How to make a log chair

Show off your chainsaw skills with this DIY log chair!

A finished log chair in front of a pile of tree trunks

Make a log chair: preparation

It takes a little time and patience to produce a rustic chair; if you are experienced at this type of chainsaw work, expect to spend a full day on this project. The good news is that this design is for a solid DIY wood chair that is entirely sawn from a single trunk – so you don’t need any screws, glue or a hammer.

Stacked wood

Choose your chainsaw to make a log chair

Work quickly and efficiently. Even if you are only a hobbyist chainsaw user, STIHL offers a wide range of compact chainsaws suitable for DIY projects. 

Chainsaw tip - The guide bar

Ideally, the guide bar on your chainsaw should be about 10 cm longer than the diameter of the trunk. Then you’ll only need to saw from one side, not both.

A STIHL MS 261 petrol chainsaw with M-Tronic and Quick Chain Tensioning being used on a felled tree in a forest

Make a log chair: selecting your wood

Different varieties of wood are really individual, and as you’re making a piece that should be decorative as well as functional, choose a material that appeals to you. Weather-resistant hardwoods such as oak or robinia are ideal for a particularly rustic look, but softer woods such as pine would also work. Note that coniferous timber may secrete resin.

Tip: use a log from the base of the trunk

Whatever type of wood you opt for, we recommend that you use a piece from the lower trunk with the root collar intact; this will mean the log is slightly wider towards the bottom, which will make your chair more stable.

Tip: debarked log or au naturel?

You can use a log with or without bark to make your chair. If you prefer the look with bark, choose a freshly felled tree to ensure that the bark is still firmly attached.

Freshly felled wood is not ready for use immediately and should be dried before you start working with it. The drier the wood, the better for DIY projects, as it means a lower risk of cracks forming later. Wood can be stored for several years to dry, or, for a faster process, you can ask a carpenter to dry it in a drying chamber. Be aware: wood is a natural material, and the bark may come away from the trunk during the drying process. You should also consider that it’s not always easy to make marks on bark.

Committed to your safety: protective equipment

Using powerful tools in your DIY is fun and means you can expand your abilities, which is great as long as you have effective and safe protective clothing while using them. Always wear personal protective equipment when working with your chainsaw. This includes a helmet, cut protection trousers, safety boots, and more. The instruction manual for your product contains more details on this. Fully familiarise yourself with the tool before you use your chainsaw for the first time, and check it's in flawless condition before each use. On request, your STIHL dealer will be happy to prepare your tool for its first use, and will also advise you on models and sizes of protective clothing that you can try at your leisure. Please remember that personal protective equipment is no substitute for safe working techniques.

Tools and materials you need to make a log chair


  • dried section of tree trunk
  • around 30 to 40cm in diameter
  • 70 to 100cm long


  • STIHL chainsaw
  • Spirit level
  • Folding ruler/measuring tape
  • Angle grinder
  • Chalk
  • Debarking iron
  • Personal protective equipment
Illustration: STIHL chainsaw, log, saw block, folding rule, angle grinder, tension belt, spirit level

Make a log chair: getting started

Once all the materials are in place, you can start to make your rustic log chair. Make sure your work area is safe, and you have enough room to avoid tripping and other hazards.

How to sand solid wood

It’s essential to use the right sandpaper: high-quality sandpaper feels sharp to the touch and retains its grit when you scratch it with your fingernails. Reddish-brown sandpaper, which contains aluminium oxide, is the best choice for sanding wood. Avoid using flint, emery or quartz paper on wood because they wear out quickly.

Sandpaper at 80 to 120 grit is fine for first sanding to smooth roughness on your log chair. You should follow up with 180 to 240-grit sandpaper for the final sanding. Make sure you always sand along the grain.

Summary: how to make a log chair

  • Find a suitable log and remove the bark if you wish to.
  • Use a chainsaw with a sufficiently long guide bar.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment when working with your chainsaw. For more details, see the instruction manual for your product.
  • Use a spirit level and ruler to help you make markings on the wood.
  • Prop your log on a wooden support when making long downward cuts, to avoid hitting the ground and damaging your chainsaw.
  • Use aluminium oxide sandpaper to sand the chair.
  • Finally, treat your log chair with hardwax oil.