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I Build a Live Edge River Table

John Malecki

I Build a Live Edge River Table

The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Live Edge River Table

Projects
|
9
min read
|
Feb 18, 2018

I’ve always loved the look of live-edge tables that utilize giant slabs of natural wood. One of my clients approached me asking for a live edge table with a bit of a twist: throwing a glass river in the middle of it. I was super excited to take on this project and the challenges it would bring to the table. So in this video, I’m showing you how to build a live edge river table with the most insane piece of walnut I have ever seen. 

I built this live edge river table using a highly exotic and stunning piece of walnut from Oregon. When the slab came in it was almost 12′ long x 5′ wide. One all is said and done and the table is completed with the glass insert, the table ends up at roughly 8′ x 40″.

This river table had a ton of tricky parts and speed bumps along the way. Check out the full video build and walkthrough below to pick up some tips to build your own live edge river table! 

Affiliate links are posted on this page. For more information on my Affiliate disclosure, check out my Disclosure Page. 

Project Overview

How to Build a Live Edge River Table

  1. Mill the Slab
  2. Create a River Template
  3. Sand Live Edge
  4. Cut and Build Up the Base
  5. Create the Glass Template & Route
  6. Finish & Final Build Up

What You’ll Need to Make a Live Edge River Table

Materials

Tools

Affiliate links are posted on this page. For more information on my Affiliate disclosure, check out my Disclosure Page. 

How to Make a Live Edge River Table: The-Step-by-Step

Mill the Slab

Because you’re starting with a live edge slab, it’s important to begin breaking down the slab into manageable parts with the beam saw. Next, you’ll want to flatten the slab with a CNC, planer, or with a router jig (which is what I did). Anything you miss with the router jig can be finished off with the #5 hand plane to get a fully-smooth top and bottom.

Create a River Template

Next, you’re going to want to create a template for the glass insert. I position both slabs where I want them and use a long nose marker about 1” from the live edge. I cover the template with a large sheet of paper and trace, transferring this outline onto a ¼” thick piece of lauan to take to the glass company.

Sand Live Edge

While the glass company made my glass, I got to sanding down my table and live edge to 120 grit to eliminate all lines from the flattening process. I also trimmed the table to its final dimensions using a beam saw, track saw, and my good old fashioned hand saw. I finished sanding by cleaning up all edges with a brush sander and some hand sanding.

Cut and Build Up the Base

Next, I cut all the metal for the base to rough size. Once cut, I lay out and tack the base together. I check it for levelness and weld all the seams together. Then, I cut plates for the top to mount and get the base to the powder coater.

Create the Glass Template & Route

Outline the glass onto a stencil to get the perfect fit for the router. I only use this for the finger of the river because I cannot use the edge on the glass as a reference for the templating bit.

I would highly suggest, if using tempered glass, to be very careful. This technique can and will scratch the glass -- I learned this the hard way and had to eat a solid chunk of profit to have the glass company fix it. I then clean up all the grooves by hand and make sure everything is nice and smooth.

Finish & Final Build Up

Once again I use Rubio monocoat tp finish the wood. It is as simple as mixing it up and spreading it on with a squeegee and wiping it clean with a rag. This product has quickly become my favorite for hardwood finishes, and it really brings out all of the amazing beauty and color in this gorgeous piece of walnut. I then use the same rag to finish the live edge.

Once dry, I mount the table using some countersunk threads and some sloppy holes for bolts and its ready for delivery. Boom, there you have it! One beautiful live edge river table.


If you liked this project, check out some of my other builds

Download the Plan

Want to try this build out for yourself? Download the digital plan now for step-by-step instructions, measurements, and a detailed look at how to punch this project in the face.

Projects
|
9
min read
|
Feb 18, 2018
|
Sponsored by
John Malecki

I used to be an offensive lineman in the NFL, Now I run my own furniture business and am completely self taught. In my videos and posts you'll see a variety of wood and metal work as well as some tips and tricks. Enjoy!