I’ve had my cedar coasters now for almost 4 years and have had plenty of questions on the practicality of them. I’ve updated this, the original article, with some FAQs at the end of the DIY instructions.
DIY Branch Coasters
It was a sad day when the largest, oldest tree on my street was hacked down and unceremoniously chucked into construction waste bins. The 50’ Western Red Cedar still had a lot of good years left, but got in the way of developers’ dollar signs and no amount of reasoning could sway them. Neighbors came to say goodbye, walking through the wreckage, collecting a memento or two; tears were shed. It’s amazing the impact a tree can have and the immensity of the sense of loss for one treated with so little respect.
I collected a few thick branches to turn into sets of coasters that I will pass on to neighbors who remember their kids climbing those same limbs many, many years ago.
The project is simple but it will take some time to cut and sand each piece. The more time you spend getting them right, the nicer the final product will be.
- Straight branches that are no smaller than 3.5” in diameter
- Hand saw
1. Using the saw, cut sections of branches that are ½” thick.
2. Sand each section with heavy grit sandpaper, and then use a finer grit to smooth out the surface. Do not sand the bark on the edges.
3. Coat front, back, and sides with clear varnish and let dry. Untreated wood can also look beautiful as it absorbs the drips and condensation from the glasses that sit on it.
How do you keep them from cracking?
I dried the wood slowly in a cool, dry room before cutting the coasters. A few cracked. I discarded those as I had plenty more to work with.
What varnish/stain did you use?