How to Make a Live Edge Side Table

15 Materials
3 Days
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I hope you enjoyed this project. Check out the full video on  Youtube.

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Made by Mitch
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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3 of 6 questions
  • Her20670659 Her20670659 on May 01, 2018

    where did you get the legs from please

  • Faith Faith on May 01, 2018

    do you put anything on it so you don't get termites or other insects coming from wood

  • Katherine Katherine on May 23, 2018

    Where do you buy bow ties? Thanks,Kat


Join the conversation

2 of 36 comments
  • 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 have inspired me...…

  • MADI MADI on Jan 01, 2022

    LUV IT, anything natural and wood.