A Consumer’s Guide for Buying Slabs
Not all live edge slabs are created equal…and neither are their sellers. Arming yourself with some basic knowledge will help you determine which slab sellers are selling you a headache and which are selling you a quality slab.
arm yourself with knowledge
As a seller of urban sourced live edge wood I encourage buyers to treat the purchasing process much like an interview. Live edge work is popular and most live edge is produced outside the traditional lumber channels. That means that the same uniformity and quality production standards we are accustomed to in the hardwood lumber industry may not be true for all live edge sources. To some extent this is great…those of us making finished live edge pieces don’t want boring uniformity, we want character. But in another way this is frightening, because producers are not all playing by the same rules. And some of those rules impact your end product.
My main point in this series is to guide you on key things to watch for in purchasing live edge slabs. Much of what follows is on the most critical factor, drying. We will cover additional ground, but the focus on drying is because how the slab is dried is critical to knowing whether your slab will act predictably during the construction process and will be what you want it to be two years down the road. And it’s not simply whether it is kiln dried or not, but how. Drying these thick wide slabs takes so very long that producers anxious to get wood to the market might short-cut the process, possibly to your detriment.
a good purchase starts with asking the right questions
I will follow this post with several additional posts that get into more detail for those that want to know more, but I simply caution here that when making a live edge purchase ask questions before you pay. Even if you don’t know wood drying yourself, a few key questions might give you a better sense of whether your seller knows what they are doing, and a few observations might save you many headaches.