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Interior Design Tips – Live Edge Wood Projects for Your Home

The term “live edge” refers to a piece of wood where the outer edges have been left with the natural edge of the tree cut instead of being cut square into traditional shaped lumber. The bark can be left on or removed to expose the natural curves of the tree’s trunk. The striking contrast created by the natural and refined elements is becoming increasingly popular in interior design.

There are plenty of ways you can create your own live edge wood projects at very reasonable prices. Given the rustic nature of live edge pieces, they lend themselves perfectly to DIY projects and they can be completed with basic tools already in your tool box. Check out our photo gallery for idea’s and inspiration.

Here are some of our best tips when starting a live edge project.


4 Tips for Affordable, Beautiful, And Long-Lasting Live Edge Woodwork For Your Interior Design


  1. Shop around for quality slabs that won’t be a handful

Starting off with a quality, kiln dried piece of wood will save time and reduce the risk of headaches & heartbreak down the road. Of course, some movement in the wood is to be expected but starting with a kiln dried slab will significantly reduce the risk of unwanted cracking and twisting. Finding a slab that has been already been planed or sanded will give you a huge head start on step 2.


  1. Don’t skimp on preparation

One of the key aspects of a live edge project is the contrast between the natural and finished edges of the piece. So be sure to put in plenty of work making all sides of your project look their best! Address any loose pieces now by removing or reattaching them securely. In order to prepare the surfaces properly the type of finish will need to be considered before sanding. Always follow the finish manufacturer’s directions for surface preparation. Proper sanding is crucial, it’s not difficult but does require some effort and patience, spend time sanding it down properly – your finished piece will look better, and last longer.


  1. Use the “flaws” to your advantage

The more character the better! What really sets a live edge piece apart from other building materials is if you can make the live edge and other idiosyncrasies work for you. Consider highlighting figuring or colour variation in the grain with an oil finish such as Rubio Monocoat. Splits, knots and other inclusions can be made a feature by adding epoxy or inlayed keys often called bow tie or butterfly keys. The more character the better the finished piece will look but properly handling inclusions does involve more work, for a speedy build look for a slab with minimal splits and checking.


  1. Use a quality finish like Rubio Monocoat

We’re big fans of Rubio Monocoat here at Monaghan Lumber, and use it in a lot of our own work. Rubio Monocoat is safe, easy to use, and comes with many color options. As the name suggests Rubio’s flagship product “2C” finishes and protects all in one coat. Designed and made in Belgium this European hard wax oil is designed to keep the natural look and feel of wood without harmful chemicals, it contains zero VOC’s!

For exterior projects a marine varnish or two part epoxy such as West System will provide a tough finish that is designed to withstand our tough climate. Keeping your live edge piece covered when not in use and during the winter months will help it last even longer.


Choose Monaghan Lumber Specialties for Your Woodwork

At Monaghan Lumber Specialties, we’ve been providing great pieces of wood to interior designers, DIY’er, contractors and carpenters for thirty years. Contact us to learn more about our dazzling selection of live edge slabs from around the world!