Let’s talk about what we do here at Live Edge Refined… First off, we create far more than just live edge tables and islands—though we do love crafting those!
It’s really all about the trees. And the craftsmanship of course, but the trees from which we get the raw timber are of course critical to the process. At our Mill located in Victor, New York – just outside of Rochester, NY – we’ve accumulated literally millions of board feet of timber.
The trees from which we source the wood slabs consist of maple, walnut, oak, hickory, poplar, New York cottonwood, beech, cherry, and more! And that is precisely the point. We love to give our customers options. You have the ability to come to the Live Edge Refined mill and choose the tree that you want for your next project—be it shelving, a bar top, counters, a table, you name it.
From there, you will sit down with our wood slab specialist and come up with the ideal design for your home or office.
Wood slabs are stunning, each unique in its own way; they are tactile,and rich in grain and movement. Solid slab tables, counters, and bar tops are all the rage, and with good reason. The trick however, in order to prevent cupping and twisting, is to have perfected every step. Every. Single. Step. Otherwise, the end result could be less than ideal…
Once the log is selected, it then goes to the precision mill. Our technologically advanced equipment ensures a high quality slab. It is also about attention to detail. I cannot stress this enough. The sawyer should not only have mastery of the mill, but they also need to understand how to get the optimal cut, such that will reveal the most interesting configuration possible within the wood slabs.
If the magic of the slab is unearthed during the milling process, the ultimate quality and integrity of the wood is established during the drying. Using a vacuum kiln, you have to ensure consistent layers which keep the slabs in contact with one another while under hydraulic pressure. The kiln applies the “vacuum effect” which essentially lowers the boiling point of both free and cellular water within the wood. Anode cathode panels are consequently layered between stacks and these create the needed heat. This is by far the most energy efficient way in which to dry raw wood slabs—not to mention, the most effective way as far as reinforcing the longevity and sustainability of the pieces.
In as few as nine days, the wood reaches 7% moisture level. And given that it is an “inside-out” process, the vacuum kiln assures overall stabilization.
Once the slabs reach the desired moisture content, they are then surfaced. This can be done a number of ways. We utilize a hybrid mill, similar to a massive CNC machine, but capable of completing the same job in a fraction of the time. It also further protects against any cupping and/or twisting within the wood slab.
Following this, we go a bit old school. Hey, if it ain’t broke…Using the orbital sander, we go over each and every slab by hand. Live edge should absolutely be hand sanded to this end. First off, we remove the roughness, then sand it down to softened curves which create a visually exquisite and tactilely “fun” feel.
As far as the finishing goes, it is certainly about getting that desired color, richness and overall aesthetic that you hope to achieve, but it is also about increased stabilization. Many will simply stain/seal the top and insist you are good to go. Not the case. Whatever is done to the top needs to be applied to the sides and bottom of the slab as well. This stops the absorption and release of humidity—such that could cause some serious cupping if not otherwise addressed.