If you’re truly stumped for a clever idea to fashion a unique side table, check with Mother Nature. She’s bound to inspire you to craft a piece of furniture that’s easy to make. You may even be able to take credit for saving a gracefully shaped tree stump from being relegated to the firewood heap. Finish off the table with a topper or make your finished side table as simple and pristine as nature intended.
- Tree stump
- Belt sander or medium/fine grit paper
- Safety glasses
- Work gloves
- Metal spackle tool
- Polyurethane sealer
- Wood screws
- Legs (optional)
- Topper (optional)
Examine the tree stump you’re considering for your side table to make certain there are no termites, rot or other structural damage resulting from mistreatment inflicted on trees as noted on the Virginia Cooperative Education.com website.
Dry out the stump if it’s damp or it’s been exposed to the elements after being cut so it sheds exterior bark that’s already loose. This could take weeks and requires only that you let it sit. Use the dry time to allow critter residents to abandon ship, too. Bring the stump inside after it's dry so it adjusts to your house temperature.
Wear protective gloves and use a hammer and wide-mouth metal spackle tool to loosen and remove the remainder of the stump’s bark. Use your belt sander or sandpaper to methodically work around the stump, smoothing out the wood.
Use a level to check both the base and the top so the tree stump side table doesn’t look lopsided because of an uneven base. Be particularly vigilant about leveling the top if you’re going to add a piece of tempered glass or another type of table topper.
Remove dust and particles dislodged by the sanding process with a damp cloth so your stain and/or polyurethane finishes go on smoothly and evenly. Use a pencil to mark areas on the stump's underside if you intend to add legs, double checking the distance between the pencil marks so the legs are properly spaced.
Attach three or more legs to the bottom of your stump table to add a design element or elevate its height. Drill holes into the bottom of the stump. Use brackets packaged with the legs to attach them. Alternately, drill holes into both the legs and the underside of the stump and connect them with double sided wood screws. Apply a stain in a complementary color to the stump and legs if the side table needs a color boost. Allow the stain to dry before adding a sealer that will protect the wood over time.
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