How to Properly Treat Wood for Your Log Furniture Project

A picnic table and chairs made from logs.
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Cut and trimmed logs
Fine-grit sandpaper
Tack cloth
Wood conditioner
Foam brushes
Wood stain
Spar varnish
Eye protection
Dust mask or respirator
Adequate ventilation

If you are attempting to create a rustic getaway on your property then consider making log furniture. This style is very picturesque and beautiful, and you can build virtually anything out of felled and stripped lumber. Log furniture can last for many years as long as the wood is properly maintained and treated correctly from the start. The following article will show you how to correctly treat the wood before you start on your next project.

Step 1 - Prepare the Wood

Raw pieces of logs are brilliant as they are, but in order to be treated for log furniture, they have to be properly prepared. Unfinished pieces for log furniture usually will be very roughly cut with the bark still remaining on the cut ends. Though there is nothing wrong with the wood, it is not ready to be used. The surface will have burrs, pits, and numerous other imperfections that can cause the finished product to come out poorly.

Place a drop cloth beneath your work area to protect the floor. Use sandpaper smooth the bare logs, wipe them with terrycloth, and then use a tack cloth to remove any dust still present. Apply wood conditioner to the log afterward and let it soak into the wood for at least two hours. The conditioner will bring out any burrs that still remain on the log, which you can then sand down.

Step 2 - Add Stain

Wood stain

In order to get a great stain on the wood, you will need to work methodically. Dip a foam brush into the stain, and apply it to the log in a smooth and even motion. As you paint the stain, try to not overlap your previous lines. Another way to apply stain is to apply it generously by rubbing it into the wood with a rag and then wiping it off. Whichever technique you choose will give a beautifully stained log.

Allow the log to dry overnight, then sand it again. Clean the dust with the terrycloth followed by the tack cloth again. Add another coat of stain and allow it to dry overnight. Follow this up with a coat of spar varnish, and allow the log to set overnight once again.

Step 3 - Seal the Log

At this point, the log is well-treated for use in your log furniture project. It is, however, not very suited to spend long periods of time outside in the elements. In order to make your piece withstand the test of time, it not only has to be treated but sealed. A coat or two of polyurethane will accomplish this for you. Make sure you're working in a well-ventilated area when you apply the polyurethane to the log using a foam brush. Work quickly but be mindful of drips and streaks in the finish. Finally, allow the polyurethane to dry a day or more.