How to Make a Cedar Log Bench

Written by tim anderson
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How to Make a Cedar Log Bench
Create your own cedar log bench for rustic lawn furniture. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Wooden benches are one way of sprucing up your garden or yard. While you can purchase pre-made benches at furniture and home improvement stores, there is no substitute for a rustic bench made from cedar logs. If your preference is for rugged, natural amenities in your garden or lawn area, making a cedar log bench is the best option to create that outdoorsy look and atmosphere that makes you feel like you are camping every time you head out into the yard.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Chainsaw
  • Hammer
  • Wood glue

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  1. 1

    Cut off at least two sections from the end of a log at least 18 inches in diameter to use for the legs of your bench later on. Use your tape measure and pencil to mark sections that are either 2 or 3 inches wide. Wear your safety glasses and work gloves and start the chainsaw. Push the chainsaw blade down into the log, using your pencil mark as a reference, and cut your 2 or 3 inch discs off the end.

  2. 2

    Cut these discs in half across their diameter so you have U shaped sections. Eyeball the half-discs and cut the curved section of each "U" out, so you are left with rough squares to use as the legs of your bench.

  3. 3

    Mark the centre of the radius at each end of the log, and snap a line down the centre of the log so you have a line running down its length. Put on your work gloves and safety glasses and start the chainsaw. Stand with the log between your legs and cut down the length of the log, working your way slowly and using the chalk line as a reference. Apply pressure downwards as you slowly move backwards, cutting the log as you move. Allow the chain to naturally pull the saw into the wood and work slowly, allowing the saw to do the work rather than your physical strength.

  4. 4

    Flip the two leg halves of the log over on their flat sides, so that they are facing down and the rounded sections are facing up. Determine where you want your leg sections to attach. Place a corresponding leg square on top of the rounded section of your bench seat. Mark either side with a pencil. Determine how deep you want to sink your leg sections into the wood (go at least several inches), and mark accordingly with a pencil and tape measure.

  5. 5

    Create notched sections out of the rounded underside of the bench for the legs. Use the chainsaw to cut down into the bench to your chosen depth for the leg sections, but make sure to cut slightly in from your marks so you have a tight fit.

  6. 6

    Cut the outer edges of the notch first, then run the chainsaw down through the notch roughly a quarter-inch in from each outer cut, and work your way in until you have several thin slivers of wood. Gently move the chainsaw blade from side to side in the notch while it is running to clear the slivers out and clear the notch.

  7. 7

    Insert your leg pieces. Apply wood glue to the inside of the notches and use a hammer to tap your leg sections into place. Allow the glue to set for at least 24 hours before turning the bench over to test the legs. Trim any additional imperfections from the bottom side of the legs to create a level bench depending on where you set your bench.

Tips and warnings

  • Creating a rustic wood bench with a chainsaw is more about eyeballing everything rather than having perfection. In some cases your pencil and tape measure may be useless, and you can rely more upon simply trimming things up with the chainsaw to achieve that "perfect" fit.
  • While personal preference can dictate the actual size of your bench, it is easier to work with larger logs.
  • Do not operate a chainsaw without the proper training and safety equipment. Never pull a chainsaw upwards towards you or attempt to cut "away" from yourself. If you are holding the chainsaw properly, with the blade facing away from you, the blade is designed to run forward, down and around the tip of the guide, and back into the machine along the bottom of the guide. When you press the chainsaw down into a piece of wood, it naturally pulls itself downwards as you run the blade, allowing you to easily control the depth of your cuts and how fast you are cutting. If you attempt to pull the saw against its natural chain progression or cut "away" from yourself, it can kick back and cause bodily harm.

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