George Nakashima was a Japanese-American craftsman and furniture maker who was a powerhouse influence in 20th century furniture design. I've been fortunate enough to sit on and explore many of his actual pieces;the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has several, and you're welcome to actually use them. His mastery of fine joinery mixed with rustic unfinished edges are as good as handbuilt furniture can get, and he's by far the my woodworking idol. (Sorry, Norm...)
Nakashima's signature coffee tables feature flat, finely finished tops with raw or "live" edges, resulting in a natural modern look that's pretty much as awesome as it gets. And if you're a clever source-ster and willing to do a little sanding, you can totally make one yourself.
Hazelnut_spread says, "I recently embarked on a DIY project where I crafted a large Nakashima-style (live-edge) coffee table myself. In short, here's what I did. I purchased an Acacia wood slab on eBay. Nakashima routinely used Black Walnut for his projects — but Acacia is actually heavier/stronger than Black Walnut and, from what I've seen, it's more economical. It also has a beautiful grain. I sanded the table down with a random orbit sander in the direction of the grain...I started sanding the wood with 40-grit sandpaper, and worked myself up to 60, 80, 120, 150, and 220."
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