How To Craft A Log Bench

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I'd always loved walking in forests and woodland areas, but I never really took the time to learn about the different species of tree — they all looked the same to me! That all changed when a relative gifted me a beautifully detailed book on local wildlife. From there, I was on a mission to learn all I could about trees, from oak to elm, beech to ash. I've set up this site to share my journey with you. Watch out for fun tree facts, tips on caring for trees on your property, and advice on tree planting and removal.


How To Craft A Log Bench

30 November 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If you have to have one of your trees removed following storm damage, you might want to ask your tree services contractor to leave the trunk behind so that you can get creative!  As long as the tree is not diseased or very badly damaged, you can use the trunk to make a practical and attractive garden bench.  All you need is a little DIY know-how and some time on your hands.

Here's how to do it. 

What you'll need

  • a log (at least 45cm in diameter)
  • chainsaw (for cutting the log into slabs)
  • handsaw
  • carpenter's pencil
  • hammer
  • chisel
  • wood glue
  • wood plane  

It's important that you allow the log to dry-out thoroughly before you attempt this project so that it doesn't shrink as it dries, which would cause the joints of the bench to weaken.

How to do it

You'll need to be fairly competent in using a chainsaw to carry out this project.  If you prefer, you could ask your tree services contractor to cut the log for you for a small fee.

  1. Cut the log into slabs around 4cm thick.   
  2. Select four flat pieces of log for use as the bench's legs.  You can leave the legs as plain, straight pieces or create something fancier if you prefer.  Mark out the pattern for the legs with a pencil.  
  3. Using a handsaw put the pieces of wood into a vice and cut out the legs.  Cut a small 'V' shape in the bottom of each leg.  
  4. Choose a half-round slab to form the bench seat.  Use the notch of each bench leg as a pattern for the underside of the bench top.   
  5. Lay the top on a work bench and saw the leg notches into the underside.  To do this, make a downwards cut to a depth of not more than half the top's thickness.  Now make a number of parallel cuts close together, between the two outside slots.  Repeat the process for the other leg notches.  
  6. Use a hammer and chisel to knock the wood 'wafers' out of the notches, trying to keep the notch depth the same for each leg.  
  7. Use a hammer to drive the legs into the notches.  You may need to knock in a few chips of wood to tighten-up the fit if the legs come up too thin.  
  8. Add a dollop of wood glue to hold the legs firmly in place.  
  9. The basic bench is now complete.  To make the seat more comfortable, use a wood plane to remove any rough edges.  You may wish to sand the seat too and add a layer of light oil or stain.

In conclusion

You can make a rustic bench from a discarded log that's left over from your annual tree maintenance visit.  Just follow the guidelines given above!