Live Edge Lumber creates gorgeous, custom-made live-edge tables without the premium furniture store prices

Mka Table
Joe Neiswonger’s LiveEdge Lumber handcrafts dining room tables and other furniture pieces from slabs of various wood species, primarily black walnut.

By Mitch Allen

In the spring of 2019, just after Joe Neiswonger’s cousin passed away, a tornado ripped through his cousin’s former property in Springboro, Pennsylvania, taking down five old cherry trees. His cousin’s son called to tell him about the storm, and to let Joe know he would be cutting the trees into firewood.

“Wait,” Joe pleaded. “Let me see them first.”

Joe and his father, Mike, hopped on I-90 and drove the 90 minutes from Bay Village to Springboro. The cherry trees were large with beautiful grain, so Joe and Mike took them home and had them milled into gorgeous, live-edge table slabs.

Even as a veteran carpenter, this was Joe’s first experience working with live edges...and he was enthralled.

The original cherry slabs milled after the Springboro tornado.

“I immediately got into the business of selling hardwood slabs,” Joe says. “These are things of beauty that should be enjoyed, not burned, especially black walnut.”

Not long after, when Joe was doing a carpentry job for a successful business owner, the man said, “Anyone can cut down a tree and sell it,” the client told him. “You should add value to the process.”

So Joe started kiln-drying the wood, too.

“After I started selling kiln-dried slabs, I realized I was missing out on the most artistic part—the milling, gluing, sanding and finishing,” he says. “I never got to see the final product. So I just went all in.”

Today, Joe runs a small operation, manufacturing live-edge tables with help from a team of craftsmen, including Amish lumber yards, mills, and finishers. He calls his company LiveEdge Lumber.

“My day job is still a carpenter, but this part of the business is growing fast,” Joe says. “Unlike the big furniture stores, my clients want to be a part of the process. They often meet me in Amish Country to hand-select their own slabs from several different options I present to them. Then we start the process.”

Joe Neiswonger, a resident of Bay Village, built this table for his son CJ’s eighth birthday.

Although Joe has a few pre-made live-edge pieces in inventory, most of his jobs are custom builds, and that’s a long process. From the tree to the dining room, that process includes cutting, milling, air drying, kiln drying, choosing slabs, laying out, gluing together, running it through the planer, sanding, adding epoxy resin and bow ties, choosing a base, and finishing.

“From selecting the slabs to delivering the table takes about 12 weeks,” Joe says. “But my clients are patient, and they are willing to wait for such gorgeous, one-of-a-kind results.”

Joe specializes in book-matched tables in which two symmetrical slabs are glued together to create a virtual mirror image, usually in black walnut.

“The results are stunning,” Joe says.

Tables range in length from 4 feet to 12 feet, with 8-footers being the most popular size. And because Joe has no showroom and virtually no overhead, his prices are far less than what you’d expect to pay at furniture stores.

Joe recently completed a warm and inviting bar top made of hard maple for the Humble Wine Bar in Lakewood, and a table for his son CJ’s eighth birthday. It features the Blue Angels embedded in epoxy, including the vapor trails. CJ has taken an interest in the business and likes to help his dad in the shop.

Joe lives in Bay Village, has a wood shop in Hartville, and is often in Holmes County meeting with Amish sawyers. His dad Mike helps out in the business, too.

For more information or to review your project with LiveEdge Lumber’s Joe Neiswonger, email him at or text him at 440-554-5323. See more photos at LiveEdge Lumber’s Facebook page.

Categories: Home & Garden