Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in demand for furniture or home decoration items made out of live edge slabs. Even though the market for such furniture is quite high, processing and producing a final product from live edge wood slab is not an easy deal.
Pieces of live edge wood are expensive, and one of the main reasons behind the high price tag is that the processing time is long. Unlike regular timber or other wood pieces, live edge slabs do not come in a regular or even shape. The uneven shape and texture of these pieces are what make them unique.
However, you will have to flatten or even out the live edge slab before you start making a piece of furniture out of it, but not many people are aware of how to do it. Therefore, in this guide, we will discuss how to flatten a live edge slab and other factors associated with it.
What Is A Live Edge Slab?
By live edge slab, we typically refer to pieces of wood that do not usually come with even edges or textures. The lumber we normally use comes in a specific shape or size, but it is not the case when it comes to live edge slab. For pieces of live edge wood, professional woodworkers prefer trees that are not commonly used or deemed necessary for traditional woodworking.
Best Way To Flatten A Live Edge Wood Slab : Three Methods Explained
Before we start working with the live edge slab, it is essential to flatten out the slab properly. There are quite a few methods that you can use to even out the pieces of wood. These ways are:
Method 1: Planer
One of the most popular choices of flattening wood slabs is to use a large planer. The advantage of using this planer is that it offers the smoothest finish, and you do not have to sand the wood slabs much. You will easily find this planer in places such as wood shops, commercial woodwork warehouses, and so on.
All you have to do is take the wood slabs to a woodwork shop and pass both sides of the slab through the planer unless and until you get your desired or even finish. If you are confused about the progress of the slab, you can put markings on the slab to make sure that you get the right finish.
Method 2: CNC
While the planer is a man-operated machine for giving a smoother finish to the live edge slabs, the CNC is a wood flattening tool that is automatically operated using a computer.
The wood slabs are automatically passed through a surface blade quite a few times until one side of the slab is flattened out. The slab is then turned, and the process is repeated to smoothen out the other side as well.
The procedure of evening out a piece of wood in a CNC is especially useful if you are working with a piece that features twists and so on. However, one of the most obvious problems with a CNC machine is that it is quite slow, and you will have to spend a decent amount of time to reach the leveling you require.
Method 3: Router Sled
The concept of a router sled is quite similar to the concept of a CNC wood flattening machine. In both of these tools, the wood slab will have to be passed through a surface blade to get a smooth finish on the piece. If we talk about the difference between the sled and the CNC, the sled is typically a cheaper, DIY option.
The best part of a router sled is that you can customize it based on your recommended size and complete the job within a few dollars. Even though this equipment follows the same footsteps as the CNC, the major difference is that it is not as accurate as of the other two equipment we have mentioned above.
If you are not interested in the idea of building a router sled on your own, you can always purchase one and use it whenever necessary.
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Things You Should Take Care for Flattening Live Edge Slab
Things that you should take care for Flatten Live Edge Slab.
While working or flattening a live edge wood slab, there are a few things that you have to keep in mind. These are:
Carefully Sand The Wood Slabs
A mistake that the majority of people make while sanding wood slabs is that they sand the pieces more than required. To make sure you get the proper smoothness or width, it is essential to sand the slabs carefully. You can avoid making this mistake by marking the slabs before passing them through the sanding tool.
This will help you to achieve the required width and level on the wood pieces without any trouble.
Use Resin To Fill The Holes
Live edge wood slabs do not always come with an even surface; most of them come with holes or gaps. Before sanding the pieces or working with them, it is essential to fill in the holes appropriately. Experts typically recommend the use of epoxy resin to cover the gaps. Pour resin into the openings and wait for it to dry completely before you sand the slabs.
Prepare The Wood Slab Properly
Before sanding or pouring epoxy over the wood slabs, it is essential to prepare them properly. This means that you must cut the piece of the wood to your required size. This is because sanding takes a lot of time and epoxy resin comes with a high price tag. So, there is no meaning in wasting both time and money on a portion of the wood that you do not need.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
1. What Can I Make From A Live Edge Slab?
Furniture made out of live edge wood slabs is very popular in today’s modern world. These wood pieces are typically used to make table tops, countertops, and so on. The reason why these slabs are so popular is that they add a touch of both western and rustic style to a room.
2. Is A Live Edge Wood Slab Expensive?
If we consider the market price of the furniture made out of live edge wood slabs, they are expensive. The main reason why these pieces come with a high price tag is that each piece is unique from the other, and it takes a long time to process the wood.
The type of wood used in the making also plays a major role when it comes to determining the price of these pieces. However, one thing is certain that these slabs cost way more compared to the regular lumber or wood pieces.
3. How To Complete The Work Of A Live Edge Slab?
There are several steps that you need to follow before making sure that the live edge slab is complete and ready. The first step is to process the wood and cut it into shape. Once you have determined the shape, flatten the slab out by sanding it evenly.
Test the finishing of the leveling process and make sure that it has achieved the required smoothness and width. Fill in all the holes and gaps on the piece with epoxy and allow it to dry properly. Finally, finish the piece, and you have a beautiful live edge slab on your hands.
4. How Long Does It Take To Dry Live Edge Slabs?
The amount of time required to dry the live edge slabs typically depends on the type of wood and the width of the pieces. However, if we talk about a general estimation, it takes about 6 months to over a year for live edge slabs to dry completely. It is essential to make sure that the pieces are completely dry before you start working on them.
In today’s date, live edge slabs are used to prepare some of the most beautiful and unique pieces of furniture and home decoration items. Flattening the wood slabs is usually the most important step in the entire process.
As we discussed above, there are typically three ways available, and all of these methods are easy and useful. You can choose any of the methods from how to flatten a live edge slab that you like and flatten the pieces accordingly.
If we talk about our personal preference, we prefer the planer as it is easy to use and has the ability to provide the most accurate finish to a wooden slab. Not only that, but it is also widely available in almost every woodwork shop.