A Buyer’s Guide to Natural Live Edge Wood Furniture

By Holly Rennels · July 1, 2015

A Buyer’s Guide to Natural Live Edge Wood Furniture

Purchasing Live Edge Furnishings for Home and Business

What is Live Edge?

Live edge means that the wood used has not been cut in a straight line in a quick run through the mill. Natural edge pieces are carefully handled to retain the shape of the tree's natural edge so that a rustic, one-of-a-kind line emerges. Consequently, there will be width variations in the dimensions of live edge furniture.

There are a number of wood species used in live edge, but at Countryside, we typically utilize only rustic varieties of Brown Maple, Cherry, and Walnut. (Click here to learn more about wood species) What does rustic mean? We do not purge the sections of the tree that may include knots or dramatic color variations. It is those variations that make every piece unique. Knots are always filled with an epoxy to ensure a smooth surface, but they remain visible through the top coat of catalyzed conversion varnish. (Click here to learn more about our varnish.)

Two types of natural live edge are becoming common in Amish handmade furniture. A  "bark on" edge is pictured below and is exceedingly rustic as the bark of the tree remains intact and is simply varnished over. It is most appropriate for a cabin or casual setting. Countryside does not offer any bark on live edge at this time. 

All live edge dining, office, living, and bedroom furniture offered at Countryside is "de-barked" or "bark off". Using extreme caution, our Amish artisans carefully remove the bark from the tree and lightly sand the edge to prevent splintering. It is tedious work as the importance of not altering the edge of the wood cannot be overstated. This process, as all our furniture building, is accomplished by hand. The exquisite, unique edge that emerges from this process is truly breathtaking.

Where should I place live edge furniture?

Only your personal style and taste will establish boundaries for live edge in your home or place of business. Our line of live edge products currently includes items for office and dining room with bedroom and living room furniture to be added in 2015. All of our live edge pieces fall into Modern or Contemporary style, but a few are also appropriate for Mission or Shaker motifs. Given recent trends in industrial chic and bringing the outdoors in, live edge furnishings are perfect for updating both home and office.

Industrial Chic

Examples of industrial chic furnishings would include our Bradgate Park Home Office Set. Combining a powder coated steel base with a live edge slab adds the charm of natural wood to a cold, sterile feeling frame. Similarly, our Copote Live Edge Side Chair also fits into this category. 

Mixing steel with a live edge creates a stunning contrast that is both visually interesting and functionally optimal. Moving these items and caring for them will be easier as they are not as heavy as much of our furniture that is made entirely of solid wood.

Bringing the Outdoors In

This trend features everything from having a contained plot of grass in your living room to using earth toned leather in your office. Whatever speaks to you can "bring the outdoors in" so long as the colors are very natural and the furnishings are unobtrusive. Our Arapaho Pass Dining Set is a perfect example of this style. The edges of every piece in this dining collection are "live" and the Christmas Cloves stain is a rich earth tone perfect for a rustic yet refined environment. Many proponents of this method of decorating claim elements reminiscent of nature in one's surroundings create calm and defy chaos.

No matter if your interest in live edge is personal or commercial, Countryside has an Amish handcrafted, hardwood solution. As with all our made to order fine furniture, you make all the decisions about the wood species, color, size, and options that our craftsmen include in your custom pieces. If you don't see precisely what you envision, chat with us online, send an email, or call and we will do our best to accommodate your vision.