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Thread: Walnut live edge coffee table advise

  1. #1

    Walnut live edge coffee table advise


    So we are trying to decide which side of our coffee table should be the top. On the live edge side (top), have nice butterfly near crack at top but we have some dark spots from the phloem dark spots where the bark used to be and we have not sanded out completely - we don't know how far this black layer goes down. We feel like the dark wood takes away from what we should be focusing on.

    On the back side - smooth, level walnut but no live edge features.

    Any way to remove the black phloem without sanding down? Advice? - it's our first time with live edge

    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Very pretty. Nice table top. I like the more solid side. More surface area. Thatís the way I did mine as well with the sides tapered in towards the bottom.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I'd put the clear face up. It is gorgeous, and that's the point for me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Camillus, NY
    I've made several large live edge tops. I've always considered "live edge" to refer to the outside edge and in walnut it includes the white sapwood. I think the irregularity of the edge is what sings to folks, not the rough sub bark pattern. Also if it were a dining table that is rough on the forearms! I'd go with the back side. It is beautiful and the table will be a treasure in your home.

    "It is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation" - Herman Melville

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    New Hill, NC
    I would go clear face up. In the past I've used a sander to blend in the sapwood and create a faux live edge (when the best face required the live edge curve to face down).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    NW Indiana
    Great piece of wood. I would also go clear side up, with the taper toward the bottom. I did pretty much the same thing Greg did.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    SE Michigan
    Black side down. Beautiful piece.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Los Angeles
    The side in photo 2 should be the top of your table. It's very attractive, photo 1 is not so attractive.

    And the live edge is in the better orientation in this case - if you place photo 1 facing up, the edges slope from the table top down towards the floor, and the energy of the piece also flows away towards the floor.
    Place photo 2 face up, and the edges are lifting upwards - imagine a person with their arms raised up saying "hi" (photo 2) or a person with slumped posture (photo 1).
    Last edited by Mark Gibney; 08-29-2019 at 12:08 AM. Reason: clarity of meaning

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Personally, I fee that the inclusions add interest. They do need to be stabilized, but I'd try to work with that surface as primary if I were doing this project with that particular piece of wood. But that's's quite subjective!

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    The dark side is your good side. I wouldn't even consider the sapwood side usable for any exposed face. I also prefer my live edge to go under.

  11. #11
    I definitely prefer the solid face. People get carried away with live edge thinking every little inclusion is worthy of showcasing. But the first picture just doesn't work for me.

    The surface in the second picture looks very nice.

    If it were me...

    I'd probably lose the "U" at the top of the pic and make the table more square. I would either trim it off entirely, or so just a bit of the live edge at the bottom of the crotch is preserved. The transition along that face, as it stands now, is jarring. I have a live edge crotch cherry table that I did years ago that I feel similarly about now. My own table has always looked like pants to my eye, and would have benefited from some refinement. My opinion only.
    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 08-30-2019 at 10:59 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Ogden, UT
    I also like the chamfer / live edge to go under the table top. I think live edge that chamfers towards the top looks silly.

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