The art of live edge

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For local carpenter Dave Vanstone, two beech trees falling on a stranger’s land were the beginning of a table – and a whole new business, reports Tracie Beardsley

A dining table off Scottish elm. Dave Vanstone recycles unwanted felled trees into beautiful bespoke furniture
All images: Dave Vanstone

Spot a fallen tree and Dave Vanstone may not be far behind. This talented carpenter from Stalbridge transforms windthrow (trees brought down by the wind) and locally felled tree trunks from Dorset into stunning pieces of bespoke furniture.
Dave is glad he first knocked on the door of a house with two fallen beech trees. The owner agreed to let him take the trees to use – and commissioned him to make a table. His neighbour did the same. And an idea that had been mulling in Dave’s mind for more than ten years became a reality.

A recent build of a walnut coffee table with a black resin infill.

The ultimate recycling
‘Live edge’ furniture, letting the natural form of the wood inspire the finished shape of a dining table, headboard, coffee table, even striking wall art, forms the basis for his business Dorset Deciduous Designs.
Dave explains: ‘Each slab of wood is unique and I incorporate the natural features and beauty within the wood into my furniture designs. Sometimes my clients may have a piece of wood in mind they’d like transformed, or a fallen tree in their garden. Others ask me to source a piece of wood to create a unique piece of furniture.’

A round table offcut was repurposed into a stunning giant wall clock

Artistically hand-crafted using Dave’s 20 years of carpentry skills, the furniture can be made to measure, to fit an area perfectly and the timeless look of wood complements existing styles of décor. Clever use of epoxy resins fill out any cracks in the wood, “turning a defect into a feature”, says Dave.
Hundreds of hours go into the creation of one piece of furniture, with the wood first being dried, then tirelessly sanded before being transformed into a bespoke piece. Dave says: “The living edge of the tree dictates the shape, so no two pieces of furniture are ever the same.”

By night the headboard is a dramatically lit mythical map. By day it is a beautiful piece of furniture for any bedroom

He adds: “Fallen trees that have died naturally are little use to anyone. Rather than burn them, I love the sustainability of transforming them into valued pieces that can be handed down through generations – the tree lives on in another form, but with all its original beauty.”

Unique wood slab furniture
by Dorset Deciduous Design

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