The Table Guy curates both single and panelled wood slabs, including bookmatched, triple panel, and multi-panel options. If you're wondering which option is better for your needs, it's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
FIrst, what is the difference between single and panelled wood slabs? Single slabs are slices of a single log, capturing the full natural form of the tree in both grain features and shape. In contrast, panelled slabs are typically built from multiple boards to create more practical shapes and sizes.
It is a myth that panelled slabs are not as sturdy as single slabs! After all, if that were true, why would so many classic furniture builds like TV consoles and cupboards be created with panelled material? The fact is, panelled slabs are just as sturdy as single slabs when the right bracing and joinery techniques are used. Panelled slabs are typically held together with dowels and industrial glue, and additional braces may be added to the underside to redistribute tension in the slab.
When it comes to looks, single wood slabs are often the best showcase of a tree's character, with bookmatched boards offering pleasing symmetry. Multi-panel options create a more subtle appearance, with boards selected to blend together as best as possible, and are well-suited for seamless integration to your interior. Ultimately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and only you can say what your preferred aesthetic is.
Form is another consideration, with single slabs following the true form of the tree, resulting in an organic and striking form factor. Bookmatched boards offer a balance between retaining the tree's character and creating a usable form, while multi-panel options are the most practical, selected for their gentle live edges that create a soft sense of flow in your space.
An important note: more expensive does not necessarily mean better quality! Price is determined by a demand and supply, which in turn is influenced not just by the growth rate of various tree types but also current furniture trends. This means that faster-growing woods like Suar (Raintree) are readily available in a single slab format at a relatively affordable rate, while slower-growing woods like Black Walnut and Ash are much more expensive.
Both single and panelled wood slabs have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific requirements of your project.