Living On The Edge

So, I’ve stepped into a different realm of woodworking now and it has completely taken a hold of me. Live edge pieces have always been such a huge goal of mine to eventually get too. Whenever I was at the wood stores I would always admire the big slabs of wood, the only problem was the price. I drive by a house right around the corner from my place and I’ve sensed my own kind for quite a while. He had massive logs sitting on his front lawn and a big workshop. I finally just drove up and got a hold of him. Sure enough, his whole shop was filled with live edge slabs of all local salvaged wood. Something I really admired. The next best part was the price. He was very reasonably priced and he’s a really great guy to boot. Much better than the assholes I usually deal with at the local wood store.

Here is the link to his site: Paccione Construction

I had to buy something while I was there. I felt like it was a mortal sin to leave without a piece of wood. I found a reasonably sized piece of walnut and I thought I could build something out of it. I started thinking of some ideas and I settled on building a hanging light for my living room. I thought I could take the live edge slab, suspend some edison lights from it and then suspend everything from the ceiling.


I cut off the end of it into 2 separate pieces just so I was left with a fairly uniform piece to make the light out of. Once I cut the pieces I figured I could make some cutting/serving boards out of them. I couldn’t run this through the planer and I don’t have a router sled (yet) so I thought I would put my hand planes and my arms to good use.


I started using my new scrub plane that I got over christmas. I’ve used it a bit but what a huge difference it is having this plane. Makes incredibly short work out of cleaning up the drastic bulge in the center of the board. I followed up with my jack plane to level it all out and then finished it off with my smoothing plane. It cleaned up beautifully!


I left the bark on it while I planed it just in case I thought I would like to keep it on but I eventually removed it and was a lot happier with it removed. I just dug it out with a thick chisel and then cleaned it up with my orbital sander. I think a drawknife would make quick work of this but unfortunately I don’t have one (yet).


Here are the two slabs all cleaned up and ready to be made into the cutting/serving boards. I also still had to plane down the bottoms. The tops I left with a bit of organic curves, edges to them but the bottom I tried to get as level as possible so I could cut grooves for some feet as well as making sure they would sit level on a surface.


I ran the board through the table saw to make shallow dadoes so that I could put a couple strips of 3/4″ walnut in. This part was fun and I kind of just winged it, but it turned out great. I just traced the outline of the live edge and then just tapered off the feet. I used a coping saw to give me the curve. I have a small bandsaw but because the curve isn’t consistent from side to side it would’ve been a little tricky on the bandsaw. I glued them in place and then used the orbital sander to flush up the feet with the slab.


Getting glued up!


Final touch was to finish it up with some butcher block oil (mineral oil). I don’t have any beeswax on hand but I’ll be getting some to finish it up completely.


And here they are both finished up and in place as they were on the tree. My wife loved it so we’re saving one for ourself. I still have a fairly large piece of walnut from this and I think I’m going to make a couple more of these. If anyone is interested, I will probably make 3 or 4 more of them for sale.


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