Live edge or natural edge is a style of furniture where the carpenter incorporates the natural edge of the wood into the design of the piece. Live edge furniture often incorporates gnarly wood that is not used in conventional woodworking. There are special challenges involved in working with this type of wood, hence, several methods for live edge woodworking are developed. The expert craftsman leaves the natural holes and cracks in the wood which exposes the natural color and hue of the wood which makes the furniture a piece of art.
First step in converting a piece of wood into a live edge furniture piece is the selection of the right raw material. Old trees which are dead or near dead are ideal for live edge furniture. Near dead trees are often the most beautiful with exciting shapes and highly figured grains. Each slab(s) is selected carefully for each project based on wood type, size, shape, color, and grain pattern. Shape of the tree often determines its usage. We will never use a tree which is right for a dining table, for making a chair. Our expert craftsman visualizes the furniture in a piece of lumber.
After we finalise the log it comes to a saw mill. It is sawn under personal supervision and the logs are kept in storage for a minimum of 6 months and then sent for seasoning in a kiln - drying chamber. It takes around a month for seasoning where the wood moisture is brought down to roughly 10-12%.
After seasoning, the wood is ready to take the shape of furniture. The real making process begins.
Measure twice, Cut once is the holy grail of furniture making. We do not hurry the crafting process. For a piece to come out perfect, patience is more important than turnaround time. The furniture we make presents the edge in the natural shape and form, it does take a lot of work to present it in it's best light. After the slab is selected, we mill it and remove the bark to expose the live edges. The bark if left intact, will invite insects like the powderpost beetle. Beyond that, over time, the bark would weaken and begin to disintegrate, leaving dirt and dust on your floor. Expert craftsman equipped with specialized tools are required to remove the rough bark and smoothen the edges to convert the rough lumber into a piece of furniture.
Strengthening & Repairing Natural Flaws
The live edge slabs are kept in their most natural state so we need to repair and/or strengthen any natural voids, splits, cracks, or knots. We ensure that they don't weaken or spread over time. These imperfections add to the style and detail to the piece.
Naturally, each slab is unique and is treated differently. The knots and voids are treated with two-part clear epoxy mixed with the saw dust and bark bits of the slab itself.
Splits and cracks are natural in wood. We ensure that splits are prevented from growing over time. Our craftsmen utilise these imperfections to give the furniture a unique look to the piece of furniture.
Joints and Finish
Joints are carefully chosen to compensate for natural wooden expansion and shrinkage which happens as seasons change. The sanding is done with the help of imported tools from Japan and China to give a unique finish to the product. Live edge tables may highlight natural imperfections in wood, but their surfaces are buffed to spectacular smoothness. The butterfly joinery pieces, which preserve slab pieces by stabilizing natural splits, become part art, part architecture in talented hands.
Finally, the furniture is all glued up and ready for the surface finishing process. Multiple coats of tung oil/ linseed oil are applied to bring out the figured grain patterns and to impart resistance to water. Post curing of the tung oil/linseed oil, another top coat of polyurethane varnish is done to make the furniture functional and durable. This process makes the grain really come to life.
The ready piece of furniture is passed through final inspection and once it passes the stringent quality check, it is dispatched to its new home.