Show off your chainsaw skills with this DIY log chair!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before you can get your chainsaw going, you need to take some measurements and make marks with chalk or a pencil to guide your sawing.
Your log chair features a cut-out section at the back of the base. Use a spirit level to make sure your marks are accurate:
A front cutaway at the base gives your log chair a lighter and more elegant look.
Tip: Make sure the guide bar does not touch the floor when you saw the front of the base. You could do this by using something like a wooden pallet to elevate the log or attach the wood to a sawhorse before cutting.
Tip: Use the incoming part of the saw chain – i.e. the underside of the guide bar – to make these rounding cuts. If you use the outgoing chain, there’s a risk of splintering.
You have already made the basic slope of the backrest; add a little curve to it for comfort and a better finish.
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.