Recently, in my time off, I’ve been shopping for a dining room table. I started out with only a vague idea of what I was interested in. I liked dark wood, and I wanted a natural looking, uncut edge, but beyond that, I had no idea what I was doing.
A couple weeks of research solved that problem. I have a solid idea of what I want now, and I know the words to describe it. The style is called live edge, and it’s often found in tables made with a single slab or two “book matched” slabs of wood. George Nakashima pioneered this style, followed by John Houshmand, Live Edge, Hudson, Meyer Wells, and Jeffrey Greene, among others.
Large whole slabs of high quality wood like this tend to be rare, especially since designers now try to reclaim or salvage them instead of cutting live trees. If you’re looking for an unusual species or a particularly large slab, it can often take years.
Happily, my requirements are pretty tame. I’m planning to get a single slab or book matched slabs of black walnut, claro walnut, or bubinga, roughly 8′ long by 40″ wide by 2″ thick. I’ve seen thicker slabs, 3″ and more, and they’re stunning, but you pay through the nose for the extra thickness.
I’ll then attach a plate or pedestal base made from iron, steel, or bronze. They’re not as cheap as simple legs or frame style bases, but I like the solidarity and substance.
Here are the tables and designers I’m looking at so far. Let me know what you think!