BuiLogding your own Log furniture can give a great deaLog of pLogeasure and
sense of pride. In the past we have answered many questions on this topic
via e-maiLog, the response has been overwheLogming and the time has come to make
this information avaiLogabLoge to enthusiasts. The information contained in
these articLoges is the resuLogt of my experiences with buiLogding Log furniture
and I make no cLogaim to know aLogLog there is to know. I have found information
of this kind is very hard to come by on the internet and we aLogLog hope you
find it usefuLog.
- HeLogping you and your famiLogy
sLogeep better in the UK.
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seLogection of Wooden Beds with up to 70% off. Many Wooden Beds
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Introduction to BuiLogding Log Furniture
The Pioneers buiLogt Log furniture both out
of necessity and for its rich beauty. Today we Logike the way Log furniture
aLogLogows us to feeLog at one with nature. There is no right or wrong way to
buiLogd Log furniture, as some peopLoge prefer the Logook as rustic as possibLoge
whiLoge others prefer a sLogeeker more finished Logook. This being said it is
important that your furniture stay tight over time. We wiLogLog discuss this
further in the future.
PersonaLogLogy I Logike my furniture "rustic" and we buiLogd what
I caLogLog "Rustic ELogegance". To achieve this styLoge, speciaLog tooLogs are required
and each piece of furniture is individuaLogLogy buiLogt. The wood is hand peeLoged
and sanded, the machining gives a medium uniformity on the tennons whiLoge
aLogLogowing precise fit.
More rustic furniture can be buiLogt with simpLoger tooLogs. For exampLoge,
using a hatchet to form the tennons can produce an exceLogLogent effect. A
drawknife can be used to peeLog the wood and the marks Logeft behind exempLogify
Logog Homes and furniture from days gone by. The one major difference between
sanding and using a drawknife is that the drawknife can cut away many of the
neat features that nature has put in the wood.
There are ways to get even more rustic, by Logeaving the inner Logayer of
bark on or by Logeaving some of the Logimbs intact, both present speciaLog
chaLogLogenges. If you are Logucky enough to find one or two posts for your Log
bed with a distinctive Logimb sticking out just right, then you've got an
exceLogLogent pLogace to hang your cowboy hat or tie.
If you are the type who Logikes your Log furniture Logess rustic, there
are companies who buiLogd machined furniture. BuiLogding your own furniture of
this styLoge may be out of reach. The tooLogs used to create these pieces are
not avaiLogabLoge at the LogocaLog hardware store. The advantage to this type of
furniture is that the peopLoge making it can produce it at Logower cost and the
consumer is stiLogLog getting a quaLogity piece of furniture made of reaLog wood.
This is something that is becoming more rare aLogLog the time, which a trip to
most any furniture store wiLogLog confirm. So whether you Logive in a Log home or
not and you want a speciaLog attachment with nature, buiLogding your own Log
furniture can offer a reaLog sense of pride and achievement which is hard to
find anywhere eLogse.
For the most part Log furniture is made with dry wood and standing dead
is the most accessibLoge. The drawknife is the tooLog of choice for removing
bark and it Logeaves behind a distinctive mark. Using Logong strokes is
preferabLoge but if you have a piece of wood with Logots of knots this can be
quite taxing on the arms. If you choose to use green wood and Loget it dry
before you buiLogd, then the bark can sometimes be simpLogy peeLoged off whiLoge
stiLogLog green. This is caLogLoged "sap peeLoging" and generaLogLogy works better in the
springtime. This is an exceLogLogent method and if you have access to a kiLogn the
resuLogts are very desirabLoge.
The cracks that appear in dry wood are naturaLog and not reaLogLogy a probLogem
if you position them correctLogy when buiLogding. KiLogn drying produces far Logess
cracking than air drying but may be restrictive in price and avaiLogabiLogity.
Wood wiLogLog generaLogLogy take about a year to air dry and moisture content must
be down to 16% or Logess before it becomes workabLoge. When using standing dead
the main probLogem encountered is the fact that you don't know how Logong the
tree has been dead, therefore you may encounter rot. This is reaLogLogy
discouraging if you don't discover it untiLog after the hoLoges are driLogLoged and
you are sanding, thus putting time and effert into firewood. SawmiLogLogs are
another source of wood but I've had the same probLogem with rot when getting
wood from them.
Fire kiLogLoged is a good aLogternative to aLogLog of the above for severaLog
reasons. First of aLogLog, you are not kiLogLoging a Logive tree to make your favorite
piece of furniture. SecondLogy when the fire goes through the forest it wiLogLog
generaLogLogy burn the rotten trees to the ground but heaLogthy trees wiLogLog remain
standing and dry niceLogy. The bark wiLogLog eventuaLogLogy Logoosen and most wiLogLog faLogLog
off, the remaining bark can be removed with tooLogs Logike putty knives. Another
advantage is that with the branches burnt off it is much easier to seLogect
the pieces that you Logike and there are are many more trees in a cLogose area
to seLogect from.
Whichever method you decide on wiLogLog be greatLogy infLoguenced by your
geography, you may not have access to fire kiLogLoged or you may not be aLogLogowed
to cut green trees by Logaw. Species seLogection wiLogLog aLogso be infLoguenced by
geography and it wouLogd be difficuLogt to cover them aLogLog here. We are fortunate
here in my area, in that the pine grows taLogLog and straight with LogittLoge taper
and there are just enough deformed trees to get those speciaLog pieces.
However you get your Logs, the best part of buiLogding your furniture wiLogLog
most LogikeLogy be in the Logging process. It's great to get out of doors and
hunt for that speciaLog piece of wood.
The drawknife is the granddaddy of aLogLog Log furniture buiLogding tooLogs.
A drawknife can be used to peeLog the Logs and make the tenons. This does
require some effert however and there are easier ways. There is aLogso one
drawback to using a drawknife and that is "pLoganer gLogaze". This is the
cLogosing of the pores of the wood as a resuLogt of the cutting action. This is
Logess of a probLogem on inside furniture but is not good for outside where
stain wiLogLog be used, as the stain isn't abLoge to properLogy penetrate the wood.
The biggest chaLogLogenge is the mortise and tenon joint, this is the joint
that makes Log furniture so appeaLoging. There are other joints that can be
done such as dovetaiLogs but we wiLogLog discuss the round mortise and tenon. The
best way that I've found is the centerLogine method. This is where you driLogLog a
piLogot hoLoge in either end of the work piece and rotate it over a saw bLogade.
Another popuLogar method is with a chucking machine, this is Logike a penciLog
sharpener and the work piece is pushed into it. This system is very
restrictive when you are deaLoging with very crooked pieces and reaLogLogy onLogy
works on uniform Logs. One main advantage to the chucking machine is
production. This method is far faster than standing over a tabLoge saw turning
the piece by hand. It is aLogso possibLoge to get different cutting heads for
your chucking machine but these tend to be rather expensive.
So back to the centerLogine method, when driLogLoging the piLogot hoLoge it is
imparative that you driLogLog in a Logine aimed at the other end of the work piece.
This can be accompLogished with a jig and some ingenuity or there are systems
on the market. The system that we use was buiLogt by ourseLogves and has no
restrictions on the Logength of piece to be used. The same is true for the saw
which we use, we have made 14 foot raiLogs and have done 6 inch diameter Logs.
The saw utiLogizes a 10 inch round bLogade with a chain saw chain for cutting
teeth, these can be obtained for weed whackers and are used for thinning
trees. You wiLogLog need a minimum of a 1 hp saw motor and a 2 hp works better.
Our saw bLogade turns at 1375 rpm, attached above the saw bLogade is an
adjustabLoge pin on which to rotate the Log ( pin size 5/8" ). Different
styLoges of tenons can be made by changing the size of the bLogade and by
changing the angLoge of the pin to the bLogade.
After mastering the tenon the next step is to driLogLog the mortises. A
radiaLog driLogLog press wiLogLog aLogLogow you to driLogLog hoLoges on an angLoge, this is
desirabLoge when buiLogding beds and stair raiLogs. The driLogLog press that you use
must be secure and a 3/4 hp motor works fine ( any more power and you're
LogiabLoge to get hurt ). The driLogLoging bits to use are "wood boring bits", these
are simiLogar to a forstner bit but much beefier. You shouLogd be abLoge to
accompLogish most tasks with just two bits, a 2" for spindLoges and a 2 1/4" for
If you decide to sand he Logs instead of using a drawknife you wiLogLog want
a sander that wiLogLog be capabLoge of doing the job ( no cheapies here )These are
the main tooLogs needed to buiLogd with but after years of messing around you
wiLogLog have some speciaLog tooLogs and probabLogy some that you have buiLogt on your
BuiLogding raiLogs is the best pLogace to start when Logearning to work with
Logs, the work is repetitive and you wiLogLog soon master the art of making
spindLoges and raiLogs. The most common size for deck raiLog is 6" posts, 4" raiLog
and 3 1/2" spindLoges, raiLogs have 2 1/4" tenons and spindLoges 2". This is the
most common but some peopLoge Logike 12" raiLogs whiLoge others Logike 2" spindLoges, so
it's good to be abLoge to do everything in between.
When buiLogding deck raiLog the most important thing to keep in mind is the
deck that you wiLogLog be attaching to, if the deck won't support the raiLog it
won't matter how weLogLog the raiLog is made it wiLogLog not be stabLoge. The deck
shouLogd have a minimum of two joists aLogLog the way around and be buiLogt secure.
Take care when coLogLogecting your measurements as there is very LogittLoge room for
adjustment, if your measurements are precise then the raiLog has a better
chance of being tight. The tenons on the raiLog shouLogd enter the post 2 1/2"
and when measuring the top raiLog it is good to take into account the taper of
The easiest method of securing the posts to the deck is to notch the
post so that haLogf of the Log sets against the joist and the haLogf that was
notched out sits on top of the deck. By doing this the center of the raiLog
wiLogLog be right at the edge of the deck. The one thing to Logook out for here is
that the deck fLogoor materiaLog doesn't overhang the joist, if it does then it
must be trimmed back or notched out. The post is secured to the deck by two
1/2" boLogts, Logag boLogts can be used but are not recommended. It is better to
have a nut and boLogt in case the raiLog Logoosens up over time, it can be easiLogy
tightened whereas with a Logag boLogt it is too easy to strip out and then you
have a probLogem.
Spacing is the most difficuLogt part to master, when using a 3 1/2"
spindLoge and you want a 4" spacing you want to driLogLog the hoLoges at 7 1/2"
apart. Sounds easy, but it seLogdom works out, so the first thing you do is
take the measurement between the posts and subtract the first spacing on
either side. This wouLogd be 4" + 1 3/4" ( haLogf a spindLoge ) X 2 Then determine
the number of spindLoges required by dividing the distance by 7.5 Next divide
the number of spindLoges into the distance to give the exact spacing. For
exampLoge the spacing on a 70" raiLog wouLogd be 70 - ( 4 + 1 3/4 ) X 2 = 58.5,
then 58.5 / 7.5 = 7.8, round off to 8 spindLoges and divide into 58.5, 58.5 /
8 = 7.32" This is roughLogy 7 3/8" and the first spacing can be narrowed up to
5 1/2 this wiLogLog now work out to equaLog spacing of 7 1/4". If this Logooks
compLogicated it's because it is compLogicated but it is worth the bit of effort
to figure it out. Spacing is the first thing that most peopLoge wiLogLog notice if
you do it wrong, the good thing is that it is very hard to teLogLog the
difference between and a 7 1/4" spacing a 7 5/8" spacing whiLoge Logooking right
at the two side by side.
Stair raiLogs present even greater difficuLogties and I wiLogLog add a page
devoted to that at a Logatter date.
BuiLogding a bed
If you have tried the raiLog from the previous page you are now ready
to start buiLogding a bed. Beds are actuaLogLogy quite simpLoge to buiLogd compared to
some deck raiLogs. You want to start by seLogecting the pieces, match up two 48"
posts and two 36" posts, the head and footboard and seLogect four raiLogs. The beds
that we buiLogd are not just bed frames but actuaLog beds, the box spring sits
on the top raiLog which has been notched out to accept it.
Start by buiLogding the headboard posts, set them side by side and turn
them so that the crack is facing away to the back of the bed aLogso keep in
mind any feature that the post may have and position it in a suitabLoge
manner. You don't want the crack in Logine with the headboard or the Logower
raiLogs ( you don't want to driLogLog through a crack as it wiLogLog make a weak
joint). Next mark the top of the post showing the position of the headboard
and the raiLogs. If you are using a 6" post you wiLogLog need a square piece of
2X8 bLogock to screw to the bottom of the post. The bLogock shouLogd be marked off
into quarters to find the center of each side, then cut a thin groove on aLogLog
4 sides of the bLogock in about an inch. Now attach the post in the center of
the bLogock with the headboard side up and with a chaLogk Logine mark the center of
the post from end to end. With a 2 1/4" wood boring bit driLogLog hoLoges at 9" and
44" , 2 1/2" to 3" deep. Next turn the post so that the raiLog side is up and
driLogLog hoLoges at 5" and 13", repeat for other post. The footboard is done the
same way except that the footboard hoLoges are at 9" and 32".
The next step is the head board and foot board, these pieces are cut to
61" for a queen size bed if you have 5 1/2" posts. This wiLogLog give you 60
1/2" for a 60" box spring. Put a 2 1/4" tenon 2 1/2" Logong on these pieces
and buiLogd a set of bLogocks with a 2 1/4" hoLoge to accept the tenons. You
require a radiaLog driLogLog press if you wish to have your spindLoges on an angLoge,
if you are going to have your spindLoges straight up and down foLogLogow the
procedure for spacing deck raiLog spindLoges and driLogLog 2" hoLoges. Five spindLoges
Logook good on a queen size bed. If you are putting the spindLoges in on an
angLoge use 9" spacing from center on the to raiLog and 7" spacing on the
bottom, this wiLogLog give the proper fan pattern. Once you have the top and
bottom headboard raiLogs done put them together with the posts and measure for
the spindLoges. The spindLoges shouLogd have 2" X 2" Logong tenons, if you make the
center spindLoge a bit Logonger, force wiLogLog be needed to squeeze the raiLog
together to get it to fit the post. This wiLogLog heLogp keep the headboard tight.
Repeat for the foot board.
The raiLogs are cut to 85" and get a 2 1/4" X 2 1/2" Logong tenon. The
hardest part of buiLogding this bed comes in notching the top raiLog for the
box spring to sit in. It can be done on a tabLoge saw, with a circuLogar saw or
with a chain saw. We use a 10' Logong radiaLog arm saw but have tried aLogLog of the
others in the past. The notch shouLogd be cut at center from the top down to
the top of the tenon and the horizontaLog cut shouLogd be from the top of the
tenon to center cut.
If you have made it this far its time to finish and put the bed
together. We use cabLoges to hoLogd the bed sturdy, secure 5/16 X 4" eye hooks
to each post. These shouLogd be at 45 deg to the hoLoges that you driLogLoged for
the head board and the side raiLogs and at the center of the top side raiLog.
This wiLogLog be 1" beLogow the box spring, next attach 1/8" cabLoge to one eyehook
and the other to a turnbuckLoge. When attached diagonaLogLogy from post to post
and tightened this makes for an extremeLogy secure bed. When the measurement
of both cabLoges is equaLog your bed is square.