Finishing the edges and sides of a live edge slab countertop

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Forum topic by mavsprophecy posted 11-04-2015 01:53 AM 631 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 1957 days

11-04-2015 01:53 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cedar finishing

Hi all,

I am working on a cedar countertop for my family’s art studio’s front desk. We picked up a 7 ft. slab of cedar that has plenty of holes to work with, and the holes will be filled with chunky and crushed Chrysocolla. Then the table will be encapsulated and leveled with epoxy and brought down to a less glossy shine.

My question comes from the edges and sides. They are not even whatsoever and have lots of “character”, which my family wants to leave. The pictures I have attached are the main concerns. How would you finish these? One of the sides kind of comes in on itself and actually had a hole (which I discovered doing the initial epoxy pour to get the holes ready for the stones).

Another concern is the part that looks like a shell. I really like it, not sure if I want to even cover it in stone, but I want it to be level with the rest of the table, which might be impossible.

The entire slab had a large crack running the length of it, so on the underside I used water putty and glued a 1/4” piece of plywood to stabilize it. It definitely feels stronger.

Thanks! And if you think I have screwed up past the point of no return, please help!! :)

Sorry the pictures aren’t the greatest tonight. Bad lighting. This wood really is beautiful!! I just hope I do it justice, especially on the sides.

5 replies so far

View mavsprophecy's profile


18 posts in 1957 days

#1 posted 11-04-2015 01:55 AM

Not sure why the pictures are coming in upside down. Will try and fix that later.

View GregTP's profile


62 posts in 937 days

#2 posted 11-07-2015 01:47 AM

Im working on a live edge table right now out of dawn redwood, similar in color and strength to cedar although Im finding it is a bit more brittle. I took a steel brush spinning wheel in my drill to the edges to get all the bark and fibers off, then sanded with 80 grit and 150. I didnt go beyond that because I didnt think it needed it.

The challenge I see with your piece is that most of the area around that branch looks like it is probably thick bark, which really should come off. If its going to be indoors it would probably last a while under a thick finish, but eventually someone will lean on it and that chunk of bark will come loose.

I had a similar area of heavy bark inclusion which turned out to go around three knots and passes all the way through the slab. It very fearfully removed all the bark and the knots and now its my favorite part of the table. (Top right hand corner in the picture although its somewhat cut off). I’ll include a close up.

-- From exercise machine warning label: "Step ladders can cause injury and even death; the ROM machine is more dangerous than a stepladder"

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1381 posts in 1791 days

#3 posted 11-07-2015 02:59 AM

How did you like sanding the cedar,I bet you have a stuffy nose now. :)
It should outlast all of us.I bet it will look great.

-- Aj

View Kelly's profile


2025 posts in 2938 days

#4 posted 11-07-2015 04:18 AM

When I used to use my two part mix I bought in five gallon containers, I used tongue depressors to pick the resin off the table and back on to the vertical surfaces I was working with.

Doing this is more an art than science, since the companies told you it couldn’t be done. It was a matter of doing it until it felt like the resin was thickening too much to continue, at which point I let it flow off and it smoothed itself out that last couple minutes. Even then, the finish was the equivalent of applying around fifty coats of poly.

To keep air from flowing into the finish, from the wood, I, always, sealed the wood before I started.

For surfaces this rough, you might want to work the edges first, let it harden, sand the high spot on top, then work your horizontal surface.

My five cents

View mavsprophecy's profile


18 posts in 1957 days

#5 posted 11-09-2015 04:50 PM

Thanks all!

Your suggestions really helped. I don’t feel quite as helpless now! Will update when I have some better pictures to show.

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