storing live edge slabs

If you just bought a live edge slab and it'll be a few days until you get to finish it, you need to properly store your slab so it doesn't warp.  The ideal storage for slabs once planed and/or sanded is:

  • Out of direct sunlight and the elements
  • Indoors
  • Stacks on level ground on sticks or narrow boards
  • Covered completely with moving blankets

Why Proper Storage is Extremely Important

Large wood slabs will warp within hours if they're not properly stored.  If one side is exposed to more moisture than the other, wood will warp.  This happens from getting wet and even from just moisture levels in the air.

Because slabs are prone to warping, even after they're properly dried, you must place them in the proper environment after you get them home.  Do not leave them on your trailer, truck, or garage floor.  Follow our tips to avoid having major warping issues.

After a slab is flattened, if they aren't finished, the pores of the slab are opened.  This is what makes them so vulnerable to warping.

The Perfect Environments for Slabs To Keep Them From Warping

There are a few environments that are good for slabs.  They must be kept indoors and room temperature is best.  To store them, you have a few options.

1 - The first is by leaning them against a wall.  Most slab showrooms will lean the slabs upright against the wall. This is known as the best way to store slabs once they're flattened and sanded.  Each side of the wood is then evenly exposed to moisture in the air, which is ideal for keeping them flat.

2 - If you don't have access to a room with high ceilings to stand them upright, they can be laid flat.  However, you will want to put them on 1" by 1" sticks.  The sticks should be placed at the ends and every 2 feet across the full width of the slab.  If you have multiple slabs, stack them and use the sticks on the bottom of the first slab, and between each slab stacked on top of it.

Lastly, if you don't have a place to put your slabs that's room temperature, you'll want to cover them with blankets on both sides.  We highly recommend using blankets if your slabs are in a garage or pole barn.

Worse Places To Store Live Edge Slabs

The list of bad places to store live edge wood is extensive.  A few places you shouldn't put your slabs are:

  • Outside - Don't leave your slabs in the sun or rain.  We don't recommend picking up slabs in the rain.
  • On surfaces that aren't level - If you store your slabs on an area that isn't level, they will form to the shape of the area they're sitting.
  • Areas where the weight isn't evenly distributed - An example of this would be putting a 12 foot slab on a 8 foot truck bed.  The weight isn't evenly distributed so your slab will bow.  This is also true for putting slabs on a roof rack of an SUV.  A trailer is best for transporting slabs over 8' so they can sit flat. Any uneven distribution of the weight will cause stress on the slab, which leads to warping.

Other Tips for Storage & Transportation

Outside of the recommendations above, we have a few additional tips for moving and storing your slabs.

  • Place them in blankets when you're moving them so they don't get scratched.  This is important if your slabs are sanded.
  • Put a temporary finish on them if it'll be a few weeks until you get to use them.  Finished slabs are much less prone to warping.  A quick finish such as oil will help keep your slabs flat.
  • Bring a tarp or plastic with you at pickup.  This can be wrapped around the slab just in case it rains on your drive home.

What To Do If Your Slab Warps

If your kiln dried slab warps before it's used, it's likely due to the conditions in which it was handled, transported, or stored.  If it's a minor warp, try flipping the slab over for a few  hours or days to see if it returns to it's normal state.  For serious warping, it's likely the slab will need to be flattened again.  Like all wood, if exposed to the elements such as the rain or even just direct sunlight on a humid day, wood slabs will warp.  The best way to fix this is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Questions About Storage?

If you have questions about transportation or storage of your slabs, ask us at pickup or in the comments section below.  Please no spam or links in the comment box, or your comment won't be approved.  I will try to get back to you on any questions about live edge slab storage, as this is super important to ensure your table project goes as planned!


  1. Tim on April 5, 2023 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you so much for the suggestions above. I will receive a 84″‘x40″ maple slab today. I plan to finish it in my basement over the next few months before moving it to a vacation home later in the summer. I was planning to finish it on two sawhorses but from you comments above, I will get a stiff sheet of plywood on the saw horses. What about temperature and humidity levels. Also do you recommend steel stabilizers mounted under the table?

  2. Kevin on August 12, 2022 at 11:19 am

    Hi! I am looking to transport live edge monkey pod wood from Colombia to the USA. We want to transport both raw slabs (post kiln drying) and finished slabs. We are planning to use ocean freight to ship these. What is there to be aware of in terms of how we should package it, or other considerations?

    • Lancaster Live Edge on September 6, 2022 at 5:55 pm

      When traveling with ours long distances we typically wrap in moving blankets, and also make sure they’re transported in a covered vehicle.

      Once they arrive to the location they’re going, you could put them inside before building with them so that they dry to the moisture level of the environment they’ll stay in. Then you can flatten them and begin using them!

  3. Charlie W on April 6, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    I’ve seen some life edge slabs stacked and then a band around them. I assume the purpose of the band is to reduce warping, do you recommend that?

    • Lancaster Live Edge on June 21, 2022 at 8:22 pm

      Hi Charlie,

      Typically the band is just to hold them from falling when you transport them. From what I’ve found, if wood wants to move, it does regardless of what you try to do to stop it!

  4. Rudolph on June 29, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Good afternoon,

    I bought a 4m x 1m sawn Dorset oak live edge board from a reclamation yard 9 months ago and am now finally able to go and collect it. I am slightly concerned about my storage facilities.
    I have a corrugated tin garage that is dry, but not insulated, not level and on a slight slope.
    My intention is to store it wrapped in blankets standing on blocks and in between shelving and the side of the garage. I aim to store it as vertical as I can (not leaning) by supporting it with blocks between the side and shelves.
    Would this be sufficient to stop it from warping or should I seal it with a single coat of varnish.

    Any other advice for keeping it in a good state would be much appreciated.


    • Lancaster Live Edge on December 28, 2021 at 4:47 pm

      Hi Rudolph,

      We’d recommend leaving it as-is until it’s ready to use. Then, we’d recommend kiln drying it to match the moisture levels of your home, and then you can flatten it and finish the slab!

  5. Kelly Darst on June 2, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Hi there!
    This is all so interesting!
    A relative is going to gift me a slab that he’s cutting himself … if we can’t kiln dry it- what should we do? I’m just going to use it as a narrow wall table.
    Thank you!

    • Lancaster Live Edge on December 28, 2021 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Kelly,

      If you can’t kiln dry the slab – I’d let it air dry for as long as possible, then store it in your home for a few weeks prior to flattening, sanding, and finishing it. This could work for smaller slabs.

      If you’re open to cutting it – the best bet would be to cut it into smaller pieces, flip the middle piece so the grain is opposite of the others, then glue it back together. This is the best way to avoid warping.

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