Build Log Furniture: a Split-Log Table and Bench Set

Six illustrated steps for making rustic and rugged log furniture.
By Charles Andrews
May/June 1984
Add to My MSN

Split two benches from a single log. 
PHOTO: CHARLES ANDREWS
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Sweet Ideas for a Handmade Valentine's Day

Save money and win your sweetie's heart with a beautifully set table and handmade candy hearts this ...

Making a Garden Path Bench and Folding Table

Build this unobtrusive table and bench for your garden.

Log Building Tools - Adzes and Broad Axes

Adzes and broad axes have been used for centuries in log cabin building. Learn a bit about what thes...

Where Do You Rest When the Garden Work Is Done?

Stumps, benches, lounge chairs and hammocks offer a place to contemplate the day’s activities.

Since the procedures for making log furniture don't vary much from one particular item to another, I'll go through the steps only once—in this case describing a bench. To make the table, just repeat the steps, modifying only the dimensions. (This table and bench set is kiddie-size; you may wish to make yours larger.)

Tools and Materials

Step 1: The tools you'll need for this project are a maul, two splitting wedges, an axe, a hatchet, a brace and 1" bit, a small saw, and a large knife. I split two benches from a single poplar log with an 11" diameter. The bench legs were split from a single 20" oak log. The wedges that secure the legs to the bench tops can be split from any hard, close-grained wood.

Splitting

Step 2: Begin the bench-top split by tapping a wedge into one end of the log at a 45° angle. Drive the second wedge into the spreading crack until the first can be removed. Continue until the log is split through. Now (if you wish), remove the bark.

Drilling the Leg Holes

Step 3: To assure a uniform position and angle for each of the four legs, use a paper template when locating and boring the leg holes. Use the brace and 1" bit, and drill completely through the split log.

Splitting and Shaping the Legs

Step 4: For each bench, split four 3" X 3" pieces from the 20" log (or from a log of whatever length you want the legs to be). Use the hatchet to shape them into uniform leg blanks. Now, whittle one end of each into a rounded dowel that will fit snugly into one of the 1" leg holes. Finally, saw a 4"-deep slot into the shaped end of each of the legs to allow for compression when you use your mallet to drive them into their holes.

Splitting Wedges and Attaching the Legs

Step 5: From the heartwood of a hardwood log, split four wedges about 1" wide, 1/16" thick, and at least 6" long. Whittle each of these to a thin edge on one end, and smooth any rough spots. Now, reopen the compressed slots in the protruding ends of the legs with a saw, and use a mallet to drive a wedge into the slot of each leg. When these are tightly in place, cut the protruding ends of the legs flush with the bench top, and trim the bottom ends of the legs as required.

Finishing the Log Furniture

Step 6: Finally, go over your completed bench with the knife, smoothing any rough spots and potential splinters. A clear wood sealer is all the finish this rustic furniture needs . . . and it will even look great left as is!








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.