The following is an excerpt from Tree Craft: 35 Rustic Wood Projects That Bring the Outdoors In by Chris Lubkemann (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2010). Nothing adds more warmth and charm to a home than the simple beauty of natural wood. Thanks to woodworker Lubkemann’s creative, practical projects in Tree Craft, bringing the splendor of the outdoors into your home is easier than ever. This excerpt is from Chapter 3, “Living.”
A coffee table made from a slab and a stump will really bring the outdoors into your living room. You could also build one of these rugged pieces to serve as a long-lasting, no-fuss outdoor table. Slap a couple of stumps next to it, and you’ve got seating! This rugged coffee table would cost a small fortune to purchase, but you can make it yourself for a lot less.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
Big slab of wood for tabletop
Big stump for pedestal
Stain, if desired
1. Find a big slab of wood for the tabletop. Here’s the large slice of American elm I started with. This is definitely a piece I wouldn’t want to drop on any body parts!
2. Sand the top of the slab with a belt sander. I like the look of leaving the rough chainsaw cuts visible, but just smoothing out the surface.
3. I decided to stain this slab dark. Use a big stump or log as a pedestal. Use two stumps or logs if needed. You might need some shims to keep the top level. I use the weight of the slab to connect the two pieces.
4. Be sure to cover the table if you plan to leave it outside. The more you protect the wood from the elements, the longer it will last.
5. You never know what shapes you’ll find when looking for giant slabs. Round, oval, or how about this piece? Kind of looks like the continent of Africa. I’m just about positive as to what will come out of this special slice. My older son, Steve, is a professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and specializes in refugee situations in sub-Saharan Africa. And he and his family live in a great big log cabin. Wow! I can see a number of factors coming together for another great coffee table!
Reprinted with permission from Tree Craft: 35 Rustic Wood Projects That Bring the Outdoors In, published by Fox Chapel Publishing, 2010.