live edge book matched Texas pecan slabs with exceptional figure and color.

Still Riding The Wavy Edge

When I first began posting projects that incorporated live edge lumber four or more years ago, I knew from my own client base that there was a growing attraction for furniture that displayed natural edges. It has been more than two years since I last posted and in that time the demand for those wavy edged boards has only continued to grow. Now commercial manufacturers are producing live edge tables and hardwood sawmills are dedicating a greater portion of their inventory to live edge slabs and for good reason. Beautifully figured live edge slabs are bringing a much higher board foot price than conventionally milled lumber. I recently saw a figured bubinga slab at the Gilmer Lumber Company website going for $10,000. My friend, Brandon Berdoll, at Berdoll Saw Mill does a steady business selling his impressive live edge pecan and mesquite boards for thousands of dollars per slab.

live edge Texas mesquite coffee table

This Texas mesquite and pecan coffee table I designed and made several years ago has enjoyed very positive reviews and brought in additional commissions for live edge projects. The lumber came from a friend of mine who has a tree removal business.

Live edge Texas mesquite coffee table with Texas pecan end panels.

Some more recent projects have been on a larger scale and allowed me the opportunity to create furniture with live edge slabs of exceptional size and figure.

live edge book matched Texas pecan slabs with exceptional figure and color.

The top for this conference table is made up of two book matched Texas pecan slabs that together measure well over six feet in width (courtesy Berdoll Saw Mill).

One topic debated among custom furniture makers, woodworkers, and consumers is the kind of base that should be used with a live edge table top. An image search for “live edge table” yields dozens of tables with simple slab bases or rectalinear metal supports. The argument for these kinds of bases is that they don’t compete with or draw one’s attention away from the beauty of a spectacular top. They certainly don’t. My own view is that these simple bases are somewhere between boring and ugly. They are not a reflection of fine design or skilled craftsmanship. They are just a lot easier to make.

Pedestal base for conference table with live edge pecan top.

This is a view of the base for the conference table with the Texas pecan top shown above it.  How does it take away from the top? It doesn’t. That top is worthy of a beautiful, visually interesting base.

Live edge Texas pecan conference table with sculpted base.

Live edge Texas pecan conference table.

This is another large live edge Texas pecan table with a more organic, sculptural base that I recently completed for an ad agency. I love this base. To me it seems very appropriate for the natural edge top, but I have communicated with people who do not share my approach and think this base is too busy.

Live edge Texas pecan table with sculptural base.

Really? All I can say is,”Loosen up sweetheart, and enjoy the curves.” Of course, I say this all in fun. This is not a moral issue, just a matter of taste, and differences in taste make for a more interesting world.

This last piece does present a sharp contrast between the gnarly live edge mesquite top and a nicely detailed, sophisticated base in sipo mahogany and bird’s eye maple. This is a writing desk and I really like the juxtaposition  of this top with this base.

Live edge writing desk with mesquite top.

I made this for a client’s home office.

Writing desk with live edge mesquite top.

I am back blogging and welcome your comments. Please visit my website to see more.


4 thoughts on “Still Riding The Wavy Edge

  1. Hello Louis

    We just read your blog. The table is fantastically built, but we don’t like the look of it we would like to see more of a modern table. But everyone has his own taste of course. We are woodworkers ourselves and are currently studying at HMC to become cabin makers. So we really can see it is very well built, but it is just not our taste.

    Greetings, from your mates from Holland: Bruce and Marco

    1. Greetings to my friends Bruce and Marco,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about my table. I completely understand that this design is not in your favorite style. It would be a boring world if we all liked exactly the same things. As a furniture designer I am interested in exploring new shapes and forms. Usually people like my designs but sometimes they don’t. It is impossible to please everyone, but I think it is important to try new designs. After all, do we want to stay in the modern style for the rest of human history? I wish you great success in your studies!
      Louis Fry

  2. Hi Louis,

    We took a look at your blog and we find the before last table top looks very interesting!
    We would like to know how you made this table top, for example is it made of one piece or are they multiple parts? What did you use for the finish of the table?

    Kind regards,

    Cristiano and Martien

    1. Hello Cristiano & Martien,
      Thank you for commenting on my furniture. I hope I understand which table you are asking about. The table top in the next to last picture is made up of one large piece of wood from a mesquite tree. Mesquite trees grow in the southwestern part of the United States and in Mexico. Cracks and holes in this top have been filled with polished stones of turquoise and peridot suspended in clear fiberglass resin. All the best to you.
      Louis Fry

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