I grew up in the furniture business, so perhaps it is no surprise that I’ve also grown up with a love of the look of wood. Design matters, no doubt, but there is something innate about the beauty of a finely finished wood table. I sometimes refer to a table with an interesting top as a “wood person’s table”. I am beginning to see the power of wood in the reaction others have had as we added three new live edge tops to the floor.
Live edge tops are tree slabs, 2-3″ thick cuts of tree trunks. They are as varied as people, coming in all colors and sizes. At the same time, they are not perfect. There are knots and inconsistencies in the grain; sometimes splits. Some have bark on, others are cleaned smooth. While they can come from any wood, we are currently showing tops in Black Walnut, Sycamore, Curly Maple, Hickory, and Cucumber Magnolia.
Live edge tops and tables are pretty hot in the furniture market these days, but many suppliers are looking for the opposite of what we prize. They want consistency, not uniqueness. This is the difference between Formica and the granite yard; between mass production and fine art.
Our slabs come from our supplier Abner Henry. They have been buying slabs for years; building relationships with mill yards to ensure that they get the pick of best live edge tops. They make sure the tops are seasoned for at least two or three years to make sure there is no warp in the wood. You can see the range of slabs atwww.ahupdates.com (need to confirm web address).
You buy a live edge top the way you buy a fine piece of granite. You choose your slab and cut it, if desired, to fit your project. If there is bark on the edges; it can be taken off. The tops are covered with a conversion varnish; cut or stripped edges just need to be resealed.
The beauty of live edge tops is that they also inspire creativity. Their use for dining and cocktail tables is obvious, but what about for counters and kitchen islands, headboards, mantels, or doorways? Abner Henry offers an array of bases and we are currently working with our partner, Custom Steel, to develop a series interesting and customizable bases for dining and occasional tables.