Live Edge Slab Table Price Survey
Live edge slab dining tables are incredibly popular today. Slab tables built in the style of George Nakashima (1905-1990) provide a modern, substantial, natural look that appeals to many homeowners. Nakashima believed that the woodworker's job was to keep joinery to a bare minimum in order to let the beauty of the tree shine through. Where joinery was necessary, it should be strong, spare, and well proportioned. His goal was timeless furniture.
I enjoy building Nakashima-style tables in my Montana workshop mostly because it involves traditional handwork from beginning to end. There is satisfaction for the builder at every step, from transporting raw slabs to applying the final finish. That's rare in fine woodworking.
Prices for live edge tables can vary widely, depending on the overall dimensions, number of boards used to make up the top, complexity of the base, and who you buy from. In order to provide prospective buyers some clarity on price, I collected price data for tables of comparable design from 32 sources, including both small-shop woodworkers and large retail outlets. The tables were all made from Black Walnut with tops constructed of either two book-matched slabs or a single wide slab. Their bases varied in design, but were generally welded steel, proportional, and fairly simple. Tops were rectangular or had very subtle sweeps along their long edges (no wild curves, no "art" pieces). All had live edge details (beveled edges) and measured roughly 8 feet long x 40" wide x 2" thick (seating for 6+). Most had inlaid bowties ("dutchmen"). Shipping costs were included in the price. In general, door-to-door shipping of a full-sized table in the U.S. costs $400-600, which includes the protective crating.
The chart below shows the results of my price survey. Bottom line: Expect to pay no less than $4000 for a top-quality, hand-built live edge table. Showroom prices will be in the $5500-$6500 range. Higher prices (>$7000) are commanded by well-established makers with their own studios typically located in large cities on the coasts. Lower prices for the same product tend to be found in the Rocky Mountains and Midwest, especially when purchased directly from the maker. It pays to shop local.