DIY Live Edge Wood Table

finished table with live wood edge
  • 4-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 300-500
What You'll Need
Slab of wood
Epoxy
Chisel
Sander or sandpaper
Shellac

A live edge wood table keeps the essence of the rough tree features, bringing a natural element to your furniture and your space. Live edge wood tables are quite expensive if you find them online or in a local woodworking or furniture store. To cut costs and earn a sense of pride in your labors, DIY a live edge wood table instead of buying a ready-made one so you can display your creation front and center.

Step 1 - Establish Size and Shape

To begin the process, measure the space where you want the table. Decide if round, square, or rectangular is what you’re after based on the size and shape of the surrounding furniture in the room. With measurements in hand you’ll know what size and shape of wood to shop for.

Step 2 - Estimate Cost

There are many factors that will determine the cost of your final project. Do a search online and you’ll find a prebuilt live edge wood table can run over $1,000. You can likely source the materials and buy one yourself for around $300-400, depending on the type and size of wood as well as the materials for the base.

Step 3 - Select Type of Lumber

Review images of live edge wood tables in various sizes and designs. Then choose the type of wood that most appeals to you. Burl is the most expensive option because the look relies on a specific type of growth on the tree in order to achieve the look. Tree rounds are more common and are a standard circle shape cut through the width of the tree that highlights the ring patterns.

A tree slab also shows the grain of the wood, but it is cut lengthwise to create longer, rectangular boards. The disadvantage of the tree slab is that the live edge is lost on the longest sides, with only the ends showing the tree’s true outer edge. Regardless of cut and shape you will also need to consider what type of tree you want, of which there are endless options.

live edge wood table

Step 4 - Find Lumber

To find the perfect tabletop wood, scour the internet. Search online marketplaces such as Etsy, eBay, Facebook, and Craigslist. Look frequently with different search criteria for the best results.

If you don’t have luck with precut pieces, and you're not living in a wooded area where you can fell your own tree, connect with tree removal companies in your area to work out a deal.

gloved hands using chisel and hammer to remove bark from a tree stump

Step 5 - Dry the Wood

Make sure your wood is kiln dried for you begin your project to avoid warping and other moisture issues. Use a moisture meter to verify the moisture content is in the six to eight percent range. Then acclimate your slabs indoors for a few weeks before starting work.

Step 6 - Fill Holes and Gaps

Depending on the finished look you desire, you can fill gaps and cracks by pouring epoxy into them and allowing it to set.

Step 7 - Smooth the Edges

Most people choose to smooth the edges of their table by first removing the bark, which often falls off eventually anyway. Shave the bark off the edges with a blade or chisel and then sand all surfaces smooth.

closeup on live edge wood table edge

Step 8 - Seal the Wood

Now that your wood looks like a table top, seal it to protect the surface and bring out the natural features of the wood. Wipe the surface with denatured alcohol to remove any dust and then brush on a coat of amber shellac. Allow the shellac to completely dry and sand lightly before adding a tung oil/varnish blend finish. You can apply additional coats as desired.

hand with brush applying finish to wood

Step 9 - Choose Base

Finally, attach a base. You can order, build, or customize metal or wood legs or even a pillar-style mount. The variations are infinite and the process is part of what makes your table one of a kind.

With your project complete, put it in place and savor the savings as well as the beauty of your live edge wood table.