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Help me build a Log Bench

Old 05-13-2019, 05:42 PM
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Default Help me build a Log Bench

Found a nice 5ft piece of Red Oak washed up in front of my house. Once I knocked the raccoon off, I pulled it up in the yard with the tractor. I took the chainsaw and split it!! This is my extent as a wood craftsman.
Now what? I do have belt sanders, routers, sawzall, etc. But I am far from being a wood worker. I know this site has a lot of talented guys and would appreciate any help in making a bench to sit out in my yard.

Old 05-13-2019, 05:51 PM
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I would build a slab flattening jig for the router, then sand from there. Get on youtube and you will find a bazillion videos of how to flatten slabs with a router.
Old 05-13-2019, 05:52 PM
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Plenty of possibilities there. How wide is it? How old is it?

I would start trying to flatten it (removing high spots)
Then let it dry out so that it will not twist and torque into something impossible to work with.

I've seen some Pinterest features that turn a log like that into a fabulous bench, but it's got to start flat and ready - aged and dried.
Old 05-13-2019, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CORALREEFER View Post
Found a nice 5ft piece of Red Oak washed up in front of my house. Once I knocked the raccoon off, I pulled it up in the yard with the tractor. I took the chainsaw and split it!! This is my extent as a wood craftsman.
Now what? I do have belt sanders, routers, sawzall, etc. But I am far from being a wood worker. I know this site has a lot of talented guys and would appreciate any help in making a bench to sit out in my yard.

Best post of the day.
Old 05-13-2019, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by savage View Post
Plenty of possibilities there. How wide is it? How old is it?

I would start trying to flatten it (removing high spots)
Then let it dry out so that it will not twist and torque into something impossible to work with.

I've seen some Pinterest features that turn a log like that into a fabulous bench, but it's got to start flat and ready - aged and dried.
I would say it is only been floating a year or two. Dimensions are 5ft long and about 18in is diameter.
Old 05-14-2019, 04:58 AM
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Let it dry in a covered, shaded area with good air circulation for a year or two before you do anything. It's going to move, twist, split and check for a while as it drys before it gets stabilized and acclimated. Any finishing work you do now will be lost. If you can find someone with a kiln, that will speed up the process a bit. If you want it left rough and don't care about checks, warp, twist, cup, etc. Then get yourself a log mortice/tenon set with a good auger drill and put some legs on it and start using it. Leave the legs a hair long and trim them down to make up for movement over time.
Old 05-14-2019, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by CORALREEFER View Post
Found a nice 5ft piece of Red Oak washed up in front of my house. Once I knocked the raccoon off, I pulled it up in the yard with the tractor. I took the chainsaw and split it!! This is my extent as a wood craftsman.
Now what? I do have belt sanders, routers, sawzall, etc. But I am far from being a wood worker. I know this site has a lot of talented guys and would appreciate any help in making a bench to sit out in my yard.
roll over the slabs and make a similar pass on the other side. Make the second cut not as wide as the first. Use the second cut as the connection between the slabs. Use rebar to hold the pieces together.
Old 05-14-2019, 05:48 AM
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Cant believe that raccoon found a log to hang on too. I thought for sure he was done for.
Old 05-14-2019, 06:24 AM
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It should be dried and then run through a planer. Make the legs and the cross bracing out of the other piece. It shouldn't need anything more than biscuits to hold it together. I'm building 3 benches right now for my farm house table (6' by 7" table) but I started with rough cut white oak, full 2X6.
Old 05-14-2019, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mikefloyd View Post
It should be dried and then run through a planer. Make the legs and the cross bracing out of the other piece. It shouldn't need anything more than biscuits to hold it together. I'm building 3 benches right now for my farm house table (6' by 7" table) but I started with rough cut white oak, full 2X6.
Thanks guys. just curious Mike, how long did you let yours dry out for?
Old 05-14-2019, 07:49 AM
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Made this one after a cedar fell in the last hurricane. Not fancy and still has chainsaw marks but it has served us well. ............................

Old 05-14-2019, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by CORALREEFER View Post
Thanks guys. just curious Mike, how long did you let yours dry out for?
I bought it dry and had it milled to the size I needed then it sat kiln stacked in the garage for 8 months before using it.
Old 05-14-2019, 08:06 AM
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1blueheron's Post is spot on target..IF you want to make it look as good as you can. If not, start the process now and live with what the drying process gives you!

Like mentioned....lots of good you-tube videos that will walk you through any process you desire.

Best of luck.
Old 05-14-2019, 08:08 AM
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Something to keep in mind, Oak in general will splinter as it ages and is exposed to the weather....that's why you don't see oak outdoor furniture.
Personally I'd use it for firewood now that you've ripped it down the hearth.
Old 05-14-2019, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 1blueheron View Post
Let it dry in a covered, shaded area with good air circulation for a year or two before you do anything. It's going to move, twist, split and check for a while as it drys before it gets stabilized and acclimated. Any finishing work you do now will be lost. If you can find someone with a kiln, that will speed up the process a bit. If you want it left rough and don't care about checks, warp, twist, cup, etc. Then get yourself a log mortice/tenon set with a good auger drill and put some legs on it and start using it. Leave the legs a hair long and trim them down to make up for movement over time.
Yes but understand, what movement occurs is being held by all that mass so the movement it makes is limited. Cut that mass down to halves or planks and the movement will start all over again and it will be greater than the wood in the log form. And judging by the grain structure of that dissected log it will have plenty of movement in that wood.

Now that it's cut in half, even if you kiln dry it (or air dry it) once you resurface the exposed faces of the log the log will have less mass again and therefore more movement again. Remember, it's the mass that is holding it stable. Reducing the mass to any degree will only allow the wood to do as it was grown to do. And that section of log was not grown to be true nor straight.....therefore firewood. IMHO

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