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Posted by on Oct 11, 2011 | 5 comments

A DIY Tree Stump Table: The Reveal

A DIY Tree Stump Table: The Reveal

You may recall my post Need a Tree Stump End Table: No Problem! from a few weeks ago? Quick recap: I shopped online for an occasional or end table, saw a tree stump table ($199) in a retail store, and decided to make one myself. The post tells how Katie and I found a stump and hauled it home.

Here’s the photo of the stump, bark and all, sitting in my house.

tree stump

Here’s what happened next.

The stump sat for a few weeks to dry out. I moved it outside so I could start scraping off the bark with a small prybar.


This step took a very long time, but was fun to reveal the beautiful smooth cedar wood underneath.


I even used a small saw to cut off the ends of a couple of branches poking out from the side. Next, I used rough sandpaper to smooth out the edges and sides, and especially around the knobs and inside groves. In between sanding, I wiped the entire stump down with a piece of cheese cloth and then I used a fine sandpaper over all surfaces. My girls got in on the action too.


Finally, after I felt satisfied that I had removed every bit of bark and the sides were nice and smooth, I filled in a small cut with a tiny bit of Plastic Wood and then started applying layers of polyurethane to the sides. I did about three layers in all, with a good few hours in between, plus light sanding.


The top got about 6 coats of polyurethane. Look how beautiful the red cedar looks with a waxy shine.


After the table dried completely and aired out over night, I carried it inside. (I’m calling it a “table” now because I don’t think it qualifies as a mere “stump” anymore.)

The table is not nearly as heavy now that I removed the bark and it dried out. I put felt pads on the bottom to protect the floor. So, here it is looking as pretty as can be. I just love the shape and wish I could have brought several more red cedar stumps home with this one.


The best part? It’s for sale. Yes, you heard right. It goes in to the DIY Del Ray store, which also includes our leather belt chair. In fact, the two pieces would look smashing side by side.

Posted by Leslie


  1. What a clever idea! I love it. I will not be looking at tree stumps in the same way again!

  2. Nice work. What do you think about the possibilities for other types of wood? Do you think something like this is only possible with red cedar? Are there some types of wood that would be better or worse for this? I need to bring down a fairly big maple tree in my yard this fall so would like to try this with a piece from that. Thanks for posting.

    • I think Maple would be fine to use. I just happened to find the red cedar stump and thought it was beautiful to begin with. Some wood will have bark that will be extremely difficult to remove. I’m not sure how to research which types that would be. Let us know how your table turns out! I did just learn about a low VOC sealant that I would opt to use next time.

  3. How did you get rid of the sap on the tree (from the previous posting about the stump)?

  4. I just let the whole thing dry out and then the sap wasn’t really an issue as I recall. At first, it was a sticky mess. I’m currently drying out a sycamore stump which has beautiful bark so I think I’ll leave it on.

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