About Our Live Edge Furniture
Free form, live edge furniture using its natural edge and organic sculptural forms is something I have prepared to do for a lifetime. Utilizing natural forms in furniture making can be breathtakingly beautiful, exquisite and handsomely functional if done with great care and a keen eye. This is not rustic furniture, it is elegant work with natural forms providing the inspiration. Successfully designing and building in this free form, live edge style is the most challenging task. However, I feel as though my journey as a woodworker has lead me to this destiny, and I am deeply excited about this new world and new work. If you are an adventurous spirit and are drawn to this form of work come to the studio and lets discuss the possibilities.
Within the gallery, you'll see furniture of all types that either stands alone or is built in to a client's home.
How We Make Our Live Edge Furniture
Although we do all things possible to leave the slabs in their most natural state, there is a huge amount of work that goes into preparing the wood to withstand the test of time as a functional and beautiful piece of live edge furniture.
Each slab(s) is selected carefully for each project based on wood type, size, shape, color, and grain pattern. Clients who commission live edge furniture are a huge part of the slab selection process. As the makers, we narrow down potential slabs that fit the furniture piece's design and criteria but the client has the final say as to which slab(s) is used. The material can come from our own live edge slab inventory (cut, dried, and stored here at the studio) or from one of our favored and reliable local lumber sources. Nearly all of our material is grown in the state of Pennsylvania, and most of it local to Schwenksville and surrounding towns.
While the edge we present is natural, it does take a lot of work to present it in it's best light. After the slab is selected and approved by the client, we mill it and remove the bark to expose the live edges. It is important that we clear away the bark because if left in tact, it will invite insects like the powderpost beetle. Beyond that, over time, the bark would weaken and begin to disintegrate, leaving dirt and dust on your floor.
To dislodge the bark, we use a combination of gouge chisels, wire brushes, and draw knives. After the bulk of the rough bark is cleared by hand, we use a sandblaster to remove the small bits that remain in tact and soften the sharp pins and knobs that compose the natural live edge.
Strengthening & Repairing Natural Flaws
In order to keep the live edge slabs in their most natural state, we need to repair and/or strengthen any natural voids, splits, cracks, or knots so that they don't weaken or spread over time. We use this opportunity to add style and detail to the piece.
Knots & Voids: Naturally, each slab is unique and is treated differently, but generally we treat knots and voids with two-part clear epoxy mixed with the saw dust and bark bits of the slab itself.
Splits & Cracks: Splits and cracks are natural, and as we see it, are something to be accented. To prevent splits from growing over time, we strengthen them using inlaid dovetail bones. The organic shape of bones is a signature detail of Lohr Woodworking Studio furniture. We find that the organic form of bones marries well with natural curves of live edges as well as appeals our instinctual aesthetic preference.