Cedar Log Coffee Table
Often the inspiration behind my projects is the piece of wood, but in this case my inspiration was the process, and I decided to record the first half of it to show to others.
It began when a close acquaintance from the Gulf Islands contacted me to tell me about a cedar they had downed the previous year. The piece was fairly accessible, but presented a few challenges. Cutting the section I wanted to use was necessary to free it to a workable area. I had to be careful not to injure myself manipulating the 300+ pound piece of wood. After rolling it away to a clear spot, I managed to lift the piece upright in order to have a proper look at it. A quick inspection revealed that there was some rot that would need to be cut away. This helped determine how I would shape the table this log would eventually become.
An initial cut removing a knot allowed us to position a board properly for the alaskan mill (an attachment that fits on a chainsaw and acts as a guide for the saw, allowing a person to make a level cut at a constant depth). The mill cut revealed a beautiful straight grain with a few character areas, ideal for a tabletop. Now that we had roughed out the shape, we flipped the piece over to cut out some of the wood in order to make it lighter. The piece then spent time in my kiln, and then later in my shop being sanded down and oiled. The end result is a piece that combines the natural, organic lines of the material, contrasted with the straight lines that reveal the wood’s inner beauty.