Introduction: Natural Wood Log Bench

Picture of Natural Wood Log Bench

This is a 1-2 day quick bench that can be left outdoors as a piece of outdoor furniture or can be brought inside for a rustic or natural piece of functional furniture. I got the idea from a smaller version that was intended as a foot rest in front of a cozy chair in a log cabin. Send pictures of your finished bench or other piece of furniture using this same method.

Step 1: Tools

Picture of Tools

Safety Glasses
Chainsaw or other saw beefy enough to cut a log to length.
Chisel
Sander
Drill
1”drill bit
Hammer/mallet
Pipe wrench (optional)
Wood Glue
(1) Log  - 6inches diameter minimum, 3 feet long
(4) 2 inch diameter sticks for legs , 1.5 feet long

Step 2: Cut Log and Legs to Length

Picture of Cut Log and Legs to Length

Be sure to follow the safety procedures in your chainsaw manual so you don’t lose any limbs, these benches are nice but they shouldn’t cost an arm or a leg.
Find a straight section of a log long enough to be a bench. The length doesn’t need to be exact, but should be long enough for two people to sit on with a little extra between them and on each end. You could extend the design for three people, but if you do, I’d recommend adding two more legs in the middle for extra support. If you use a log with a larger diameter, you should increase the diameter of the supports and drill holes.
(1) Log  - 6inches diameter minimum, 3 feet long
(4) 2 inch diameter sticks for legs , 1.5 feet long

Step 3: Drill Holes for Legs

Picture of Drill Holes for Legs

Remove any bark from the bench log. Choose which side of the log you want to sit on. It may not matter depending on the log, but you don’t want any large knots or bumps where people will sit.
Brace the log and mark a straight line down the length of the log on what will be the bottom of the bench. Drill holes six inches from the ends of the log at least two inches deep straight toward the core of the log. Rotate the log 60 degrees and drill two more holes as before.

Step 4: Make and Attach the Legs

Picture of Make and Attach the Legs

Warning: Never cut towards yourself. And be safe with chisels. I sliced a finger ligament (on a previous project) that makes playing some guitar chords nearly impossible now.

I left the bark on the legs of my bench for a more natural look, but you might want to remove it. Put the leg in a vice and chisel one end back 1.5 inches from the end and 1 inch in diameter. Test it on the holes of the log occasionally so that it is just the right size. You want the fit to be tight enough that it will bottom out with a hammer and won’t budge. If the legs are too loose, a shim can be added to make a tighter fit.
Lesson Learned: If you use green limbs they are easier to cut but they will shrink when they dry, so either use glue/screws or dry wood.

Step 5: Finish

Sand the top of the bench as well as each end to remove any splinters or sharp edges. I left the wood natural but an outdoor wood treatment could be used. Use safety glasses and breathing protection to prevent inhaling too much wood dust.

As I mentioned earlier if you use green wood it will shrink and the legs will become loose. If that happens you can glue in some shims or drive a long screw through the leg into the log.

Comments

uncle frogy (author)2015-10-18

If you can wait a little I might suggest using a green log and dry legs Make the holes a little oblong across the grain to prevent the log splitting when it dries tight around the legs and you would need not use any fasteners or glue at all

incle frogy

Thanks for the tip! Unfortunately I was using old downed trees for the main bench piece so there was no shrinkage there.

audreyobscura (author)2013-02-28

Nice work, and thanks for the share.

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