I've often watched logs burning in a fireplace and wondered what the wood could have become. I purchased these logs for $2 a piece from a guy selling firewood on Craigslist. He claims they're white oak. By stripping off the bark and carving the log with my chainsaw and angle grinder, I made a nice little chair that's perfect for a 5 year old.
Step 1: Supplies + Tools
Bioshield Wood Countertop Finish
I used a natural wood counter finish called BIOSHIELD. It's made from linseed oil and beeswax and provides protection without toxicity. Polyurethane or acrylic will protect wood with a hardened plastic finish, but I would rather have stains and scratches than the feel of plastic.
RYOBI 18 Volt Chainsaw
RYOBI 4 1/2" Angle Grinder
RYOBI Orbital Sander
Step 2: Remove Outer Bark
I used a hatchet to remove some of the outer layers of bark. It comes off pretty easy and keeps the pieces from getting thrown around by the chainsaw.
Step 3: Cut the Log to Length
Trim the ends of the log to get reasonably flat end surfaces. Chainsaws are not precise tools, so do your best and rely on the angle grinder to fix mistakes. I wanted a length of about 9 inches long since that's how long my small chainsaw is. Make sure the log is secure and won't move while you cut it. Always use the appropriate safety gear.
Step 4: Cut a Flat Face
I place the shortened log on its end and cut off a thin slice to create a flat face to be used as the base. The log wobbled a bit, so I drove screws around it to hold it in place.
Step 5: Cut the Curved Seat
I used a sharpie to draw a curved line for the seat of the chair. It's hard to cut a curved line with a chainsaw, so I cut out wedges of wood until I achieved the shape I wanted.
Step 6: Grind Log Into Shape
I used an angle grinder with a 40 grit flap disc to shape the chair.
Step 7: Sand Smooth
I used 220 grit paper on my orbital sander to smooth the sides and the rounded over edges.
Step 8: Clean Out the Cracks
The log I used had some cracks and I wanted to make sure that the seat was splinter free, so I used a knife to clean and scrape out the cracks and 220 grit sand paper to smooth them.
Step 9: Finish
Whenever I make furniture for children, I try to use food-grade finishes. I finished this chair with a couple coats of BIOSHIELD wood countertop finish.