How to Construct Half-Log Stairs

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Half-log stairs make an attractive natural building material for a hillside path. The half-log stairs provide safe footing on a natural trail or footpath. Whether it is for a garden path or a hiking trail in your backyard, this project will create a safe way to navigate your natural surroundings. While you could use any logs you have available, cedar is best because it is naturally resistant to rot and insects. You can often find cedar logs from area loggers, tree companies or utility companies who clear lines.

Things You'll Need

  • Cedar logs, 16- to 18-inch diameter
  • Tape measure
  • Lumber crayon
  • Chain saw
  • Splitting wedge
  • Sledgehammer
  • Drill
  • 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Landscaping spray paint
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Metal rebar lengths, 18 inches long
  • Measure the cedar logs and mark them every 32 inches with a tape measure and lumber crayon.

  • Cut the logs into 32-inch lengths, using a chain saw. Each 32-inch log will yield two half-log steps.

  • Stand the 32-inch log lengths on end so that one end is facing up. Place a splitting wedge in the center of each log end and strike it with a sledge hammer until it splits the log in half.

  • Drill a 1/2-inch-diameter hole 3 inches from the ends of each log-half, from the cut side through the rounded side, using a drill equipped with a 1/2-inch drill bit.

  • Position the split half-logs along the pathway up the incline, with the rounded side down. Space the logs close enough together so that they can be easily navigated. Mark the location of each half-log on the ground on the incline with landscaping spray paint. Set the half-logs to one side of the spray-painted outlines.

  • Dig out the spray-painted outlines to half the depth of the half-log, using a shovel. Line the bottom inch of the dug-out areas with a 1- to 2-inch layer of gravel.

  • Lay the half-logs back into place along the incline. Place the rounded sides firmly into the gravel. Drive metal rebar through the holes in the ends of the half-logs into the ground, using the sledgehammer. The rebar holds the half-logs in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add a handrail to the sides of the incline path for added safety.
  • Wear eye protection when constructing half-log stairs.

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