Are you planning on building your own live edge table? If so, this guide is for you.  In this step-by-step guide, we plan on breaking down how you can build the table of your dreams as easily as possible!

Table Building Materials & Tools You’ll Need

To build a live edge table yourself, you’ll need the following tools and materials.

Material List:

  • Live edge slab
  • Sanding pads (40-220 grit recommended)
  • The finish of your choice – Odie’s Oil and Rubio Monocoat make for great DIY finishes
  • C-channel
  • Threaded inserts and bolts to mount c-channel and legs
  • A metal base – etsy is a great place to look for this
  • A finish pad – we use a scotch-brite scouring pad
  • Drill bits
  • Wood glue
  • Tyvek tape

Tool List:

  • Drill
  • Impact driver
  • Orbital sander
  • Allen wrench
  • Router

Building Your Table – Step-By-Step

Time needed: 8 hours

  1. Choose your wood slab

    Step one for this process will be choosing a wood slab that meets your needs. The most common size table we build is 8′ long by approximately 42″ wide. Though it will be more expensive, we recommend choosing a single slab instead of two bookmatch slabs, as this will keep you from having to find a large jointer to join them together.
    You’ll likely be looking at rough cut wood, so keep in mind that the shape and size is the most important thing. The rough cut slab will not look like it will once it has a finish.
    After you find the slab that meets your needs, you’re ready to start building!

  2. Check the moisture content

    This is the step that is overlooked way too often. If you’re buying from a lumber store, they should have a moisture meter on hand. You’ll want to confirm it is kiln dried and ready to use. In Pennsylvania, we typically recommend that slabs be around 8% to use. Anything over 12% is usually too high, which will cause warping or cracking almost immediately.
    If you check the moisture and it looks like the picture below, DO NOT proceed with building your piece as it will have issues once moved into a home.
    The best way to know what your moisture content should be is to consult this chart after checking the relative humidity of your home. The relative humidity can be found on most smart thermostats.

  3. Surface the slab

    Flattening the slab is typically something that can be done by the supplier. There are DIY options you where you can use a router, but they’re often expensive and time consuming. For that reason, we recommend paying a hair more for a slab that is already surfaced. At Lancaster Live Edge, we have a huge Woodmizer designed specifically for flattening slabs so they can be used for tabletops.
    Slabs typically warp as they dry and flattening is designed to remove the warp so the wood sits flat.

  4. Moisture Check – Again

    After the slab is surfaced, it will begin to reveal the wood that is closer to the center off the slab. This should still be below the 12% moisture content. Ideally it will be around 8, but that all depends on the humidity of the home. The image below is much more acceptable for the moisture content of the slab than the first image.

  5. Debark the slab

    Debarking the slab can typically be done by using a small chisel and hammer. We recommend debarking the slab to avoid future issues.

  6. Add epoxy to the voids

    This is an optional step depending on your slab. If your slab has cracks, we do recommend using epoxy to fill them. This will allow your top to be smooth.
    For this step, you’ll apply tyvec tape to the bottom side of the slab to fill all of the voids. We recommend going heavier than you think needed to avoid the epoxy leaking out.
    Next, you’ll buy a two-part pour over epoxy. Follow the instructions for mixing the resin and pour it in the cracks. The epoxy should dry within a day or two and your piece will be ready to work on again.

  7. Router the edge

    If you’re looking to have a smooth edge on the cut ends of your live edge table, you’ll want to use a router to do a bullnose on them. We use a 1/8″ bullnose bit to accomplish this. We then lightly sand over those edges.

  8. Sand the wood

    Sanding is the most crucial step to finishing your slab. We recommend sanding to at least 120 grit. You can go up to as high as 2000, but we typically do not. The higher grit you go to, the easier the table can be scratched. Also, some finishes, such as rubio monocoat, do not recommend going high – as 120 grit is the maximum.
    When sanding, you should start with 40 grit and work your way up. We use 40 grit, then 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, and 220 when finishing with Odie’s oil or LED hardwax oil.
    After you sand the wood, you’ll want to sit blankets on your saw horses or work area to avoid damage to the piece before you finish it.

  9. Add your c-channel

    We recommend using c-channel with slotted holes to help hold your slab flat. This helps keep wood from warping, twisting, and cracking.
    The goal of the slotted holes on the c-channel is to allow the wood to expand and contract along the channel without moving up and down, but rather only side to side. Wood typically moves around 1/8″ per foot wide it is, and the c-channel slots allow for that movement.
    To do

  10. Inlay the legs

    This step is optional, but some do prefer to do it. On the table pictured below, we inlayed the legs since they only had 4 bolts to hold them. This helped to sturdy the table.
    This can be accomplished by using your router. You’ll want to trace the mounting plate, then router the area inside of the legs so they sit down in the wood.

  11. Mount the legs

    As pictured above, you’ll want to mount the legs using bolts and threaded inserts.
    To do this, you’ll drill the pilot hole. We recommend using electrical tape on your bit to know how deep to go on your hole. The threaded inserts we use can be purchased on amazon. Here’s the link. To install these, simply drill your hole, use a dab of wood glue, and then use the allen wrench to put the inserts into the wood.
    You’ll want to be sure the inserts are placed center of the oval shaped mounting holes. If they are not, they may keep your wood from moving and cause cracks in your table.

  12. Finish Your Table!

    Now that everything is ready – you’ll want to remove the c-channel and legs and apply a finish to your table. Finishes such as Odie’s Oil and Rubio Monocoat get rubbed on and then wiped back off.
    Below is a quick video on how we finish tables using rubio monocoat.

DIY Live Edge Table Building Questions? Drop them Below.

If you have any questions about building your own live edge wood table, we’re here to help. Simply comment in the box below and we will do our best to help you understand anything that wasn’t clear in the instructions above!


  1. Jim Fitzpatrick on December 6, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    Where can I get the table legs pictured?

  2. Sue on August 27, 2023 at 7:10 am

    hi, I’m building a desk from a slab of, I think, spruce.
    it’s 8’x20″x2″ I bought it green, but it has been sitting in my basement for 3 yrs. my basement is relatively dry as far as basements go. do I need to use the c channel? it hasn’t twisted while drying in my basement. it’s actually quite flat/straight.

    • LLE Support on April 23, 2024 at 8:59 pm

      Not necessarily, but I’d let it get acclimated to the room for a bit and see if it moves/warps at all then. If not, you should be safe to move forward.

  3. Richard Newhart on August 16, 2022 at 8:28 am

    Hi I am sanding a kiln dried live edge table. I will be using it outside. Covered when not in use and brought inside during winter months. Question what do you recommend to use as a finish? Thanks Rich

    • Lancaster Live Edge on September 6, 2022 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Rich,

      I wouldn’t recommend using live edge outside. Wood moves, and a lot, as moisture levels change. So there’s a high likelihood any table, regardless of finish will warp or crack if it’s outside than inside for extended periods of time.

      Check out this blog for more info.

  4. Arlen Melinne on November 26, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    This week the lot clearing crew saved me 11 Chestnut oak logs they had cut down to clear the lot so we can build a house. The logs are all about 20 feet long and their average diameter is 18 inches. I recently became interested in live edge slab tables. I would like to know if Chestnut oak slabs have a similar value to white or red oak.. I plan to have all the logs cut and then stacked to dry outdoors covered with a tarp. When my new house is built, I plan to move the slabs into a garage and use a fan and dehumidifier to finish drying the slabs.Any comments or helpful advice will be appreciated. I live in East Tennessee neat Cleveland.

    • Lancaster Live Edge on December 28, 2021 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Arlen,

      Chestnut oak is a desirable species with a similar value to white oak, and worth more than red oak to most builders.

      We’d recommend adding stickers every 1 foot as you air dry, then we’d also recommend hiring a lumber store to do the drying. Drying lumber that’s this wide is an art to keep it from warping and typically a few dehumidifiers won’t do the trick for wider and thicker slabs.

      • Austin on February 24, 2023 at 12:52 pm

        I’m looking at building a live edge conference table (2.5″ thick Sapele) that is 9′ long. Should I use 3 legs or is just 2 enough?

        • LLE Support on April 11, 2023 at 7:41 pm

          If dried properly 2 should be plenty unless you prefer having three!

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