Woodworking: Cedar Coasters


This is an fall afternoon favorite of mine: cedar coasters. I’m lucky to have a few downed trees of eastern cedar on family property, so I’ve cut a few dozen of them for friends and family. They make great gifts, and they’re a piece of cake to make.


  • Saw (chop saw,  hand saw, etc)
  • Sandpaper or Sander
  • Finish of your choice: Danish Oil, Polyurethane, or Shellac (I prefer Danish Oil)
  • Cedar log (find one as wide in diameter as you’d like your coasters to be)


  1. Chop or saw your cedar log into discs that are 1.5 – 3 inches thick. Too thick, and they’ll be more like doorstops, too thin, and they won’t hold together.
  2. Sand all sides of the coasters, removing the “hairs” off the side of the tree and exterior bark. I like to keep a few threads of bark for character, and that classic cedar smell.
  3. Use a course grit sandpaper first, then a finer sandpaper to smooth the finish.
  4. Wet the wood with a wet/damp rag, to clean the coasters of any and all dust. Wipe it dry.
  5. Cover the coasters in a light coat of your preferred finish if you’ll use them in humid places like the outdoors often. Or, optionally, you can leave them raw and enjoy the maximum intoxicating aroma cedar can offer.
  6. Let em’ dry (if you used a finish).
  7. Done! Wrap a pair with some twine and give to some friends.




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