Beetle Kill Pine Tree Bench

Since 1996 lodge pole pine trees in Colorado have been suffering from an infestation of Japanese pine beetles. Every year the beetles lay eggs in the infected trees, which ultimately kills the tree. In a effort to prevent the spread of the beetles to healthy trees, infected trees are cut down each spring. This project utilizes a downed beetle kill pine tree as the raw material for a bench.

Beetle killed tree that has been laying in our yard for the last three seasons. The bark was only loosely attached to the tree and flaked off when touched.

Close up view of the tree bark. After three seasons on the ground the bark was only loosely attached to the trunk.

Cutting the bench to length from the tree trunk.

Cutting notches in the bottom of the bench.

Bench with completed legs.

Cutting a flat into the top of the tree trunk for comfortable seating.

Bench cut to form, awaiting a long period of drying before applying polyurathane.

The wood was suprisingly wet considering how long it had been laying on the ground. For the next season the bench will be stored inside the house to allow the wood to dry. After the wood has dried the top of the bench will be sanded smooth so that the wood grain is clearly visible. The sides of the bench will be left raw. As a final step polyurethane will be applied to the entire bench to preserve and protect the look of the bench. Close inspection of the wood grain shows the tell tale dis-coloration caused by the beetle infestation.

Inspection of the exposed wood grain shows the blue color that is indicitative of beetle infestation.

I would like to give special thanks to my brother who operated the chain saw and did all of the hard work on this project.


About Ryan

Ryan is currently a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory. His research area includes Prognostic Health Management of Electronics. For more information please visit:
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