Introduction: Tree Leg Dining Room Table
I wanted to make my own dining room table, and was pretty sure I could handle the table top with no problem. The issue was the legs. I looked on IKEA, but sending anything to Whitehorse is very pricey - even if the item isn't. I looked around the 2nd hand stores to no avail. I went for a walk in the forest to make me feel better... and that is where this began.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- Enough wood to make your table the size you want. I used 6 leftover fencing wood pieces which were 6'x6".
- Framing material. I used 1" wide material.
- Structural pieces. I used 4 pallet pieces for the cross structure, they were about 4" wide
- 4 straight(ish) tree trunks - I used spruce-bug affected fallen trees.
- Metal scraps: 4 heavy plates and 4 more malleable long pieces to wrap the log.
- Stain and Varnish.
- Oscillating sander.
- Saw - I used a handsaw... a chopsaw would have been easier.
- Clamps of some sort.
Step 2: Table Top
I sanded down all of my pieces (which were all very rough as they were fencing and pallets). Oscillating sander saved my life (again).
As my fence lengths were the right length for my table, I didn't have to make any cuts here. I organized them according to how they best fit together. It was warped in a few places, so this was a bit of a puzzle. I ended up with two very noticeable cracks that I needed to fix.
As I was doing this in my basement with few tools handy (I should have simply headed over to the Yukonstruct makerspace for the right tools for the job), I had to figure out how to clamp the pieces together. This ended up being a two stage process in my gear cellar involving blocks of scrapwood and two tire jacks. I only had space to do half of the table top at a time.
I put a thin line of gorilla glue along each length and clamped it overnight. This allowed me to go from a crack the size of three fingers to the size of one. I was happy enough with this.
Once the two halves were glued, I placed them together (the straightest edges together) with a thin line of glue and used four pieces of pallet wood to secure the table together from the underside. I made sure not to put a structural piece next to the ends of the table, because I knew I would have to attach something there for the legs.
I cut the 1" wood to be a frame for my table. 45 degree angles are not my specialty with a handsaw, so I used some wood filler to fill up any gaps.
I screwed these pieces at regular intervals around my table top and gave the entire thing a good sanding.
I then used a black stain on the frame, and applied 4 coats of a protective varnish.
Step 3: The LEGS
I found some nice similar diameter spruce bug killed wood and chopped it into equal pieces. I made them 35" so that I would have some room to play.
Once I got them home I scraped off most of the bark using a carving knife and sanded them somewhat. I wanted some bark and bug markings to show so went pretty easy with the sander.
Next I had to figure out the length, which I decided to be 30".
Cutting the ends so that they were square to each other (despite some curves in the wood) was a big challenge.
I put the log onto a foamie and squished it until it seemed to be hitting the floor. I then took a big square and drew a line so that (theoretically) both ends would be square to the floor as well as to each other.
Not a perfect process... but it worked (I know... I was also surprised).
I also applied 2 coats of the protective varnish to the legs.
Step 4: Putting It All Together
Now for figuring out how to attach the legs to the table.
Luckily, I have a friend who is a sheet-metal worker. She gave me 4 equal plates of metal and 4 large rectangles that we encircled the logs with. Originally, the idea was to weld these two pieces together, but in the end it wasn't that feasible, so we made some braces.
I screwed the metal plates into the ends of the logs with 3 LARGE/LONG screws.
I cut out right-angle triangle pieces of wood large enough to put the plated leg onto, and bolted the metal plate onto that triangle (setting the inside bolt into the wood by drilling a 1/2" deep hole first).
After pre-drilling through the metal, I screwed the brackets to the logs themselves (through the metal surround), and bolted through the metal plate into the supporting wood.
THEN, I screwed the wood platform with my leg on it into the bottom of the table.
I finished the job with some heavy felting on the bottom of each leg trunk so that it wouldn't scratch my flooring.
And that was it! Not perfect - a few cracks, but I love it.