Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Triad, NC (from the PNW)
What to consider when using slab wood?
A friend of mine has recently started building furniture primarily out of slab wood and selling them for quite a bit. Although the sizes vary, I'd say they are generally 3-4" thick x 12-18" wide x 4-8' long. He is relatively inexperienced when it comes to working with wood and my fear is that he is not considering the long term. What he's essentially doing is buying a variety of wood species, some recently milled, then sanding and finishing them (not sure of finish or top coat products but typically a gloss finish). He then usually installs welded metal legs to them and that's about it, really. It's kind of a rustic/modern combo look. The selling point, of course, is the big hunk of wood. While they look good now, I am not sure that will last.
Although I am no expert, I did advise him that wood tends to move as it ages, which may not be evident now, but he could have some really PO'd customers down the road here. He seems to think that the wood is dry enough, but I doubt he has any empirical proof of that (i.e. moisture meter or similar).
Please correct me if I am wrong, but for more "modern" furniture (although the economy of using smaller joined pieces is part of it) another really good reason to use small joined pcs is to overcome the internal stresses of the wood.
So my question is, what things do you need to consider when building with wood slabs? How long should they season (which I'm sure depends greatly on many things). I tend to think that the slabs will at least start to split and twist as they dry out.
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