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The Edge on Live Edge Furniture

Looking to add a bold, statement piece to your home decor, without sacrificing sophistication? You must be dreaming of live edge.

When the natural edge of a piece of wood is incorporated into furniture design, it is called Live Edge. Unlike conventional woodworking, Gnarly wood such as Alligator Juniper, mesquite, and Salvaged wood is often used in live edge design. The natural holes and cracks of the wood can be featured, or filled in with resin for a smoother look. Live edge is a combination of Western and Rustic furniture styles.

Every live edge slab is completely unique, and offers undeniable wow factor. At the same time, this style is understated and graceful, rooted in obvious organic nature.

Also known as Natural edge, or Free Edge, this style of furniture design originally drew from Modernism, Japanese and Shaker influences. It was first made famous by renowned woodworker, furniture maker, and architect George Nakashima. Nakashima was a Japanese American who studied Architecture at M.I.T., and traveled through Japan, Paris and India studying design. George began developing his signature free edge style while apprenticing for an elderly woodworker at an internment camp during World War 2.

Live edge bench by George Nakashima

After the camp, Nakashima moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he continued to focus on the organic expressiveness of wood, approaching his work with meticulous focus and patience. He later went on to start the American Craft movement.

In 1962, Nakashima wrote a manifesto, discussing the vanishing of excellence in the design world of the modern day, and his appreciation and respect for hard work, craftsmanship, and the profound beauty of nature.

“In a world where manual skills are shunned we believe in them, not only in the act of producing a better product, but in the sheer joy of doing or becoming. We feel that pride in craftsmanship, of doing as perfect a job as possible, of producing something of beauty even out of nature’s discards, are all homely attributes that can be reconsidered.

It might even be a question of regaining one’s own soul when desire and megalomania are rampant – the beauty of simple things…”

At Mohr & McPherson, we understand Nakashima’s passion for the story telling powers of furniture and organic materials. We really love the live edge aesthetic, and currenty feature several pieces from Thailand and Indonesia. Our live edge furniture celebrates the rich beauty of teak and acasia woods.

41421Teak live edge dining table

Owner Kevin McPherson describes his discovery of the log used for four of our massive teak live edge dining tables:

“Approximately 60 years ago, a very old teak tree fell in the jungle near the Thailand/Burma border. A Thai man obtained permission and permits from the government to remove the tree and hired an elephant team to haul it to the road. 

While I was traveling, I came across this tree as it was being moved by truck to Chaing Mai, Thailand. I negotiated the purchase of the 24-foot log and had four tables made of the center of it.

This naturally aged and dried Teak wood is very rare and was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”