I can go on and on discussing how many (most?) live edge pieces have little or no creative contribution by the maker other than picking out a piece of wood.But thats not my gripe.Yesterday I sat at a “live edge ” counter that was plastic;not plastic coated wood but cast or injected PLASTIC. Have we gone tooooo far ?
We?? Been a coupla years since I sat at a counter! I'm not shocked, after all people drive the market and plastic Adirondack chairs are everywhere. Check back in when you find an injection molded river table.
I also question the use of the word "we". I've been in the woodworking world at least 45 years, and fashions certainly change, sometimes rapidly. I've certainly used some spectacular pieces of wood as table tops, and I even anticipated the current enthusiasm for wood with "character" when I built a customer a dining table from two bookmatched pieces of swamp oak that had a lot of rot and holes, and live edges. Used an penetrating epoxy to harden the rotten areas, then casting resin to fill the holes and consolidate the surface. This left the typical wavy surface that looks plasticky, so I used a cabinet scraper to scrape it down flat, then sprayed a thin layer of lacquer and rubbed it out. Instead of pouring casting resin between the two inner live edges, I used shaped pieces of persimmon (dyed black) to fill the gaps. I'll attach a picture. The color is way off for some reason (in the original photo.)
I tend to agree that it doesn't seem all that creative to stick a few metal legs on a slab of wood. There was a time in the 1950s when a coffee table was a lozenge shaped piece of veneer plywood with four cone shaped legs screwed to the bottom. That fad passed...
Respectfully disagree. I do a lot of live edge work - including Greene & Green style coffee and end tables and grandfather clocks. You can view some of my work here- https://beasleysevindesigns.com/
If you still can't see the creative content from the artist then I encourage you to look harder.
Sorry if you mistook my comments as applying to all live edge work, or to those who use live edges in some of their work. I'll attach a picture of a recent coffee table I made from a crotch mahogany plank to let you know I work in that realm as well. But there does seem to be a significant amount of live edge work out there that gets by because it's "live edge".
The first photo shows the top in bright sunlight. The second is inside a living room/studio with less light; gives a sense of the base design.
I'm inclined to agree with the OP - it's been a while, but most of the live edge stuff I see is exactly as described - a plank, often with little or no effort in designing a base - board and metal legs seems to be the rule now.
Of course, some people do it really well (Cam from Blacktail Studios on YouTube is a good example) but it's all a bit samey.
Still, it's popular - people want tables and woodworkers want money. Let the two meet...
I've a bunch of live edge slabs drying in my yard, but I don't plan to use them for live edge work. Just 'normal' woodwork in the longer term...
Rob_SS - I think this is a really critically important point "often with little or no effort in designing a base". Good/great design is not necessarily the same thing as "creativity". A lot of the "creativity" that goes into these pieces on many is levels wholly unrelated to good design. E.g., I was a really hyper-creative kid - but no where near a good designer. Unbridled creativity can sometimes thwart good design. Becoming a good designer is a complex path that has many components-of which creativity is just one - and many ways, and on a given day...not the most important one.
I get that completely - I have lots of ideas but no means to convert them into reality.
I have a huge amount of respect for those who can create a novel design.
In reference to the original post: A few months ago my wife and I attended a concert at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. We were seated in the upper level at counter and I was blown away by the fact that the counter top was a live edge slab. It wasn't plastic, it was an actual piece of real wood!
I'll admit to making one of those tables with the hairpin legs. I needed it in a hurry. Sometimes a table is just a table.
What I don't get is the design of plastic tables. I fully understand the need to have plastic laminate tables at fast food joints. And I understand the desire to make them look like wood, rather than some other design.
But why, why, pick a crappy piece of wood to design your plastic laminate? They are all pictures of 3 inch wide glued-up oak or something. Why not take a photo of a nice wide piece of quartersawn white oak? Or a picture of a single board crotch mahogany? You could lure all the youths to your restaurant by making crotch jokes.
Good point - I think it just goes to show how little people really care. These items will likely have been selected from a small image on a website or catalog. Price matters more than quality so like as not the image used was also stolen from a website...