During the renovation of Chelsea Lipford’s first house, a cedar tree in the front yard had to be cut down. Rather than letting the wood go to waste, the logs were taken to a local sawmill and milled into lumber.

After the wood had dried, the lumber was planed and turned into a headboard for a bedroom in Chelsea’s house. Watch this video to see how it was done.

man and woman standing next to Completed cedar headboard in bedroom.
Completed cedar headboard in bedroom.

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re making memories as I help my daughter Chelsea create a family heirloom literally from the ground up.

Chelsea Lipford: Did you measure twice? Cut once.

Danny Lipford: A couple of years ago, my oldest daughter, Chelsea, bought her first house. Like any good dad, I got involved helping her fix it up.

One of the things that had to go when the renovation first started was a cedar tree that was very overgrown right in the front of the house. When it came down, we planned to save the trunk to build something a little later. Finally, its time has come.

Here we go.

Chelsea Lipford: Load them up.

Danny Lipford: Because these things are so big, I’ve enlisted some help from the guys from my construction crew to help move them onto the trailer for the trip to the sawmill.

All right, you got the trick there, huh?

Hopefully, rolling it on these pipes will make that a little easier.

Everybody grab a hold of it, there’s no handles. Really, let’s try to all go at one time, and I think it will run better. One, two, three. OK, hold it, Hold it. On three—one, two, three. All right? One, two, three—stop, stop, stop, stop.

All right, come on this way in a controlled fashion. One, two, three. All right, on three—one, two, three. On the trailer, let’s go, fellas. Hold on, hold on, hold on! Oh, there just is enough room.

The next one goes a little more quickly.

Oh, look at that, look at that! Look at, oh, you kidding me?

Tim: One, two, three.

Now that our exercises in counting to three are done, it’s off to the sawmill.

Chelsea Lipford: I really have no idea how much, like, we can get out of it. I have no idea how a sawmill works.

Danny Lipford: The older log was extremely heavy; so, obviously, it has not rotted. If he cuts those outside edges off, then it’s still got a pretty good core to, to cut through. But it wouldn’t be surprising if we did have like, almost like, worm holes in it and that kind of thing.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah. Huh.

Danny Lipford: We’ll talk with Roy, the guy with the sawmill and see…

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, well, I’ve seen pictures of his, of his shop or whatever in the newspaper.

Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah.

Chelsea Lipford: So, I’m really interested to meet him and look around and see, maybe we’ll get some ideas over there.

Danny Lipford: Our crew met sawmill owner Roy Hyde while he was milling some lumber for a project we followed some time back. The sawmill supplies Roy and his wife, Allie, with wood for their own unique, handcrafted projects. But they also cut small lots of wood for people like us who want to put an old tree to a new use.

Danny Lipford: It’s at least an hour’s drive over here.

Chelsea Lipford: This looks cool. This is why people have…

Danny Lipford: An old fence or gate.

Chelsea Lipford: Looks like a bridge.

Danny Lipford: Oh, it’s like a little culvert.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, I bet he milled that lumber himself.

Danny Lipford: I bet he did, too. Check out the sign, “idle seed only.”

Chelsea Lipford: Slow.”

Danny Lipford: “Welcome, watch for children and lizards. And chickens and dogs and bugs. Peacocks, toads, trees.

Chelsea Lipford: “Confused adults.” Oh, look at that tree, that’s cool. Looks like it’s been twisted and warped. Here’s a pup coming to greet us.

Danny Lipford: It’s a pit bull.

Roy Hyde: Come on. Come on just a little bit, we want to get in the shade there. That’s good, Danny, whoa, OK.

Danny Lipford: Well, I hope, I hope this works like we think it’s going to work, I haven’t really… I’ve been around a sawmill a time or two, but I really haven’t done what we’re doing here, so…

Roy Hyde: You’ve come to the right place.

Danny Lipford: Good, good. Well, it was a heck of a job to get it on there, you see we had our pipes, and I had about three or four guys help us roll it up on there, but it is real heavy.

Roy Hyde: Oh, I see. The old fashioned way.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, the old fashioned way, so…

Roy Hyde: All right, excellent. The first thing probably is we need to make sure that we can cut everything and that there’s not any nails. You know, you give people a place to drive a nail, and they seem to want to.

Chelsea Lipford: Look how red that is, that’s beautiful.

Roy Hyde: Oh, it’s going to be beautiful.

Danny Lipford: You already got that many out of there? Wow!

Allie Hyde: When it’s first cut, Chelsea, it’s going to be really, really red and pretty. And then when it dries, it’s going to look gray. But as soon as you sand it and put anything on it, it will turn red again.

Chelsea Lipford: Oh, great, Awesome.

Allie Hyde: It’s real depressing after it dries, it loses its color, but it will come back.

Chelsea Lipford: Good, good.

Danny Lipford: While we continue getting this log ready for the sawmill, why don’t you check out this week’s Simple Solution with Joe Truini.

Joe Truini: When using a belt sander to smooth a piece of wood, you typically have to clamp down the wood to keep it from moving. Here’s the reason why. There you go, the belt sander itself will shoot the wood out.

Now, if you clamp it down, the clamps are always in the way. And they do make sanding pads—special pads for routing and sanding that you can use in a workshop. But here’s a more effective and cheaper version, of using a liner.

This is a shelf liner that they make for shelves and drawers, the bottoms of drawers, and this is the open weave type. It’s rubbery and it has an open weave to it. And it works really well to hold the wood and work pieces in place.

So just put it out over the workbench, and cut it to size with scissors. It cuts really easily. And this soft, cushiony surface will grip the piece of wood and prevent it from moving.

Now, let me show you. Lay it out there, and the open weave also lets the sanding dust go through, too, so keeps it a little cleaner.

So, when you start sanding, it’ll grab the piece of wood and keep it from moving. And this will work with all kinds of sanders and all surfaces.

Danny Lipford: My daughter, Chelsea, and I are planning to create a piece of furniture from an old cedar tree that was cut down in her front yard. So, we’ve taken the logs to Roy and Allie Hyde’s sawmill to have them cut down into lumber that we can use. So far, we’ve removed a few dozen nails and met the family pets.

Chelsea Lipford: Oh! Don’t chase him over here!

Danny Lipford: Now it’s time to get the logs onto the sawmill.

Pretty cool, huh? It’s easier than rolling it on those pipes.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: The tractor is a huge help in moving the log. . .

Chelsea Lipford: There it goes.

Danny Lipford: . . . but there’s still a little elbow grease needed to position it on the mill.

Roy Hyde: That’s what we have to do now is get it up like this and then slide it. OK.

Danny Lipford: I grabbed the small end, real quick like.

Roy Hyde: Yeah, you’re pretty sharp.

Chelsea Lipford: I don’t know what to grab.

Roy Hyde: You got your own show, you should be able to get the easy end, huh. This looks good to me. I’ll hold it. Put the dog in. I was just going to slice some of this top piece off if you want it.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, yeah, definitely. We’re going to use every piece of everything.

Roy Hyde: Oh, great.

Danny Lipford: I mean, we’re going to build stuff for years. I’m going to give it away for Christmas presents.

Roy Hyde: I love it!

Danny Lipford: The first few passes of the saw removed the rough edges that are sticking out. But whether these pieces are useful or not doesn’t really matter—they smell incredible. After a few more slices off of the limb, we’re into cutting longer planks.

Roy Hyde: Let’s just keep cutting it at one inch, then.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Roy Hyde: And in a few minutes, we’ll be going, we’ll be down to the point where we’ll just flip it over, and then we can cut it all the rest of the way.

Danny Lipford: Perfect, that’s perfect.

Now that all the preliminary work is done, the boards start coming off the mill one right after the other.

Roy Hyde: Twist it. Pull it up and out. Danny, look at it. There you go. All right.

Chelsea Lipford: Allie’s got this.

Allie Hyde: Oh, this is nothing, this is a pleasure.

Chelsea Lipford: Put the dog on, Dad.

Roy Hyde: Wait.

Chelsea Lipford: I don’t know.

Roy Hyde: Wait.

Danny Lipford: You just wanted to say it, huh?

Roy Hyde: I think that’s great.

Danny Lipford: This is beautiful wood, and Roy says it’s already dry enough to start using. But that really puts a lot of pressure on us to come up with the right project for it, so Chelsea takes a break to check out Roy and Allie’s house and some of their handiwork.

Allie Hyde: The staircase, Chelsea, is all from one cedar log. I mean, it was substantially bigger than what you brought over, but…

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, that’s cool.

Allie Hyde: You might be interested in what we used for hanging the ceiling fans.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, I saw that. That’s interesting.

Allie Hyde: And that’s all juniper that we cut on the wall there.

Danny Lipford: Allie and Roy have created all kinds of unique furniture, which is more likely the kind of project we’ll be taking on. While the ladies were taking the tour, Roy and I finished cutting down both logs and now that the trailer is loaded, it’s time to say our goodbyes.

Hey, man, I can’t believe how much fun that was.

Roy Hyde: All right, great!

Danny Lipford: That was great. Thanks so much for putting up with us here. Tell you what, that was…

Allie Hyde: I’m glad you came.

Chelsea Lipford: Thanks so much.

Danny Lipford: Well, did we end up with more wood than you thought?

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: Do you have any idea what you want to do with it?

Chelsea Lipford: Nope.

Danny Lipford: So that’s the challenge now, what to build. Chelsea is a big fan of Pinterest and she’s been poring through a number of the Pinterest boards for more ideas. But what is she getting us into?

Chelsea Lipford: See, I kind of like that look.

Danny Lipford: Pretty tall.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, I know. I like it tall like that.

Danny Lipford: I’m just concerned about the amount of wood we are going to end up with.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, that’s a problem, too, I guess. I like this one, just not turquoise. That’s really nice looking.

Danny Lipford: Mmm-hmm. That’s pretty simple, I like that.

Chelsea Lipford: Just take the wood and put a coat of clear varnish on it.

You don’t want to stain it?

Chelsea Lipford: I don’t think so. Seems like the color of the wood would do well.

Danny Lipford: Good, I wouldn’t either because once that’s all planed down and sanded; it is going to really have all that grain in it, and I think it’s going to look good. I just don’t remember them being that tall.

Chelsea Lipford: I think that would still look good.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, it will look good, it’ll look good.

Chelsea Lipford: I think it might be a newer trend. But I like it, it just makes it more of a statement, instead of just a functional piece—art.

Danny Lipford: So what’s your favorite? You’ve got these all bookmarked, which is the one that you like the most?

Chelsea Lipford: This one right here.

Danny Lipford: While we iron out the details for this headboard, why don’t you check out this week’s Best New Product?

Jodi Marks: Now, not all of your home improvement projects are going to require a jigsaw. But, boy, when they do, you want to have a really good one for making those intricate or radial cuts.

And take a look at this one by Ridgid. Now, this is their compact orbital jigsaw. There’s some really good talking points about this that I want to hit for you really quickly.

First of all, it’s got an innovative gear set. So, if you’ve ever used a jigsaw before, what that basically translates to is there’s not going to be a lot of vibration. So it’s not going to fatigue your hand as you use it.

Another thing I like about it is look at this grip. It’s got a great rubber grip, so it’s easy to control.

Now, the start switch is up here on the top, and it’s got what they call a soft start. So, this is a smooth start and finish every time.

Another thing I like about it is—I’m going to pick this up really quickly—is when you turn it on, you’re going to get an LED light that comes on and it illuminates the line as you are cutting it.

Another thing it has is a switch right here. You can turn on this little blower, and this blower blows the debris off the line so that you can see it.

Now, the last little feature I want to point out is take a look at this. This has got a metal foot for easy glide over your work surface. But it’s also encased in this plastic cap, so that it doesn’t mar your work surface as you go along.

So, if you’re in the market for a jigsaw, do your research. But I think you’re going to end up with this one right here.

My daughter Chelsea and I are working to build a headboard for her home from a cedar tree that had to be removed from her yard. The wood is stacked in Chelsea’s garage, so now, it’s time to get busy building.

I’m glad it is so dry, that is working out great. But what I’m concerned with is this older tree that we had. . .

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah?

Danny Lipford: . . .it’s got a lot of holes in it.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: It also has a lot of rough edges. And since we’re not working for the rustic look here, we have to square those up. To do that, we’re attaching a long, straight board to the rough lumber with screws before we run it through the table saw.

So, we got this straight edge that we’re going to use to guide along the edge here, along the fence, and that will create a straight edge over here.

Chelsea Lipford: So we’re not trying to cut up against it over here, we’re cutting up the other. . .

Danny Lipford: No. Right. Right. We’re cutting it out where it’ll go from, I think I have it seven… It’s going to cut right around here so…

Chelsea Lipford: And then we’ll go back and cut the other side?

Danny Lipford: Right.

Chelsea Lipford: OK.

Danny Lipford: And then we can flip it around, and we can cut it. And then at least we have a straight edge to reference.

Chelsea Lipford: That makes sense, OK. Let’s do it.

Danny Lipford: Since the blade runs parallel to the fence, the resulting cut is as straight as the guide board. So after we remove it, we have a clean, straight edge on the cedar.

So, now, we can take that and cut whatever we need.

Chelsea Lipford: And then we put this up against the fence. . .

Danny Lipford: Exactly.

Chelsea Lipford: and cut off the raw edges.

Danny Lipford: As much as we possibly can. So, let’s see. That’s four inches, that’s what we talked about needing.

And with the second pass through the table saw to square the other edge, that’s what we’ll get.

Chelsea Lipford: That’s beautiful.

Chelsea Lipford: Chelsea and I made measurements of the bed frame this headboard will go on. So with our picture printed from the Internet and those dimensions, we can lay out the wood we’ve squared up to see if we have enough.

Chelsea Lipford: We’re going to have to get into the, the other tree.

Danny Lipford: I mean, that’s such a different colored wood.

Chelsea Lipford: But if that was… If we used only that for the slats.

Danny Lipford: So we’re back to squaring up more lumber from the lighter colored tree to create the slats for the back of the headboard. Eventually, we get what we need. . .

Sure smells good

. . .so we can start cutting the pieces to their proper length.

Chelsea Lipford: Did you measure twice? Cut once.

Danny Lipford: Since Chelsea is such an expert, I’ll let her make the cut. Now that we have everything cut to length, we still have to smooth it out.

So, I think it’s time to break out the planer. . .

Chelsea Lipford: Okay.

Danny Lipford: . . .and see if we can’t get these pieces down to somewhat of a consistent dimension. So let’s set up that planer on top of the table saw.

Chelsea Lipford: All right, do you know how to use it, because I certainly don’t?

Danny Lipford: Rather than sanding for days and days, we’re using a thickness planer to create a slick finish quickly.

All right, what’s the perfect tool for this job. And being able to go from a rough side, like this, to a nice, smooth side, like this. The planer is perfect for that.

And finally, time for assembling. After all of the work that has led up to this point, this part seems like a piece of cake. In fact, maybe the mood is getting a little too light.

Chelsea Lipford: Here it is.

Danny Lipford: Fists like steel.

Chelsea Lipford: Aww, don’t do that on my headboard, please. Please stop. Please? Will you… Oh, my gosh! Ha, ha.

Danny Lipford: I guess when you’re getting this close to the finish line, you can’t help but get excited. Within a few minutes, we’re able to check our work to see if our enthusiasm was well deserved.

Chelsea Lipford: Let’s flip it over.

Danny Lipford: You got to admit, that’s going to be cool, huh?

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, that looks great.

Danny Lipford: Cool! Here you go.

Chelsea Lipford: I like it.

Danny Lipford: Now, all that’s left is the cap for the top and a little piece of trim to dress it up. To match the unique color of the cedar, we’re mixing wood glue and cedar saw dust to fill the few nail holes. Then, it’s a light sanding all around before the varnish starts going on.

Chelsea Lipford: Dad, while you’re varnishing that, I have a little something else for you to varnish.

Danny Lipford: Aww! Sweet.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah. I got you!

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Wow, I guess I won’t be saying no to any of Chelsea’s projects for a while. And speaking of questions, let’s take a break and answer one of yours.

Danny Lipford: Martha wants to know, “How do you get rid of white water marks on furniture?”

I’m sure all of us, at some point, have put a glass of cold water right on top of a nice piece of wooden furniture. You know what happens then? You end up with a water mark like that.

Now, that can cause quite a panic if you have a nice piece of furniture. A d I’ve seen a lot of people try different home-spun ways of getting rid of that, including mayonnaise or even peanut butter; but I’ve got a way that really works very, very well.

Basically, you take a simple cloth, like this, place it over it. Then take kind of a medium warm iron, place it right over it, just for a minute. Take it off. Let it breathe a little bit, because you don’t want to put too much intense heat on it where it will affect the actual finish on it.

You got to be patient or you’ll end up really having a problem with the furniture finish. After you continue this a little bit, you’ll notice when you peel this off, it kind of has a little bit of a matte finish, which is fine. That will pretty much go away once it starts cooling down.

Then, you can just rub it. Rub the rest of that out. Then, you want to finish everything up with a good quality furniture polish to make everything look consistent.

But, in the future, instead of having to go through all that, why don’t you try one of those. That makes life a lot easier.

Since the day we had to cut down that cedar tree in Chelsea’s front yard, we’ve been talking about creating something special with the wood. OK, want to move it back, just a little bit. There, we got the light switch clear. Well, what do you think, now that you’ve got it in here?

Chelsea Lipford: It looks so good in here.

Danny Lipford: I just thought it would be a little, I don’t know, almost too rustic for, you know, everything else is kind of painted in here.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, I like it a lot though, it looks great.

Danny Lipford: You know, it’s so gratifying when you can do any type of project with your children, whether it’s painting or building a headboard like this. And whether your children are very small or all grown up like this one, it’s still so much fun and something she can treasure for a long, long time.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s show and hope you’ll be back next week for more Today’s Homeowner. I’m Danny Lipford, along with Chelsea. We’ll see you next week.

Hey, you should try that wood burning kit that you have, and burn the date on it.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, the date. And then we would always know when we built it.


Danny Lipford: Just take it easy.

Scott Gardner: Do you know upon what criteria this judgment was based?

Danny Lipford: Just general global considerations. So. . . .

Further Information

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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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