This easy weekend DIY project makes great use
of leftover lumber after your log cabin is built

If you’ve had a log cabin built for you recently, you probably have a pile of log pieces left over from construction. Most often, the pieces result from cutting the window and door openings. Don’t burn those logs; turn them into outdoor furniture! We show you how to make a rustic DIY log bench in just a couple hours during a weekend at the cabin.

You’ll need the following materials for this project:

  • For the bench seat and backrest, you need two log flats, either
  • 1/2-log thick or 1/3-log thick, about 4 1/2-feet long. You can adjust the length to fit the materials you have. “Flats” are logs that are round on one side and flat on the other side. If you only have full logs, you can cut them into flats using a chain saw or have your log contractor cut them for you.
  • For the bench base, you need four pieces (two for each side) of full logs, about 2-feet long. If you have skinny logs, you may need to stack more than two pieces to get the bench to the desired height.
  • 12 to 14 metal landscaping spikes or barn nails.
  • Eight 4-inch deck screws.
  • A small log or log flat cut to about 4 inches wide to mount the backrest.

Step-by-step:

1. Level the ground where you plan to place the bench. The bench will be heavy when finished so it’s best to build it in place!

2. If necessary, sand the flat surfaces of the bench seat and backrest. You can omit this step if they’re already reasonably smooth.

3. Stack the full log pieces to form two bench bases.

4. Nail the log pieces together using landscaping spikes or barn nails. Use two or three nails per base, driving the nails through the top log into the bottom log.

5. Using a chainsaw or wood chisel, cut a half-moon shape into the top of each bench base to provide a saddle for the bench seat.
6. Nail two landscaping spikes or barn nails a few inches from each edge of the bench seat into the top of the bench base on each side.

7. Nail the backrest support logs to the end of each bench base using two nails on each side.

8. Screw the backrest to the backrest support logs using three or four screws per side.

9. Optionally, stain or finish the bench.

When he isn’t crafting outdoor furniture out of logs, author Mike Portugue likes to boat, fish and waterski with his wife, Kristi, and three Portuguese water dogs at their cabin.

Photo by Mark R. Johnson / Illustrations by Jay Smith.