This side table was an experiment that I’ve always wanted to try out. A couple of years ago I was in the market for a side table and started window shopping. Several furniture stores had side tables made from tree stumps, and I figured it might be fun for me to try and make one myself. I did some research online, namely to see how others have sealed and protected the stumps, and to get some ideas on how to mount the legs, keep the bark or leave it on, so on and so forth.
So, coincidentally, a buddy of mine had a bunch of tree trunk logs cut up in his backyard. A huge pine tree was struck by lightning and almost landed on his house! I grabbed a few of the logs, one very large one, and four smaller ones (which I was thinking about using for another project).
The big one I imagined would be the main element for my side table, it was covered with bark and spider webs but it would do. This project took me a while to get off the ground, the logs sat in my garage for a good six months before I made time to work on them. This was probably a good thing, because you want the wood to dry and make sure whatever is living in there finds a new home… which wasn’t the case with me! There were at least a dozen wood eating beetles in there, fortunately, they only liked the pine wood, and didn’t burrow themselves into my house. Most of the bugs came out while I was working on the wood, a couple came out a bit after, but I’ll cover that later.
So, as I mentioned earlier, find a nice tree stump, and let it dry in your garage or home for a few weeks. You do not want any moisture in the log. Even better, put the log in your freezer for two weeks, this should ensure anything living inside doesn’t creep out later on.
Next decide what type of style tree stump table you would like. You can make it freestanding, if your stump is flat and fairly level on top and bottom of course. You can also mount it with legs like I did. I got my legs at IKEA but you can find them at most hardware stores.
Now time to get to work:
- Take off all the bark, I used a screwdriver and hammer when needed to pry off all the bark. If you let the wood dry for a while, this will be a lot easier. Some of the bark may be stubborn, so you might have to get a little creative and sand it down.
- Lightly sand the remaining dirt off, you don’t want to make the wood completely clean, because this might take away some of the “character”, but it’s entirely up to you.
- Clean the wood lightly with a wet rag and water.
- Let the wood dry completely, if it’s cold outside wait overnight and keep the log indoors just to make sure
- If you like the color of the wood, skip this step, otherwise, pick a wood stain from Home Depot or similar store and stain the wood. I used a cherry stain I think and just applied it with a rag. You can lightly stain the wood and apply more coats to darken the color.
- Wipe the stain dry with a dry cloth
- Get some polyurethane epoxy from the local hardware store and cover the tree stump with several light coats of epoxy. I recommend using a gas mask for this step, you get pretty light headed sniffing this stuff!
- Let the stump dry for two to three days, this is to ensure the epoxy is nice and cured. You can use a heat gun to speed the process.
- Install the legs, if needed.
- Enjoy your hard work!
It took me four days to make mine, as you can see the stump was not perfectly shaped, but I wanted to work with it and it does give it a bit of character. Hope this was helpful for yah!