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

Countryside Amish Furniture offers a growing number of pieces in trendy live edge. This furniture style works well within the "bring the outdoors in" theme that is gaining popularity in interior design. Here we attempt to answer the frequently asked questions related to this unique and beautiful edge type.

What is Live Edge?

Live Edge describes the shape of the edge of the table top, shelf, or desk top in question. As pictured below, you can see that the bark is carefully removed from the lumber without disrupting the natural appearance of the edge. Our furniture built with live edge wood is custom hand stained and coated with a catalyzed conversion varnish just like all of our other furniture. Rustic characteristics of the wood remain and knots are filled to avoid an uneven surface, but remain visible. The raw beauty of the hardwood is maintained.

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 can I use live edge furniture?

Our live edge offerings include desks, bookshelves, dining tables, pub tables, benches, chairs, etc. Shop our gallery of live edge and rustic dining furniture to create a one of a kind collection. In addition, add live edge pieces to your bedroom, living room, and home or executive office.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.

Why is live edge popular?

Live edge furniture is completely original by definition. No two pieces of live edge furniture can ever be exactly alike. Further, live edge combines the rustic appeal of solid wood furniture with the refined appearance of upmarket design. Your live edge furniture from Countryside will have the same heirloom life expectancy of all our other furniture. It is, of course, solid wood and Amish handmade.

How is Countryside's live edge unique?

Our live edge furniture is available in three rustic, domestic, responsibly harvested hardwoods: Rustic Maple, Rustic Cherry, and Rustic Walnut. Although there are "bark on" varieties, at this point Countryside is offering "bark off" live edge to ensure longevity and the pristine appearance our family of customers has come to expect.

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. 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.