I sell some of my work in a gallery on the coast just south of San Francisco and I recently got a request from them to create one of my suspension shelves in live edge elm. I had never worked with live edge wood before, so I was excited to try something new.
The gallery also requested that the shelf be larger than the standard version, so before setting about building the piece, I had to do a complete overhaul of the design. The trickiest part of the whole process was figuring out how to mesh this new type of wood with the CNC machining process that is integral to the creation of the shelf. Since live edge wood is bumpy and knotty, it can be difficult to get it to line up with the machine so that all of the cuts are done accurately. It took a little while, but I figured out a solution that involved cutting patterns into the bed of the machine and then using those patterns as guides to line up the pieces of live edge elm. After cutting everything out, wiring up the shelf was no different than usual. The final product is much larger than its original counterpart, measuring over 5 feet long and 3 feet tall.