The first time I saw a live edge table, it was instant love. I had. to. have one. They are hard to find, and when I did, I nearly fainted over the price tag of $7,000+. One thing you should know about me, I don’t take “no” for an answer.
Photo Credit: Chris Perez, Apartment Therapy
So began the obsessive research. There is a local company who carries slabs, but they didn’t have much of a selection and wanted thousands of dollars for a raw slab. No, thank you. Eventually, I found a contractor via an ebay listing (for a smaller slab) who had cut down a walnut tree for a city road project who had the equipment to cut it into slabs. He did not, however, have the equipment to dry the slabs – a very important step in prepping lumber. You can’t work with “green” (trade term for wet/un-dried) lumber. Walnut is always my first choice in materials because it’s beautiful, resilient, and has great character. When he sent me a photo of a slab just the size we were looking for, I couldn’t say “no”.
Then came the chore of finding someone to dry the slab. It takes years to dry walnut slabs in the open air. To satisfy my needs, I was thinking more in the line of weeks. I ended up having the pricey local guys who had other slabs agree to dry it in their kiln along with some new material they were getting in. It has to be dried slowly to reduct cracks. Their price was reasonable for this alone, so I had the slab freighted to their shop. I still hadn’t see it in person!
Weeks turned into months of run around. It was always going to be ready “next week”. Eventually, they told me it was ready for pick-up so I borrowed a truck and went to pick it up – and see it for the first time. They used a fork-lift to load it up. The sucker was HEAVY. Wimps. My dad and I unloaded it ourselves with some creativity.
With the help of my father and brother, we started sanding. And sanding and sanding and sanding and sanding. We later found that it was still fairly moist inside and had to let it air dry a bit before filling the cracks with resin and wood filler (more on this later).
While waiting, I had a welder/friend make legs based on some mid-century designs. Ready made wouldn’t work. They needed to be very substantial to hold the weight of this monster walnut slab. He included levelers to save us on needing sugar packets down the road.
Eventually, we gave it a final sanding and many, many coats of polyurethane to protect it from food, drinks, children, and anything else the world could throw at it. Next, we installed the legs and some angle iron to help prevent and warping/bending.
This is still one of my favorite DIYs ever even though the moisture left by not actually getting it adequately dry has caused some problems that we are addressing now – so there will be more details on how we finished this table soon.
I paired it with a set of 6 vintage Herman Miller fiberglass chairs and reproduction wooded bases. Here it is in the old house. Our new dining room is a work in progress, but will have something to photograph soon.
Hi there! Do you have any tips for finishing the sides of they able? I’m making a live edge coffee table at the moment and can’t decide how to go about finishing the sides, which are covered in bark. Did you just sand the bark off? Thanks!
I picked and chiseled most of the bark off first, then sanded it smooth. It was more of an art than a science! Just make sure your slab is dry and not fresh before you do anything or it will warp badly and you’ll have to re-do all of your work!
[…] is very pricey due to its uniqueness and effort required to craft it. However, this DIY blog called Remodelicious found an occasion where a live edge dining table was crafted out of a walnut tree that was chopped […]
your table is absolutely GORGEOUS! I too salivate over live edge tables but don’t have the budget or the patience… maybe someday!
Actually they are vintage moulded fiberglass Herman-Miller chairs with walnut bases. A must for a Mid-Century Modern home!
Can you tell me who did the legs for you…I am interested in doing a similar project
A local welder/fabricator did these.
SO HOW MUCH DID THE PROJECT END UP COSTING YOU?
Yes I’d like to know as well! These tables usually cost around 2k.
Can you tell me who you bought the slab from?
That slab turned out to be a rustic style beautiful dining idea! This project looks interesting. Thank you for this idea and inspiration Very helpful.
Great Job on this! I see you put strong backs underneath, that is a very worth while thing since you used hair pin styled legs! Do those legs have a means a leveling the table? As most floors and the wood itself are rarely perfectly flat!
Fabulous table!! Thanks for all of the tips! I’m wanting an entry table, but finding them quite pricey!