Wood furniture: Furniture that is alive!

Posted on March 3, 2016

Photo credit: Lohr Woodworking Studio

Historically associated with very rustic cottage designs, furniture made from timber logs or wood slabs has recently made a strong comeback and can be used in almost any kind of environment.

Photo credit: Urban Tree Salvage

Logs allow to see the tree’s growth rings. Sometimes, the bark will be kept, or it will be removed with a chisel or a small axe. Logs can inspire plenty of ideas and projects that are easy to achieve.

Here are a few examples:

  • Side table top;
  • Cutting board;
  • Tablemat, coaster, trivet;
  • Suspended bedside table.

Dining table
Photo credit: Urban Tree Salvage

Wood slabs are made by cutting the tree along its length, which allows to see the wood’s grain. They are generally 2 ½ “ to 3” in width, making them ideal to use as dining or coffee tables that are evocative of the tree’s natural shape, rendering a unique piece. These slabs will be laid either on a custom made base, although it can also be laid on recycled wood or a metal base for a more modern, industrial look.

Wood slabs can also be used to build a kitchen island or workbench, wide decorative shelves, false walls to divide rooms in areas such as studios, etc. There are plenty of uses for wood slabs and the renewed interest in this type of material makes it possible to find very nice pieces in different sizes and wood essences in a few clicks on the web.

I’m all set! How to protect my new project?

Many options are available when the time has come to choose the best type of finish for your project, which will be applied to protect and enhance its look. Your choice will depend on many factors: desired aesthetics, the degree of stress the furniture will be submitted to, the amount of care you’re ready to devote to your piece, and the degree of expertise required for the finish.

Here are a few things to guide you, but before you think about applying any kind of finish, make sure that your wood does not contain more than 10% moisture, and that the wood surface has been thoroughly sanded:

Oiled slab
Photo credit: The Green Team

Finishing oil, the product that breathes

  • Very easy to apply;
  • Finishing can be done in 3 to 4 days;
  • Requires maintenance once a year or as required;
  • Scratches and wear are easy to repair;
  • Natural look and matte finish.

Water based lacquer and varnish, finishes that have greatly evolved in recent years

  • Available in matte, satin or gloss finish;
  • Can be applied with a spray gun or silk brush;
  • Finishing can be done in one single day;
  • Won’t cause yellowing;
  • Durable and smooth finish.

Epoxy finish
Photo credit: Lohr Woodworking Studio

Epoxy, for a vitrified effect

  • Ideal for heavily used / high stress surfaces;
  • Thick and very glossy finish;
  • Heat and chemical products resistance;
  • Enhances wood grain details.

Wax, for simplicity and a rich look

  • Easy to apply;
  • More fragile finish than other alternatives;
  • Very easy to maintain / care / repair;
  • Requires maintenance once a year or as required;
  • Provides a beautiful satin or gloss finish.

If you had a project in mind, you now have all the resources you need to get to work!

Wood finishing blog

Ardec's blog offers original content regarding the universe of wood finishing: techniques and tricks of the trade, project ideas, tools and products.

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