IMG_20140517_135420 Creative

The Live Edge: for the Budget Amateur


Nature has provided us with a beauty that we can only imitate.

In our art, our speech, and our instinct to create, we barely move rocks, while nature moves mountains with a patience only imagined by even the most skilled of artists. No matter how hard we try, our attempts will always reveal the contrived strokes of mimicry and an inability to truly express the beauty in a state of being. We come close, but we only ever get glimpses of the forest among the trees. That’s why it’s a hell of a lot easier to cut out a big slab of wood, and let the grain do the talking. These Urban Salvaged pieces are hand-crafted inspiration for a rustic post-industrial sentiment which emanates a natural warmth in any room. Each live edge willow slab is completely unique, and was locally sourced from naturally-felled timber in the Greater Toronto Area.

If you want to make your own Live Edge piece, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Get a chainsaw and cut yourself some slabs of your favorite tree.

Wood matters, but so does price. There are many ways to find a nice slice, such as in the aftermath of an ice-storm, or near condo developments, but it can be quite a process to mill and dry the timber yourself. There are some places that offer planed and kiln-baked slabs, but you will have to pay the cost to get one. Get creative, there’s dead trees all over the place.

Step 2: Get it flat.

Borrow someone’s tools, or if you’re rolling in it, buy them yourself. There are also places like the Toronto Tool Library that offer affordable access to some cool tools. Either way, all you really need your hands on is an electric planer, a belt-sander, and a palm-sander.

Step 3: Get it Smooth.

Now it’s time to make the wood sing. Use your tools to grind it down, smooth it out, blast that dust, and then run your hands along the smooth grain of your hard work. Patience does a lot of heavy lifting here, so take your time.

Step 4: Seal It.

This is the fun part. There’s nothing like inhaling hazardous fumes in a poorly ventilated space, while you finish the wood. Be sure to wipe down the wood with a damp cloth, and let it dry entirely prior to the first coat. I applied 2 layers of tung oil with a dry clean cloth, and then as many layers of polyurethane as I could before I passed out.

Step 5: Find some legs in the trash.

This is where the term ‘urban salvage’ comes into play. Rummage around, and you might just find something that will save you a lot of effort and money. I salvaged myself both sets of legs from the side of the road, and only a few screws later, my tables were complete.

Step 6: Show it off.

See More From Elijah Masek-Kelly Here


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