Is live-edge wood more expensive?

Is live-edge wood more expensive?

Among the most popular types of furniture we make are live-edge tables. These are tables whose tops are made from single slabs of lumber, cut lengthwise from a tree and comprising that tree’s entire width, or diameter. Whereas the lumber we’re all familiar with comes in straight, square boards, live-edge slabs follow the natural contours of the tree’s edge, and incorporate them into the finished table.

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What is a live edge table?

A live-edge table is inherently dramatic, hearkening back to the living being from which it’s made in a much more concrete way than milled boards do. We can see the curves and the irregularities in the outline of a slab, see the odd outcroppings and the genuinely unique ways that particular tree grew. Some have more variations and some are virtually straight, but they all visibly tell the story of a tree that grew.

It may be clear, then, why we love live-edge furniture so much, and why so many of our clients choose it. There’s immediate visual drama, a sort of storytelling right there in the furniture. Slabs generally have more striking grain patterns than do milled boards, and they’re more likely to present captivating figure. All told, they just carry a certain presence, and they allow our clients to bring a piece of nature’s beauty into their home.


How much does a live edge table cost?

In building custom furniture, cost is almost invariably a consideration. We often field the questions, “what does live-edge furniture cost? What does a live-edge slab cost?” Truthfully, it’s difficult to answer those questions in the abstract. There are countless factors that play into slab cost, including some entirely subjective ones. To start with, unsurprisingly, there’s size. A larger slab will cost more than a smaller one. Most especially, a wider slab will cost more than a narrow one, and the wider you go the more dramatic the difference. Simply put, there are more skinny trees than wide ones, and it’s merely a question of supply.

Also at play are some less obvious factors. What wood species are we considering? Some may be trendy, or particularly desirable at a given moment, and that can drive cost. A slab that has intense, dramatic figure or grain patterns will typically fetch a higher price than a plainer one, depending on the type of wood. All of this is frustratingly vague, I know. But the truth is that the cost of a live-edge slab depends on so many things that it’s hard to pin down. I’ve seen beautiful $1,800 slabs and beautiful $18,000 slabs. For the sorts of tables we build, and the sorts of slabs we use, I’d venture that the “typical” range would be something like $2,500-$6,000. The beauty of using slabs, though, is that you get to pick exactly which one you want; you can examine pictures, and even inspect in person to ensure you get just the right one.