April 09, 2024 3 min read

In the world of woodworking and furniture crafting, live edge slabs have gained immense popularity. The rustic and natural beauty they bring to your projects is unmatched. However, if you're planning to incorporate live edge slabs into your woodworking endeavors, it's essential to understand the factors that affect their costs. In this article, we'll explore various factors that influence the costs of live edge slabs, including wood species, size, and other considerations.

Factors Influencing Wood Cost

The wood species you choose plays a crucial role in determining the cost of live edge slabs. Typically, species like walnut are on the higher end of the cost spectrum, while oak falls on the more affordable side. The type of wood you select will significantly impact the final price tag of your project.

Moreover, the size of the live edge slab also plays a pivotal role in cost determination. Larger slabs tend to be more expensive, while smaller ones are comparatively budget-friendly. Size is one of the primary factors that can significantly influence your budget.

Pricing for Live Edge Slabs

Understanding the pricing structure for live edge slabs is essential. Generally, single slabs cost more than multiple boards that have been glued together. The pricing hierarchy often starts with single slabs being the most expensive, followed by bookmatched sets and multiple boards glued together being the more economical choice.

The pricing strategy can vary among suppliers. For instance, some suppliers calculate the cost of the slab and add an additional 20% for machining, flattening, and sanding. This approach ensures that all aspects of the process are accounted for in the final price.

Handling Customer's Wood

Some customers bring their own live edge slabs to woodworking professionals, which can introduce additional complexities. One of the common challenges encountered is the moisture content of the customer's wood. Wood must be properly dried before use, as excessive moisture can lead to warping and other issues. Drying or sterilizing the wood can add extra costs for the customer.

Additionally, wood sourced from old barns or other outdoor locations may have insects or mold issues. These issues need to be addressed before the wood can be used in a project, adding to the overall cost.

Quality of Professionally Cut Slabs

While some may assume that professionally cut slabs are more expensive, they often provide better quality and value in the long run. Professionally cut slabs are typically straighter and have fewer defects, resulting in a more manageable woodworking experience. However, this quality comes at a price, which may not be significantly different from the cost of DIY slabs when all factors are considered.

Challenges with Customer's Wood

Customers who bring their own wood may encounter unexpected challenges. Wood that has been stored without proper care may be twisted or warped, making it difficult to work with. Remedying these issues can require additional time and effort, translating to increased labor costs.

In some cases, attempting to salvage such wood by steaming or other methods may further escalate expenses without guaranteeing success. It's essential for customers to understand the condition of their wood and the potential costs involved in making it usable.


The costs of live edge slabs are influenced by several factors, including wood species, size, and the quality of professionally cut slabs. Additionally, handling customer-supplied wood can introduce complexities and expenses related to drying, insect removal, and more.

For those embarking on woodworking projects involving live edge slabs, it's crucial to consider these factors when budgeting. If you have questions or need expert advice on live edge slabs, feel free to contact KC Custom Hardwoods today. We're here to help you navigate the world of live edge woodworking and ensure a successful and cost-effective project.