How To Finish Live Edge Wood With Bark? A Detail Guide

How To Finish Live Edge Wood With Bark?

Integrating the rustic charm of live edge wood with its natural bark can create stunning and unique pieces of furniture or decor. The process of finishing live edge wood with bark, however, requires careful attention to detail and the right techniques. 

To finish live edge wood with bark, sand the wood surface to smooth out any roughness. Apply a wood sealer to protect the bark and enhance its natural beauty. Use a clear finish or epoxy resin to seal the entire piece, ensuring durability. Allow it to dry completely before using or displaying. 

In this article, I will explore step-by-step instructions and helpful tips on how to successfully finish live edge wood with its bark intact. Let’s move forward and study the matter in detail.

6 Steps To Finish Live Edge Wood With Bark: Learn The Method

The art of finishing a wood slab with bark is a delicate task that requires following each step religiously. To guide you through, here is a step-by-step guide that you may follow to achieve the best outcome. 

Step 1: Prepare the surface

Start by inspecting the live edge wood and bark for any loose or damaged areas. Use a stiff brush to remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the surface. If necessary, lightly sand the wood to create a smooth and even surface.

Step 2: Seal the bark

To prevent the bark from peeling or deteriorating over time, it’s crucial to seal it properly. Apply a clear wood sealer or epoxy resin to the bark using a small brush. Make sure to cover the entire bark surface and any exposed edges. Allow the sealer or resin to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Choose the right finish

Consider the desired look and level of protection when choosing a finish for live edge wood with bark. There are various options available, including oils, varnishes, lacquers, or polyurethane. Each finish has its own application method and drying time, so follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Step 4: Apply the finish

Using a clean brush or cloth, apply a thin, even layer of the chosen finish to the wood surface, avoiding excessive buildup or drips. Work with the grain of the wood to ensure an even application. Pay special attention to the live edges and bark, ensuring they receive adequate coverage. Allow the first coat to dry completely.

Step 5: Sand and repeat

Once the first coat is dry, lightly sand the wood surface using fine-grit sandpaper. This step helps to smooth out any imperfections and creates a better surface for subsequent coats. Remove any dust particles with a tack cloth before applying additional coats of finish. Repeat the application and sanding process until you achieve the desired level of sheen and protection.

Step 6: Final touches and curing

After applying the final coat, inspect the finish for any uneven areas or imperfections. If necessary, lightly sand those spots and apply a touch-up coat to ensure a consistent finish. Allow the finish to cure completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

This curing process typically takes a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the chosen finish.

Maintain Finished Live Edge Wood With Bark: Caring Tips

Caring for live edge wood with bark is essential to ensure its longevity and preserve its natural beauty. Here are some maintenance tips to keep in mind:

  • Regular cleaning: Dust and debris can accumulate on the surface of live edge wood with bark, so it’s important to clean it regularly. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a brush to gently remove any dirt or particles. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could damage the bark or the finish.
  • Avoid excessive moisture: Live edge wood with bark is susceptible to moisture damage, which can cause the bark to loosen or the wood to warp. Keep the wood away from direct contact with water, and immediately wipe up any spills. Use coasters or placemats to protect the surface from wet glasses or hot objects.
  • Minimize exposure to sunlight: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause fading and discoloration of the wood and bark. If possible, position the piece away from direct sunlight or use curtains or blinds to block UV rays. Consider rotating the item periodically to ensure even exposure.
  • Temperature and humidity control: Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can affect the stability of live edge wood. Maintain a consistent indoor environment, avoiding extremes of heat, cold, or humidity. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed to keep the moisture levels within a suitable range.
  • Avoid sharp objects and impacts: The bark on live edge wood can be fragile, so it’s important to avoid using sharp objects or placing heavy items directly on the surface. Use protective pads or mats under objects to prevent scratches or indentations.
  • Periodic reapplication of finish: Over time, the finish on live edge wood with bark may wear off or become damaged. Periodically inspect the surface and, if necessary, reapply a fresh coat of finish to protect the wood and maintain its appearance.
  • Professional restoration if needed: If the bark becomes loose or damaged, or if the wood shows signs of significant wear or deterioration, it may be necessary to seek professional restoration. A skilled woodworker or furniture restorer can assess the condition of the piece and provide appropriate repairs or treatments to restore its original beauty.


Why Would I Want To Finish Live Edge Wood With Bark?

Finishing live edge wood with bark can enhance its natural beauty and preserve the unique character of the piece. It adds a touch of authenticity and rustic charm to furniture, tabletops, shelves, and other decorative items.

What Are Some Common Finishes Used For Live Edge Wood With Bark?

There are several popular finishes for live edge wood with bark, including clear epoxy resin, polyurethane, lacquer, tung oil, and varnish. These finishes help protect the wood and bark while enhancing their appearance.

Are There Any Special Considerations When Finishing Live Edge Wood With Bark?

Yes, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, make sure the wood is properly dried before applying any finish. Moisture trapped under the finish can cause issues later on. Additionally, it’s important to apply the finish in a well-ventilated area to ensure proper curing and to avoid inhaling fumes.

How Do I Maintain Live Edge Wood With Bark After Finishing?

Regular maintenance involves cleaning the surface with a soft cloth or brush to remove dust and dirt. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals that can damage the finish. If the finish becomes dull over time, you can apply a fresh coat according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Are There Any Safety Precautions I Should Take When Working With Live Edge Wood And Finishes?

When working with live edge wood and finishes, it’s important to follow safety guidelines. Wear protective gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask to avoid skin contact, eye irritation, and inhalation of fine particles. Ensure proper ventilation in the workspace and read the instructions provided by the finish manufacturer for any specific safety recommendations.

Can I Apply Multiple Coats Of Finish To Live Edge Wood With Bark?

Yes, applying multiple coats of finish can enhance the durability and appearance of live edge wood with bark. Allow each coat to fully cure before applying the next one. Sand lightly between coats to ensure a smooth surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the recommended number of coats for the specific finish you’re using.


In conclusion, finishing live edge wood with bark is a fantastic way to enhance its natural beauty and create unique, rustic pieces. By choosing the right finish and following proper preparation and application techniques, you can protect the wood and preserve the charm of the bark. 

Whether for furniture, decor, or outdoor projects, the combination of wood and bark adds a touch of authenticity to your creations. With proper care and maintenance, your finished live edge wood with bark will continue to impress with its natural allure for years to come.

Md Meraj

This is Meraj. I’m the main publisher of this blog. Wood Working Advisor is a blog where I share wood working tips and tricks, reviews, and guides. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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