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Faking a live edge

Mark Member

Has anyone ever tried to fake a live edge in something like 8/4 maple? They "why" of this has to do with a customer request for a ton of live edge floating bookshelves.

1/30/21       #2: Faking a live edge ...
Jim Sherrod Herron

Have your worst employee randomly scallop cut a partial bevel on them, then smooth the edges with a grinder, followed by random orbit sander.
Looks fake because it is.

1/31/21       #3: Faking a live edge ...
james e mcgrew  Member


I have a 4" Grinder with a 60 grit disk, I call it my "Mean Ass Material Remover"

Be careful Because it Is a "Mean Ass Removal Of Materials"

1/31/21       #4: Faking a live edge ...
Mark B Member

This will sound odd but a long time ago we stumbled on a solution that has come in handy a time or two since. Had an employee that tried to pound a doweled glue up together with a large hardwood timberframing mallet. It crushed and splintered the long rain on the edge to where you could just peel it off in shards. Parts were junked but looking at it the crush followed the natural grain contour and then some quick clean up with sander, spoke shave, draw knife, and you had a really natural looking edge as it runs perfectly with the grain. We actually later used it on some s4s hemlock where the customer wanted more natural edge. Not sure how well it would work with super hard woods but may be worth a try.

The grinder/scalloping approach never looks good to me but I probably don't work very hard at following the grain.

1/31/21       #5: Faking a live edge ...

I think I would probably bandsaw a wavy edge at an angle, maybe change the angle a little on the cut, then maybe go over it with 60 or 80 grit on a random orbit.

1/31/21       #6: Faking a live edge ...
D Brown

After you shape the edge try a torch and a wire brush. Good luck.

2/1/21       #8: Faking a live edge ...
Mark Member

Thanks Mark B, Pete and D Brown for the suggestions. I had not thought of a torch or wire brush or pounding the grain to release some of the fiber. If I attempt this, I will let you know the results.

2/2/21       #9: Faking a live edge ...

Why not find some live edge and use that?

2/3/21       #10: Faking a live edge ...
Gary Balcom

Agree with above, just find some live edge.

There really isn't any faking it. The grain will tell all. But, if you just want the shape, a bandsaw and a spokeshave could get you there.

2/3/21       #11: Faking a live edge ...
rich c

Easy to find, you can even buy live edge at Home Depot now.

Live Edge at Home Depot

2/4/21       #12: Faking a live edge ...

Ya I would agree with others, just about impossible to make it look real.
It is easy to tell when fake live edge is fake.

2/4/21       #13: Faking a live edge ...
Mark B Member

In my area finding 8/4 KD live edge hard Maple would be like finding a unicorn to ride to the country store for a case of beer. Other than gnarly nasty super wide I never see hard Maple sawn live edge very much on the commercial market and especially KD. Argument would be move to a different species but maybe the OP has a bunch of inventory or a line on some hard Maple or the job is suited to light material. Who knows. My guess would be the customer is on the ding-a-ling live edge kick (I remember my dad was on that kick in the late 60's followed by the cookie clock craze).

Same as the panel/shaker conversation.. if you can come up with a way to take the money someone wants to hand you can you can be profitable I say have at it.

We have a partial unit of 8/4 FAS hard Maple on the rack. When I posted I was tempted to go grab a piece and grab the mallet that cause the original destruction and try it. I'd fear with hard maple you may have to use a sledge hammer. ;-)

2/15/21       #14: Faking a live edge ...

Somebody on WoodWeb must have a live edge cnc router code...

2/15/21       #15: Faking a live edge ...

Chain it to the back of your truck, and after a few days of dragging it back and forth from the shop to home, it should look good!

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