Live edge

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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, such as Alligator Juniper, mesquite and salvaged wood that could not be used in conventional woodworking. There are special challenges involved in working with this type of wood, and several methods for live edge have developed. Some leave the natural holes and cracks in the wood while other artist fill them with resins.


Live edge is a mix of "Western" and rustic furniture styles. Originally it was categorized as rustic, but the two styles have many differences.


George Nakashima, winner of the Institute of Architects' Gold Craftsmanship Medal, is known for leaving the natural edge of the wood as part of the finished piece including in his series for Knoll in 1946.[1] His style is considered an extension of the Arts and Crafts movement and employs craftsmanship that Nakashima said was "not only a creative force, but a moral idea." [1][2] Mixing Japanese, American and International Modern style he designed furniture lines for Knoll and Widdicomb-Mueller "using timber organically and deliberately chose boards with knots, burrs and figured grain."[3]

Live Edge Design, in Duncan, BC, started to redefine the practice of retaining the natural edge in furniture design in the early 2000s, giving it a West Coast, reclaimed wood twist. This look was quickly adopted by luxurious west coast resorts and fine coastal residences. Large slabs of reclaimed maple with beautiful grain detail and the inclusion of other natural elements are all indications of Live Edge Design's craftsmanship.

In 2005, the manager of the 10th Fine Furnishings Show in Providence, Rhode Island said she had "seen a fair amount of live-edge work, pieces that use the natural, wavy edge of the board, along with pieces made from sticks or twigs".[4]

Chris Krauss, of East Wilton and MaineWoodNet and once part of the SugarWood Gallery cooperative, planned to share display space for her Native Woods' live-edge furniture line with Aardvark Outfitters in 2008.[5]

Wes Herman, owner of nine Woods Coffee stores in Whatcom County, uses his Birch Bay store to showcase his live-edge tables handmade from fallen, dried trees gathered over the years.[6] "The live edge is the actual natural edge where the bark has been removed," he said.[6] Adding "We design them and they are locally made from native Whatcom County wood."[6]

Andy and Aaron Sanchez, Native New Mexican artist redefine rustic and western art by preserving the natural beauty of the wood[7]

Groovystuff, a Dallas-based manufacturer of residential furnishings audited by the Forest Stewardship Council, crafts furniture from reclaimed teak wood and teak the root bulbs. The company introduced a line of "made in America" wrought iron frames from Charleston Forge combined with the live edge teakwood tops in 2007.[8]

Lou Quallenberg Studios, located in the Texas Hill Country, uses live edge design for its mesquite furnishings and incorporates natural cracks, crevices, and insect holes, sometimes decorating them with inlaid gem-quality turquoise or bits of gold.[9]

Natural Edge Furniture, in Central Oregon, Natural Edge Furniture produces live edge furniture using salvaged, recovered and recycled materials. Natural Edge Furniture serves the designer market as well as the public. Their pieces can be found in many homes, lodges and galleries across the United States. Trees in the Pacific Northwest grow to legendary proportions, and sometimes they fall down or need to be removed. Black Walnut and Western Maple slabs are the predominant species that this company works with. Often a dining or conference room table will be produced using a single or book matched slab.

Walnut Wood Works, in Bell Buckle TN, uses locally salvaged wood from deadfall and standing dead trees. Working primarily in Black Walnut, WWW has an emphasis on knots, imperfections and cracks which make the wood beautiful and unique. WWW is known for their Wine Racks No two pieces are alike, and all are painstakingly crafted by hand.


  1. ^ a b George Nakashima Design dictionary
  2. ^ George Nakashima profile R Gallery
  3. ^ George Nakashima; Unfinished natural edges and butterfly joints over the voids characterize the work of George Nakashima Woodworkers Institute
  4. ^ Channing Gray Haute and cool; Fine Furnishings show branches out in 10th year with a bigger spread of classic and cutting-edge pieces October 16, 2005 Providence Journal
  5. ^ Betty Jespersen co-op business sold 21 June 2008 Kennebec Journal Morning Sentinel
  6. ^ a b c Tara Nelson The Woods Coffee opens store at Birch Bay Square May 7, 2009 The Northern Light (Blaine and Birch Bay Washington)
  7. ^ [1] May, 2009 Western Art Collector
  8. ^ Groovystuff Completes Forest Stewardship Council Audit September 13, 2007 Furniture World Magazine
  9. ^ Cowboys&Indians Magazine October 2009

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