Live Edge Furniture: How to Take Care of It

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    Live edge furniture can offer a lot of value for your home. Unlike traditional home furniture, these wood products aren’t mass-produced, so they’re one of a kind. Like all natural wood products they can be damaged without proper attention, so it’s always good to know how to take care of it.  

    As both art pieces and functional décor, these items are worth reinvesting in. That is why it’s important to us at Makers Woodshop to teach you about these items and how to take care of them.

    What is Live Edge Furniture?

    wood strength

    Live edge refers to the fact that edge of the wood is not cut straight. Instead the outside follows the natural contours of the log. Sometimes that means a gentle slope, sometimes that means a large jutting knot edge. Every piece is different since it isn’t cut square.

    Seven suggestions to help you keep your live edge furniture looking great once you have it at home.

    Check Your Ambient Room Humidity

    Humidity matters when you have a single piece of wood. With mass produced furniture, like from ikea, you usually have engineered pieces of wood. Which isn’t really a single piece of wood, usually it is wood pulp, glued together and covered with a laminate. If the humidity changes there isn’t any real wood grain to contract or expand so the furniture stays the same.

    With a live edge slab you need to keep in mind the fact that the wood will continue to evolve over time. Keep your furniture in a space that has a consistent environment, you don’t want it to be in a space that has drastic temperature swings, as this will stress the wood, especially if it isn’t finished properly.

    Humidity levels below 30% can cause wood to shrink and splinter. Above 50% and your furniture could warp or even grow mold. One of the easiest ways of maintaining proper moisture levels is with functioning HVAC equipment. You may also want to purchase an electronic humidity meter for accurate results, although that is probably overkill.

    Don’t Use Harsh Cleaning Products

    dusting wood furniture

    We know it’s important to sanitize your furniture, but you can’t use standard harsh bottled cleaning products. Even those that are advertised as wood surface cleaners should be avoided. Instead, start by dry dusting your live edge furniture with a soft microfiber cloth. Eliminating surface dirt helps prevent scratches from forming during regular use.

    Next, use a damp cloth rag with a small amount of mild detergent. Make sure to dry it immediately with a clean towel to prevent streaking. Oil-based wood butter can also be applied to preserve your furniture. A good rule of thumb is, if it has words like “natural” in it, it should be fine. Avoid any type of polyurethane products, as our tables are finished with natural oil solutions, like Rubio Monocoat, Odies Oil, or Osmo.

    Don’t Re-apply Lacquer Coatings

    Clear lacquer is commonly the industry standard when finishing raw wood furniture. Not only does it dry durably, but it offers years of protection. Over time, these protective coatings begin to wear out. Oftentimes, a homeowner’s first instincts are to apply more lacquer, which is the wrong thing to do.

    If you were going to add another layer of lacquer, you would need to ensure that you completely stripped away all of the original product. If you don’t, you’re simply adding more on top of the first sealed layer. 

    That also includes sanding, applying lacquer, allowing it to cure, and keeping it clean. Instead, use natural oil-based products to keep the wood safer from scratching.

    We don’t use lacquers on our products, so that won’t be a problem, if your table has a nick or a scratch on it, contact us and we can recommend the proper product for your table.

    Avoid Using Them in Bathrooms

    Many people love the organic finish so much that they want it everywhere in their home. However, that doesn’t mean that live edge wood sinks are the best choice. These furniture pieces are often ideal as tables, chairs, stools, and other functional items. While some people do enjoy them as bathroom and kitchen sinks, they do require a lot of attention.

    With continuous running water, these surfaces need to be dried off immediately. That can quickly become frustrating, especially while preparing meals or trying to clean. Instead, search for furniture pieces better suited for higher humidity levels. You may find that false wood works best where water will run.

    However, we have made kitchen counters and vanity tops, we just have to know that is what you want to use it for, and we can finish it properly to hold up for years of use.

    Keep Live Edge Furniture Out of Direct Sunlight

    While water is a threat, so is direct sunlight for long periods. However, these pieces are gorgeous in the light, but they can also fade and damage in extended, direct UV light. Unlike stained lumber, live edge wood retains its natural coloration. Without an outside dye to stabilize the color, your table will change shade slightly over the years.

    These surfaces are organic materials, and UV light can damage them. Make sure that your blinds are at least angled to prevent sun bleaching. You should also keep your furniture away from fireplaces, cooking surfaces, and other heat sources. They can also create a similar effect as prolonged sun exposure.

    Epoxy Shifting is Normal

    One of the most challenging aspects of natural wood furniture is with applying resin products. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary step of the process to keep the layers together. Over time, epoxy has been known to lift slightly from its original position. While that is a common occurrence, many furniture owners panic at the sight.

    Any woodworker worth their salt knows to account for this in the design. We know that changes in temperature, pressure, and humidity can cause minor changes. Unless the shifting has caused substantial cracking, there’s no reason to fear. It’s one of the many quirks and charms of enjoying live edge wood furniture. If it becomes a serious problem give us a call, we have a finish guarantee that can take care of it.

    Understand Live Edge Wood Characteristics

    closeup of the Black Walnut with White Epoxy table

    These products are natural wood, there are times where small cracks may appear, or the finish wears thin. The great thing is that you have plenty of table beneath that small problem. A light sanding, some filler, and re-applying the finish is all it takes to repair most imperfections. All of our tables carry a “finish guarantee. If your top experiences any issues, bring it back to us, and we will refinish the top of the table for $120. We want you to have a product you can love for years.

    We are creating a product that should provide decades of easy, and beautiful use. While owning a live edge slab table/counter may be slightly more upkeep then an mass produced product, the minor extra effort will be worth it for years to come.

    Buy Live Edge Furniture Today!

    See why consumers love our unique selection of live edge furniture. Choose Makers Woodshop today for your live edge furniture today.

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