Build a Birch-Log Coffee Table

Love the natural look? Get outdoorsy style for way less than catalog prices.

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We're seeing tons of nouveau-rustic furniture in trendy catalogs and shops right now—it's one of the hottest looks on the furniture runway. But hello, sticker-shock. We knew there had to be a cheaper way to score this designer style. Turns out a few basic tools and materials are all you need to get the look for way less than designer price tags, and in just a weekend. We'll show you how.

Must-See DIY Coffee Tables

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Why Birch?

We love the look of birch. It's smooth, light in tone and texture, and easy to handle. For this project, we used 34 birch logs, each about 3–4 inches in diameter. You can use a miter saw to cut birch logs to size, or you can pay a nominal fee at a lumber store to have the logs cut for you.

Here are a few online suppliers of unfinished birch:

estonianforest.com
birchgifts.com
firewood.com
wilsonevergreens.com

The best thing about using birch? The trees grow and replenish themselves quickly, so you don't have to worry about harming the environment to make your chic table.

What You Need

  • 4x8-foot sheet birch plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws
  • Cordless drill
  • Birch logs cut 18 inches long
  • Miter saw
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Putty knife
  • 4-inch casters
  • Clear polyurethane

Step 1: Build the Base

Cut the plywood base to 33x24 inches, then build a plywood box measuring 27x18x16 inches by cutting two 27x16-inch and two 18x16-inch pieces for sides and one 27x18-inch piece for the top. Glue the box sides together, then screw. Center the box on the wood base, screwing through the box and into the base to secure.

Step 2: Attach the Logs

Cut logs to 18 inches using a miter saw. We used 34 3-1/2-inch logs, but you can adjust the quantity based on the diameter of your logs. Bead wood glue along one side and on the bottom of each log. Secure the logs to the wood base and box as shown. For extra strength, screw through the wood box into each log.

Step 3: Close the Top

Top the box with the 27x18-inch piece of plywood you cut in Step 1. Screw the top to the box to secure it.

Step 4: Add Accents

Cut 1-inch birch rounds using a miter saw. We cut 40 for this project. Use wood glue to secure each round to the box top, aligning in rows as you glue.

Step 5: Grout Work

Spread grout over the logs with a grout float, smoothing between the edges of the logs. Wipe off extra grout with the float. Use a putty knife to scrape off grout to your desired appearance. Allow the grout to dry before continuing to the next step.

Step 6: Finish with Wheels

Attach casters to the base of the table with screws. Position the casters 1 inch from the edges of the table. Finish by applying a coat of clear polyurethane to the wood.

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