Wood kept in its natural form makes an inviting textural addition to your cottage. A large hemlock on our property that was growing dangerously close to the hydro wires needed to be felled. As we cut the tree into firewood, we saved several 75-cm sections and transformed them into tables. Adding casters lets you roll the tables in or out as needed, providing extra surfaces when you’re feeding a large group or just having a snack by the fire. We actually built four: Two stayed at the cottage and we liked them so much we made two more to bring home.
Log section, about 75cm high and 45 cm in diameter
4 locking casters
Screwdriver and 2” deck screws
Water-based polyurethane finish
Belt sander and 80-grit sandpaper
Plastic spray bottle
Salvage. Find the fallen tree trunks. Local mills are also a source for uncut timber. Hemlock, maple, and many other woods work well.
Cutting. Using a chainsaw cut a 75-cm section from the trunk. Try to make both cuts parallel and as smooth as possible. Let green logs dry, at least until they stop bleeding sap.
Preparing the logs. Sand the top and bottom of each log, ideally with a belt sander, using 80-grit sandpaper. (Don’t worry about getting it too smooth – a bit of texture looks better at the cottage.)
Finishing. Once you have sanded your log so it’s level and smooth, apply two thin coats of water-based polyurethane to the top and bottom surface with a bristle brush. Using a spray bottle filled with water-based polyurethane, spray the sides of the log to seal and protect it. You will need at least three coats to get a good finish. Let the polyurethane dry completely between coats.
Attaching the casters. Measuring 7 to 10 cm in from the outside bottom edge, mark four equally spaced locations for the locking casters. We used 2” deck screws to secure them.
- These logs can weigh in excess of 50kg each, so when transporting them, grab a friend to share the work. You can also roll the logs onto an old tarpaulin to pull them from the bush.
- If casters aren’t your thing and you’re sure you have found a permanent home for your table, sit it right on the floor (adding a few felt protectors to avoid scratches). Or screw pre-made wooden feet on the bottom of the log. These can be found, unfinished, at the local building centre and stained to match your cottage decor.
- Customize your table by using a Dremel tool to engrave a monogram or a simple design on top before using polyurethane to seal it.
- For a completely different look, skin the bark from the logs and stain them.