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How To Finish A Rustic Furniture Live Edge Wood Slab

The distinct natural appearance of live edge wood is one of the most popular choices for people looking for one-of-a-kind rustic furniture.

What Exactly is Live Edge Wood?

Live edge wood is distinguished by its unfinished, natural edges. Live edge wood slabs retain the raw, rustic features of a piece of wood, frequently retaining visible knots, grain, and burrs or burls. Because the margins of the tree from which the wood is cut stay intact, no two pieces of live edge furniture are precisely same. Because of the natural beauty of live edge wood, it is a prominent design feature in rustic and mid-century décor.

Live edge wood is frequently used by woodworkers and interior designers for coffee table tops, dining table tops, worktops, bar tops, headboards, cutting boards, kitchen islands, shelves, end tables, workstations, and benches.

Finishing a Live Edge Wood Slab

If you buy an unfinished live edge slab of wood, you'll need to know how to finish it before you can use it for your DIY woodworking project.

Sand the wood after removing the bark. Before sanding, use a chisel to peel off the bark layer by section, taking care not to gouge the surface by working along the borders of the slab. Sand the wood slab with a portable belt sander or sandpaper, beginning with 120-grit and working your way up to 220-grit.

Butterfly keys bridge cracks in the wood Butterfly keys, also known as bowtie joints or Dutchman joints, are little pieces of wood that may be inlaid into the face of a slab to help stabilize fractures and gaps. Create a recess in the slab using a router and chisel to fit the butterfly key, then fix it with clear epoxy. After the epoxy has dried, sand the butterfly key until it is smooth.

Fill up any gaps in the slab. This necessitates a two-part epoxy, but first test the color of your finish and epoxy to ensure they match. Apply a test finish to the bottom of the slab to see what the final color of your piece will be. Test a little quantity of epoxy after the finish has dried.

If the epoxy does not match, you must tint it with an additive to get the desired hue. Pour your epoxy carefully into any gaps in the slab as it is being mixed. A gentle pour allows the epoxy to sink into the void gradually, preventing air bubbles.

If a hole extends entirely through the slab, apply masking tape or plumber's putty on the underside of the hole to prevent epoxy from seeping out. Don't worry if you drop any epoxy on the wood slab since you'll be sanding it again before the sculpture is finished.

Complete and seal the slab. Once the epoxy has dried fully, sand the slab again and vacuum your whole workplace to avoid catching stray dust in your finishing layer. Apply three coats of polyurethane with a sponge brush for a basic oil finish, then sand with 500-grit sandpaper after each coat dries.

Then, wet-sand the slab with a 2000-grit sanding pad after wiping it off with mineral spirits. Instead, apply three layers of shellac and smooth with 400-grit sandpaper after each coat dries for a glossier surface.

Finish by spraying the object with clear lacquer. Wait for the finish to thoroughly cure before using the slab.

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