproduced exactly. Each slab is as unique as the tree from which it was cut. People also love having a piece of nature in their home as it adds such life to the room. It takes only one look at a properly prepared wood slab to appreciate its beauty. When carefully cared for and finished, you are left with a strong, solid wood masterpiece that will last for generations.


What Do People Make With Natural Edge Slabs?

While the most common thing to make from a wood slab is probably a table, the only limit is your imagination! We have seen all sorts of creative uses for live edge wood slabs, and each one is sure to be a centerpiece that will impress. Here are a few ideas to get you started:


1. Natural Edge River Table

Slab River Table
Wood Slab River Table by Woodworker Network

Live Edge wood river tables have never been more popular. We get a lot of orders for river tables and our customers love them. They are made by using two halves of a wood slab inward to create the curves for the “river”. The void is then filled with a deep pour epoxy that is tinted using our epoxy pigments. We recommend using EcoPoxy’s line of epoxy products for river table projects.




2. Live Edge Countertop or Bartop

wood bar for Restaurant
Restaurant Live Edge Bar by Woodworker Network

We have made some beautiful live edge bar tops for restaurants and they are constantly getting compliments on their beauty. Why not use this same technique in your home and add a rustic look to your kitchen with a live edge wood countertop? It will surely become a conversation piece for your guests. System Three’s mirror coat makes an excellent finish for this purpose.



3. Live Edge Wood Shelving

live edge shelving
Live edge wood slab shelf

Wood slabs can be mounted either straight onto a wall as a floating shelf or create a more structured shelving piece by cutting a wood slab in half to make two shelves. 




4. Wood Slab Headboard

wood slab headboard

If your bedroom décor is rustic style, a live edge wood headboard would be a great addition to your room. Choose a piece with lots of character and you can even stain it to match the other wood in the room.




5. Live Edge Wood Table 

wood slab coffee table
Maple Wood Slab Coffee Table by Woodworker Network

Slabs make great tables for every purpose. We make conference tables, dining room tables, coffee tables, and end tables. You can use the river table technique for any of these or just finish them off with one of our reliable tabletop finishes like OSMO.




6. Live Edge Mantle

live edge wood mantle
Natural Wood Mantle

Choose a thick, sturdy wood slab when you’re picking out a mantelpiece. We have installed many of these for our customers, so if you need some tips or assistance, please contact us.



These are just a few ideas to get you started. We’ve also seen live edge slabs being used for handmade desktops, a bench, wooden mirrors, or even mounted on the wall as art. However you choose to finish and utilize your live edge wood slab, it is sure to add unique beauty and a rustic yet modern look to your home or business.



How to Choose a Quality Live Edge Slab

Not all wood slabs are equal! Many people make the mistake of buying wood slabs that are not dried properly or flattened. At Woodworker Network you can rest assured that your slabs will be of the highest quality and ready to use. Our motto is “Live Edge Slabs Done Right!” and we mean it! We very carefully stack each wood slab and let it completely dry before selling it to our customers. We test for moisture content and wait patiently until it’s ready, then we flatten both sides (S2S) to .001”. Now the slab is ready to be worked without fear of warping or twisting and ruining your project.



Buy Live Edge Wood Slabs

If you are ready to purchase a wood slab for your project, we have several to choose from here on our website. Start with our featured slabs, or browse by length. For larger tables, headboards or bartops, look in our large slabs section. If you are making a smaller table, shelf or other projects, we have a large selection of smaller slabs as well. We have much more inventory than our website shows. Call us and let us know what you are looking for. We have many different species available.



Custom Live Edge Slab Design

Do you have a live edge wood slab project in mind that you need professionally done? We have done quite a variety of custom woodworking projects for many happy customers and would be pleased to make a custom request for you. Contact us to discuss the details of your project.



What would you make with a live edge wood slab?