The bark on some species of trees, like the ponderosa pine shown here, comes off very easily—especially if the tree has been dead for awhile. Often you can just peel off the bark with your hands. Use a wire brush to clean off the newly exposed surface of the log sections. Chainsaw marks on the cut face of the log add to its character. You can sand the stumps using a rough-grit sandpaper if you choose.
Drill a 5/8-inch hole about 2 inches deep at the marked points, insert the dowel, then fit the log sections together. Use wood shims if necessary to get the table to sit flat.
Large logs stay put because of their sheer mass; smaller ones can be doweled together to make them a more stable and permanent piece of furniture. Put the logs on a flat surface and measure and mark up from the floor about 6 inches for the top dowel and 3 inches for the bottom one. Use 1/2-inch doweling cut into 4-inch sections.
A composition of log sections, both massive and petite, makes a dramatic side table for a living area or bedroom. These three levels look great and offer an interesting variety of surfaces for function and display.