How Long To Let Birch Log Dry Before Making Side Table?

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Q: About eight months ago, my family and I were clearing up some brush at our cottage. We took down an old birch tree, and I have saved a foot long log (approximately 15 inches wide) to turn into a side table.

I am finding a lot of conflicting information regarding the length of time I should allow the log to dry before getting to work sanding and staining it. Am I okay with the eight months I've waited already, or should I let it dry out a bit longer? I'm hoping that there is someone out there who can provide me with a bit more information!

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.