Try This: Log Table

Turn old trees into handsome furniture.

| July/August 2005

Even venerable old trees can’t live forever. When a tree in your yard or neighborhood has to be removed, honor it by inviting it inside. Ask the tree cutter to slice off some thick slabs to make this strong, rustic, elemental side table. It doesn’t take much—a little sanding and maybe a dowel or two—to put together a piece of furniture with the kind of character that does grow on trees.

1. The bark on some species of trees 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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