Live Edge Table Tops: Everything You Need to Know

So you’ve discovered the beauty that is a Live Edge Table Top. Now it’s time to start the search for YOUR perfect slab! There is a LOT to know about live edge wood slabs and it can seem intimidating when you first start searching. To help you navigate this process, we’ve made a need-to-know list with all the things we believe will help make your search a breeze!
Live Edge Table Tops: Everything You Need to Know
Live Edge tables

So you’ve discovered the beauty that is a Live Edge Table Top. Now it’s time to start the search for YOUR perfect slab! There is a LOT to know about live edge wood slabs and it can seem intimidating when you first start searching. To help you navigate this process, we’ve made a need-to-know list with all the things we believe will help make your search a breeze!

Know Your Live Edge Table Top Dimensions

When selecting the size of your dining table it may seem stressful, but don’t worry, we can help! Selecting the size of your dining table depends on the size of your family or the amount of people you’d like to have around the table at once. The more people the more space you need! We like to follow these guidelines as a starting point for finding the perfect live edge table:

Rectangular Table

4-6 People: 36″ Width x 72″ Length

6-8 People: 42″ Width x 96″ Length

9-10 People: 42″ Width x 120″ Length

Round Table

2-3 People: 36″ Diameter

4-5 People: 42″ Diameter

5-6 People: 60″ Diameter

Please also note that these dimensions are not set in stone, you can always adjust your sizing up or down!

Table Tops: Wood Species

When picking your live edge table, selecting a wood species can play a big part. We get asked which wood type is best for a dining table a lot, and the simple answer is all of them!  Any wood type can work for a project depending on the work you’re able or willing to put into it. A lot of people prefer to use hardwoods like black walnut, white oak and ash because less work is needed to make them super durable, but softwoods such as spalted maple, cottonwood and pine are usable, they just need a little bit more love to make the perfect table. This can be in the form of epoxy, C-Channel Struts, or a super supportive table base.

Difference between bow, cup, and twist

If you’re not familiar with wood species or hard versus soft woods, you can use the color you’re looking for to help narrow the options! We have both dark and lighter colored woods, and here is a quick overview: Our dark woods consist of Black Walnut, but sometimes you can find darker pieces in Red Oak, Maple, Hackberry and even Elm. Our light woods include Ash, Boxelder, Cherry, Hackberry, Maple, Oak, Pine, and everything else except Black Walnut. Remember that if you need any help finding the perfect slab for your table you can contact one of our wood experts via chat, email, or phone during hours provided at the bottom of the page.

FAQs on Live Edge Table Tops

What is a Live Edge? Should I Leave Them on the Slab?

When you see the phrase Live Edge it means the slab still has natural edges from when it was a part of the tree and these edges have not been cut or altered during processing. Whether to leave the live edges or cut them off is a personal preference! Live Edges add an additional uniqueness to your table, while a straight-cut edge offers a modern sleekness, both of which look amazing!

Should I Remove Bark From My Dining Table?

Some wood slabs may have partial or full bark along the live edge and you may wonder if you should remove it. There’s a few reasons why we suggest removing the bark from the live edge, the first being it naturally falls off with time. Even after finishing, the bark coming off just happens as the piece ages. There are precautions you can take to try and prevent the bark from falling off, such as epoxy resin, but there is no guarantee that it will stay on long term. Another thing to note is that removing the bark allows the live edge to be sanded smooth for a soft feel compared to the sharpness that the bark can provide.

table tops

Top Things to be Aware of When Looking at Live Edge Table Top Product Listings

You found a beautiful slab, now you’re diving deeper into the listing and find a long list of details one everything from tapers to cracks. We recommend always reading each description point to get the best understanding of that particular live edge slab, but you definitely want to look for the following:


These defects are all things that affect how flat the slab is, and will help you figure out how thick the slab would be after flattening one or both sides. Here at The Lumber Shack, we do our best to process all slabs to have at least one flat side at the time of listing. This helps ensure you can preserve as much thickness as possible, and any remaining defects can be hidden/adjusted for on the bottom side of the table top.

Size/Depth of Cracks and Voids

This is important to note so you can decide if there is a structural need to fill in any cracks/voids. We always recommend filling these on a dining table top to protect the integrity of the table as it is exposed to foods and liquids, but understand that some prefer the open, natural look.


Knowing if your slab is soft, punky, or fragile is important when it comes to high-use projects. Punky wood is a condition in which the wood is very soft and light with very low density. It is the result of rot, which is defined by the decaying of wood. You can use a soft/punky slab for a table top, you will just want to make sure that you stabilize the wood before putting the table to use. This can be accomplished easily with something like epoxy.

Finishing Options for Live Edge Table Tops

If you want to have someone else do the finishing work on your live edge slab, it is important to know what options they offer! At The Lumber Shack we offer a few different finishing option levels based on your needs.

No Work

Joint & Glue Up Table Top

Flatten One Side Only

Flatten Both Sides

Prepare Slab for Finishing

Finish Slab

Live Edge

We provide more information on each of these in our customer care section or you can just click here, but if you have little woodworking background or want an expert to do it for you then the Finish Slab option is where you want to go. In the Finish Slab option the selected side will be sanded to a 220 grit and sealed with 2-5 coats of finish to ensure a smooth, sealed top for your project. The bottom will be lightly sanded and sealed with 1-2 coats of finish to help protect the bottom side. Straight cuts will be fresh cut, and could be squared up causing possible length reduction. Epoxy Wood Filler is not included. If you do not want straight cuts changed, or if you are in need of filling the cracks and voids, please include a note at checkout.

The finishes that we provide are Rubio Monocoat and Satin Lacquer, and you can find even more information by clicking here!

Don’t have the time to search? Chat, Email, or Call our team of Wood Experts with what you’re needing and let us do the work for you! Our Team is available!