Live edge tables on Pinterest and Instagram have piqued my interest lately, but I could not get my hands on the right kind of wood. I wanted to create unique coffee and end tables for our front living area and initially thought I would try to find some pallet wood to create the look I was going for. Then, I had a new project thrown in my lap when we had arborists come to look at the giant maple tree in our back yard.
We hoped to keep the tree and just have it trimmed back, but the arborists confirmed that the root system was already growing through our sewer pipes and a potential hazard for our power lines and roof, so this forced us to have the tree removed. This was very sad as it was a beautiful old tree, so we decided to make our coffee and end tables from the leftover wood in memory of the tree. This gave me the materials I needed to create a live edge table!
We asked the arborists to cut the wood to our preferred specifications. If you don’t have your own wood, you could go to your local lumber yard and ask them to do the same. Even with the arborists cutting the pieces for us, we discovered the coffee table was far too heavy to lift, therefore impractical as a piece of furniture. My husband decided he would rent a chainsaw from Home Depot and cut the wood himself. This was a terrifying experience for me as neither one of us had ever used a chainsaw. He had a blast however, and survived with all appendages intact:
Keep in mind that if you choose to also cut your own wood, it is VERY difficult to get a straight cut with a chainsaw. More than likely you’ll need to plane the wood after if you want a level edge. We have not planed our wood yet as it takes a full year for freshly cut wood to dry. Right now we’re just using the unfinished pieces until next September when we can complete the project.
Next, we rented a belt sander and I sanded both sides of each piece of wood. It takes time to get used to the belt sander. It is much more powerful than an orbital sander and you have to firmly hold both ends and while going back and forth. Always sand with the grain of the wood. Your arms are going to be very tired by the time you’re finished! I was at the end of my 2nd trimester of pregnancy in this photo and pretty exhausted.
Next we used butcher block finishing oil on both sides of the wood to preserve the wood until we can stain and finish it next year. Your wood will likely crack due to the moisture leaving it. Look at this as simply enhancing the “character” of your piece. Glass half full right? 😉
Finally we chose black metal hairpin legs from Amazon to finish off the pieces. The stumps were definitely not level, so my husband had the brilliant idea of using the wood chips that had fallen off while he was sawing the stumps to screw in underneath the legs and level the tables. It worked really well!
Here you see the finished product in our front room.
We’re proud of our initial efforts. Once we hit the year mark, I’ll do an updated post with the final results with the finished and leveled wood.