Log Coasters Made With Just Two Tools


Still looking for that perfect gift? [Joel Witwer] shows us how to make a log coaster set and holder on the cheap. He figures he spent just $5 on the project and from what we can tell that all went to some polyurethane which he used to finish the wood pieces.

It started with an interesting-looking and appropriately sized log which he found on the side of the road. We’re not sure about the ins and outs of drying stock to ensure it won’t crack, but we hope he took that into account. With raw material in hand he headed over to the band saw. The cutting starts by squaring up both ends of the log while cutting it to the final length. He then cut the bottom off of the holder. What was left was set upright so that he could cut the core out of the log. This is the raw material from which each coaster is cut. A spindle sander was used to clean up all of the pieces. The last step before applying finish is to glue the bottom and sides of the holder back together.

[Joel] gave some tips in his Reddit thread. He says you should hold on tight while cutting out the slices for coasters because the round stock will want to spin. He also mentions that some of the slices aren’t as flat as they should have been, something to think about if you’re cutting these for yourself.

17 thoughts on “Log Coasters Made With Just Two Tools

    1. It’s important that you protect the wood from moisture getting in. You can use an oil finish which would protect the wood without putting a plastic coating on it, or spray polyurethane which goes on thin and smooth. I think it makes the wood look far better.

  1. A trick we use in the machine shop for using a vertical band-saw with round stock is to turn a portable vice upside-down on the part and clamp it in place. If you are working with a particularly large piece of stock, a bar clamp can be placed on the end to give a “leg” facing rearward to stabilize the stock.

    1. Why not just use a rotary table? Surely your shop has one or two lying around in storage.

      Being a not-so-professional craftsman, at home I use prodigious amounts of tack nails, scrap wood, and clamps. To rotate something in place just clamp two pieces of scrap down at a decently wide angle, keep the workpiece in contact with both bits of scrap and rotate in place. The cut will be as round as the workpiece is.

  2. The “ideal” wood moisture content for most lumber is 6-8% which can be measured with a wood moisture meter. This is typically the moisture content for kiln dried wood. Anything much higher is considered an outdoor use wood. For anyone considering drying their own greenwood on the cheap look up solar kilns.

    1. Perhaps this is just the Means to acquire a hack… and not a hack itself.

      After the apocalypse (zombie or otherwise) there will be some bright minds which toss together helicopters, game consoles, and robot servants out of the debris left over from the former society. On that day the only acceptable currency will be wooden coasters, so the new civilization will be separated into the “Haves” and the “Have not… seen this wood-coaster hack-a-day post”. I, for one, would hate to do without an armored convoy truck just because I didn’t have a hefty pile of wooden coasters to buy it with.

    2. “Where’s the hack? This appears to be typical wood working”

      I think you’ll find that bodging and hacking are very close relatives.
      Bodging being traditional wood turning/working features many attributes that we’d consider appropriate in hacking. The word is even used out of its original context to mean “hack”.
      I have my froe work, shaving horse and other woodworking stuff under the project folder “hacks” even.

      It isn’t that bad to be confronted with a bit of hacking history now and then.

  3. Around here, we have lots of cherry. It is often really gorgeous, where you’re just trying to think of ways to show it off. Btw, Sherlock Holmes smoked a cherry pipe, at times. So there is always that very singular fact.

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