How to Make a Live Edge Side Table

15 Materials
$50
3 Days
Medium

My wife saw an amazing looking table online. It was $250, so we decided to try and make it ourselves and it turned out better than we expected and only cost $50. It was a fairly simple project and was the first time for a lot of different things for me. I hope you enjoy the project.
how to make a live edge side table
Since I knew the look I was going for for this table, I searched around some of the wooded area close to my house and found a decent tree that had fallen and been down for a year or so. I knew it had some time to dry out a bit, so I cut it up unto cookie slabs to use for the table. If you don’t have something like this you can just grab close by, you could always try to call a saw mill or find a lumber yard. There are also online stores that sell slabs like this. They can get expensive, but it is possible. Once you get the right stump/cookie you are looking for, you will need to let it cure for some time if it hasn’t already before prepping.
how to make a live edge side table
After your stump is ready to go you can begin the flattening process. For me this was a mixture of hand planing, sanding, and using a router sled to flatten.
how to make a live edge side table
I have a video on making a router sled if it is something you need to do this project. The router sled basically allows you to flatten the stump without needing a planer. This works great especially if you don’t have a planer to use or your stump won’t fit through the planer.  As you are flattening your stump, you can use a level to monitor and check the level of your stump. I just repeated these three things until my stump was flat.
how to make a live edge side table
If your stump does not have a crack in it, then you can skip this step. As my stump dried out, it got a pretty nasty crack down one side of it. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but I started to like it so I decided to add a couple bow ties to it, to prevent the crack from worsening.The first step was to cut out my bow tie. Then I placed it on the stump along the crack where I wanted it to be.
how to make a live edge side table
Once I was happy with the placement, I traced the bowtie and then I used a chisel and hammer to start taking out the wood where the bow tie would be. I went down about 3/4” for the bowtie to sit into the wood. What ended up doing is using a router to take out the bulk of the material and then I used a chisel to clean up the edges and that worked pretty well.
how to make a live edge side table
how to make a live edge side table
how to make a live edge side table
Once my bowties were chiseled out, I glued them in and then sanded them down even with the rest of the table once the glue dried.
how to make a live edge side table
There was a small gap around the edge of the bow tie that I wanted to fill. So I got 5 minute epoxy, mixed it with walnut sawdust, and I filled this in around the edge of the bow ties to give it a nice dark line to almost highlight the bowties. I used epoxy instead of wood glue mainly because epoxy expands a little so it filled in the crack a little better. I want to warn you though, try not to get the epoxy on the wood outside of the crack. I did, and I had a very challenging time trying to sand the epoxy off the wood. I went through a lot of sandpaper in order to get the epoxy out of the wood so avoid this if you can.
how to make a live edge side table
After the bow ties were in the table, It was time to sand the table down. I started at 80 grit and went to 220 grit. I had a lot of marks from the router flattening sled that I had to smooth out, so the 80 grit made quick work of this. Next I applied finish to the piece. I chose Polycrylic from Minwax. I like this finish because it is water based and it goes on a little thick. I thought it would do the best with filling in some of the stump’s imperfections.
how to make a live edge side table
Once the table was all finished, I installed the legs. I used ¼-20 insert nuts with a hex head to mount the legs to the table. These are simple to install. First I set the legs where I wanted them to go and marked the drill spots with a pencil. Then I drilled a hole for the insert nuts to be installed into. I made sure to not drill too deep when I installed the nuts. I used two different sized bits to be sure I wouldn’t harm the table or mess anything up. After drilling the holes, I installed the nuts with an allen wrench. Once the nuts were installed, I could screw the legs on the table and that was it.  The project is complete.
how to make a live edge side table
how to make a live edge side table
I hope you enjoyed this project. Check out the full video on  Youtube.
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Made by Mitch

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  • Kathy
    on Mar 14, 2019

    Great idea...though I think since you had a whole tree going back and cutting a another slab that was flawless would've been beautiful to see when done.

    • Made by Mitch
      on Mar 14, 2019

      Thanks Kathy. I cut about 10 different pieces and picked the best one. The tree wasn't in the best shape. I will definitely do this again with a better tree! Thanks

  • Margaret M. Goorskey Haight
    on Mar 20, 2019

    What a great idea.....would love to do it too, but, I do not have access to a stand of trees.....Wonder if my son-in-law will notice that there is a tree missing in our backyard...…. The best I can do is salvage the limbs he cuts off to prevent them from scapeing the roof.....makes a lot of coasters tho-. I found your video to be very informative....will try to do something in the future...you have inspired me...…




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