Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to Turn a Tree Trunk into a table

I saw this great idea on the Nate Berkus show a few weeks ago, and filed it away in the back of my mind. In the meantime I've been scouring antique stores and flea markets for new endtables for our living room.  Um... lightbulb! Why not dust off that tree trunk idea? It is unique, brings some nature to your room, is unique, and inexpensive! All things that I L.O.V.E. 

But it did take some effort to track down...

After calling several lumberyards I was finally given the number for a local sawmill that carries raw logs. I went there to pick out my custom log yesterday afternoon: 

Imagine a large yard covered with tree logs, with an extensive (and loud!) carving station at one end and a single-wide trailer at another.

Me: "Hello....?"
Them: "Yes?"
Me: "Hi... I talked to Ben this morning about cutting a section of log for a table, and he suggested I come in to take a look." 
Them: "Ok. We don't normally do that sort of thing, but if you already talked to Ben you can talk to him now.  He's just out front on the forklift." 
Me: Concerned look. 
Them: "It's ok, the lift isn't running. It's safe to go talk to him." 
Me: What's a forklift?!!?!?

I was lucky to track down a great guy, Ben, who was willing to go out of his way to show me around and help me accomplish the crazy idea. 

I chose Maple. Ben explained that maple has a great inner design, wouldn't smell up the house, and grew thick enough for a good size table. 

Then he grabbed a .... something or other machine.... to pick out the log we chose.  

He suggested this log because it has a very unique, architectural design at the base.  I had expected getting something smaller, but I love the base design on this log so much!

Ben cut my log to the desired 19" with a chainsaw
He suggested cutting an extra inch so that there would be enough room to sand down any rough edges later. I thought that was a great point! 

My log!

I asked him how much it would be and he shrugged and said... "How 'bout $10?" 

This thing was massive! My husband guesses it weighs about 300 lbs., and it wouldn't fit in my trunk! So Ben and another employee carried it to my front seat, then suggested I fill up that tire with air to compensate :) 
I laid a protective hand over this log while driving, as if it was a precious child! 

At home, husband and I rolled the log out of my car and into our house. I put down a rug pad I'd bought, and then decorated it!
After a month or so the trunk, now green, will dry out and crack.  The bark will fall off, and we'll buff it up,  add polish, and a glass top to make it really beautiful.  For now it works as-is!

Husband grumbled a little bit at the strain of putting it up, and cracked some jokes about having a log in the house, but quieted up and applauded my genius after seeing online that log tables can sell for up to $1200 to $1600! 

Go Suz!

*UPDATE* My husband called me from work this morning just after I woke up.  His ringtone is a motorcycle humming, and at that moment I couldn't figure out what the noise was! I was actually thinking an electronic was broken, or someone was in our house. I laughed about it to him, and he suggested, "Maybe someone was in to cut down our log!" Har-de-har-har. 


  1. What a great table! It looks fabulous!

  2. Unusual and unique table. Great work. Visiting from BEYOND THE PICKET FENCE.

  3. $1200! No way!

    It looks great - good job!!

  4. That was the best story! I love it. We have end tables in our house that are carved logs. Carved with a chain saw! I know for certain they cost more than 10 bucks. =^)

    Jo @ Smilemonsters

  5. This is amazing! What a creative idea! Looks fabulous : )

  6. Love the storytelling. We actually have few drying right now that my husband cut down for me. Not quite as wide as yours though, that is beautiful. My husband did give me a strange look when I asked them, but he recovered quickly because he is used to me and my crazy projects at this point.

    Take care,

  7. Hey i'm visiting from Remodelaholic. I love your blog! That table is such a cool idea i love it!

  8. Susannah! Thanks for coming by my blog. I am now following you. I would love if you come on back and follow my bloggy blog as well.

    Love the end tables ;)

  9. This is sooooo very "COOL"!


  10. Wow! That is some serious determination. Looks great!

  11. I just saw these on Nate...what a great deal!

    Thanks for linking up at Creative Juice Thursdays...

  12. Amazing - I've featured you on Craft Gossip here

    If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here!

  13. Going to the woods to look for a table now! What a great story!

  14. Where did you get your chair? I love it!!!!!!