How to Build a Stunning Live Edge Table with Ease

CEO Khai Intela
Do you dream of having a beautiful live edge table in your home? A live edge table can add a touch of rustic elegance to any space. If you're ready to take on this exciting...

Do you dream of having a beautiful live edge table in your home? A live edge table can add a touch of rustic elegance to any space. If you're ready to take on this exciting DIY project, we've got you covered! In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of building a live edge table step by step. So grab your tools and let's get started!

Step 1: Choose the Perfect Wood Slab

The first step in building your live edge table is to select the right wood slab. Look for a slab that meets your specific size requirements. While the most common size is 8' long by approximately 42" wide, feel free to choose a size that suits your needs. Opt for a single slab instead of two bookmatch slabs to avoid the hassle of joining them together. Keep in mind that the rough cut slab may not look exactly like the finished product. Once you find the perfect slab, you're ready to begin!

Wood Slab Image: Choose a wood slab that meets your needs.

Step 2: Check the Moisture Content

One crucial step that is often overlooked is checking the moisture content of the wood slab. Ensure that the slab is kiln dried and ready to use. Ideally, the moisture content should be around 8%. Anything over 12% can cause warping and cracking. Consult a moisture chart based on the relative humidity of your home to determine the ideal moisture content. Don't proceed with building your table if the moisture content is too high, as it may lead to future issues.

Moisture Content Image: Moisture content chart for wood slabs.

Step 3: Surface the Slab

Flattening the slab is an important step in preparing it for your live edge table. While this can be done yourself using a router, it is often time-consuming and costly. We recommend investing in a pre-surfaced slab to save time and effort. At Lancaster Live Edge, we have specialized equipment designed to flatten slabs, ensuring that they are ready for use as tabletops. This process eliminates any warping, allowing the wood to sit flat.

Flattening the Slab Image: Flattening the wood slab.

Step 4: Recheck the Moisture Content

After surfacing the slab, recheck the moisture content to ensure that it is still within the acceptable range. The wood closer to the center of the slab should have a moisture content below 12%. Aim for around 8%, considering the humidity of your home. This step ensures that the wood is properly dried and ready for further processing.

Acceptable Moisture Content Image: Wood slab with an acceptable moisture content.

Step 5: Debark the Slab

To prevent future issues, it's recommended to debark the slab. Use a small chisel and hammer to carefully remove the bark. This step will ensure a smooth and clean surface for your live edge table.

Step 6: Fill Voids with Epoxy (optional)

If your wood slab has cracks, filling them with epoxy is a great option. This will create a smooth surface for your tabletop. Apply tyvec tape to the bottom side of the slab to cover all voids. Then, use a two-part pour over epoxy to fill the cracks. Allow the epoxy to dry for a day or two before proceeding.

Step 7: Router the Edge

For a polished look, use a router with a 1/8" bullnose bit to create a smooth edge on the cut ends of your live edge table. After routing, lightly sand the edges to finish them off.

Step 8: Sand the Wood

Properly sanding the wood is crucial to achieve a flawless finish. Begin with 40 grit sandpaper and gradually work your way up to at least 120 grit. Avoid going too high, as higher grits can increase the risk of scratching the table. Start with 40 grit, then progress to 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, and 220. This sanding process prepares the wood for the final finish.

Step 9: Add C-Channel for Stability

To ensure your live edge table remains flat and stable, consider adding a c-channel with slotted holes. The slotted holes allow the wood to expand and contract without causing movement in the wrong direction. This helps to prevent warping, twisting, and cracking.

C-Channel Image: Adding a c-channel for stability.

Step 10: Inlay the Legs (optional)

For added sturdiness, you can choose to inlay the legs of your live edge table. Use a router to trace the mounting plate and create a recess in the wood where the legs will sit. This step will enhance the overall stability and durability of your table.

Inlaying the Legs Image: Inlaying the legs for additional stability.

Step 11: Mount the Legs

Now it's time to mount the legs of your live edge table. Drill pilot holes and use bolts and threaded inserts to secure the legs in place. Be sure to align the inserts correctly to allow for natural wood movement and prevent any potential cracks in the table.

Step 12: Finish Your Masterpiece!

Congratulations! You've completed the construction of your live edge table. Remove the c-channel and legs and apply the final finish to the wood. Popular finishes like Odie's Oil and Rubio Monocoat can be rubbed on and wiped off to achieve a beautiful, long-lasting result.

That's it! Follow these steps, and you'll be able to create a stunning live edge table that will be the centerpiece of your home. Enjoy the process, and don't forget to share your masterpiece with us!