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Drying wood for rustic/log furniture

5449 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Tooch
I'm looking for reference material on building log furniture. A buddy of mine asked me to build him a table for his camp, and I'd like to make it out of pine logs with a slab top. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any decent information on drying logs specifically for use with log furniture.

Sure, I know the general rules of thumb… paint/wax the ends, let it sit for at least 6 months, etc… but am I able to use green lumber? If I peel the bark immediately after cutting down the tree, does it speed up the drying process? are hardwoods acceptable to use like Oak and Maple? Lots of questions, and not a whole lot of USEFUL information out there.

If you've ever built log furniture, can you please share your experience with it?
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What little I have done along these lines, I used eastern hop hornbeam. We have excessive amounts here. Incredibly strong. However, I let it dry for at least one year before using it.
Hi Tooch. I'm building a log and slab table in Az next year, but the mesquite wood I'm using has dried a year and I'll cut off any cracked ends. But if you're going with green wood, it will move in the drying process and probably crack in some areas. For the slab, cut it oversize in length and let it dry as long as you can and cut off any checking/cracking on the ends. It may warp in the process so leave enough to flatten the top surface. Cracking in the legs gives it character.

If you have time, coat the ends with anchor seal to minimize the checking/cracking. I don't know if removing the bark would be an advantage. On green wood it will be a tough job too.

My 2 cents worth…................Jim
I don't build log furniture, but I have worked with green wood quite a lot for post-and-rung chairs.

I don't think the joinery will hold if you use green logs. This type of work is usually done with round tenons, either shaped by hand or more often with a round tenon cutter. The tenon will shrink in all directions (ie the circle will get smaller), but the round mortise it goes into will only shrink in one direction (ie become oval), leaving the hole too big in the other direction for the now shrunken tenons.
thanks for the info, guys. Ill just have to tell him he's gotta wait a while unless I can find some fallen trees !
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