Furniture made from thick slabs of wood is all the rage. There is something about the wavy natural edges once covered with bark, or the beautiful grain, or just the massive scale that feels like bringing the soul of the tree into your house.
You might think this type of furniture is out of reach for your skills, and you would be wrong. You can find these big slabs in every region of the U.S. and beyond, and you can get a big industrial woodshop to flatten them for you for less than you probably think. Then you can strip off the bark and crosscut the ends with simple tools, and you apply an amazing finish just as easily.
And best of all, if you aren’t up to building a base for your big slab, there are lots of screw-on legs you can find. That’s how I made the desk you see above, to fit a tight spot in my daughter’s room. That’s another cool thing about building your own stuff: You can make it fit your life in every way.
You can also mount your slab atop a found object, like a piece of industrial machinery. The key is knowing how to get the slab from rough to ready.
It starts with finding a slab to buy. There are lumber dealers that specialize in them, and they’ll usually have a big selection. To save some cash, try asking around your local woodworking club to find people who make things from slabs and might have some extras on hand. They’ll have less to choose from, but will probably be willing to part with one or two to free up some space.
From there, here’s how to turn the raw material into a piece of furniture: