*** This tutorial linked to the Cricut Design Star Contest. The project girl is a top 5 finalist. Check the room out and vote for her here ***
Hi, It’s me, Mr Project again, hot on the heels of my last post, bringing you another AMAZING tutorial. Okay, not a tutorial per-se, but rather a glimpse into the fun I had making some log slice wall art for my wonderful wife, The Project Girl.
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When we set out to do the lumberjack room I knew I’d be signing up for a few unique woodworking projects. If you haven’t yet, check out my walkthrough on how I went about building the lumberjack bunk beds. I even threw in some free plans and tips on how to build something similar.
Step 1 – Plan of attack
Logs are funny things. They’re usually pretty round, heavy and unwieldy and I had no idea how on earth I was going to get some logs and how I was going to cut them after I got them. We were looking for something around 16-24 inches in diameter that we could cut into slices or “cookies” as they’re sometimes called in woodworking. A friend of mine recently renovated their home inside and out, and fortunately, I was able to bum a few logs off him, with the condition that I make something for him. The logs I got are about 22 inches in diameter, so I’d need to get a chainsaw big enough to handle slicing through those beauties.
Step 2 – Procure Chainsaw
I then made a few phone calls and borrowed a monster chainsaw with a long enough bar on the front that could slice through those logs. Okay, it’s a monster to me, because chainsaws are, well, terrifying at first until you get the hang of it, and cut your face off. I kid.
Always wear face/eye/ear protection!
Step 3 – Cut Logs
Maneuvering and cutting the logs was fun. Fortunately, when we were building the canyon view house, I built a dolly to move the massive cabinets for our kitchen as I was building them. I used that to flop down the heavy logs and haul them on to the driveway where I’d do all my cutting. The project girl wanted slices that were about 2 inches thick, so after some eyeballing, I measured out and cut three slices to use in our project. Now, here’s the challenging part, cutting a log is somewhat easy, but flattening the slice of wood took a little craftiness.
Step 4 – Flatten Cookies
Using a router and a GIANT router bit called a surface planing bit (You can find one here on Amazon and if you click this link, you’ll be supporting more projects by The Project Girl!), I flattened out the cookies one by one.
What you see in the photo is what’s called a router sled. The idea is simple, and you can find out more of the technical side of how to make one here. Basically it’s a carriage and guides that allow you to slide a router back and forth over a piece of wood on a parallel plane, so that the bit flattens the side of wood you’re working with, This is SUPER useful when you’re working with big or awkwardly shaped pieces of lumber.
Step 5 – Bake
After cutting and surfacing the cookies, it was time to bake them. burning the wood with fire makes the grain show up improving the look of the slice. I’ve always been intrigued by Japanese wood burning as a finishing technique, so I decided to give it a try…. Kind of. I don’t have pics of me doing this because it was hella hot and noisy as I was using a roofing torch (You can find them online here). I placed the cookie on something non flammable and torched it so that the front was semi-burned. It’s pretty quick if you’re using a roofing torch, but be careful. it is crazy hot and a little nerve racking to light. You’ll also need a propane tank to get the party started if you decide to burn your wood.
You could use a smaller butane torch, like I did for the edges, but on the front flat surface, it’s better to have a big flame to cover a larger area so that things don’t end up too splotchy.
Step 6 – Finish
I finished the cookies in the same way I finished the bunkbeds (see post for products and technique). After the finish dried, I was a little concerned about stabilizing the cookie, so I glued a piece of MDF I cut out to match the shape of the log on the back, so that even if it did split, It would stay together. I use this awesome Pro 200 Glue Gun from Adtech for all my projects and it was perfect for applying industrial strength hot glue to the back of the log.
Step 7 – Apply graphics and Hang Cookie
Next, I installed a small keyhole plate for hanging. You can find one here through this amazon link. To install it, I needed to drill a small hole and just screw in the plate. If you want the log flush on the wall, you could route a recess for the plate in the back of the wood like I did and mount that way. A little more technically challenging, but will get you flush on the wall.
With all that done, Jen completed the artwork and cut it out on the Cricut Explore. I don’t have a picture or video of it cutting, but here’s a shot of the file that The Project Girl created to be cut. She cut it out of regular Cricut white vinyl, and then applied it usingCricut Transfer Tape.
It really all came together and it fits in the room perfectly!
If you like the project, vote for The Project Girl by clicking this link. It only takes a few seconds!