"Stump" is fun to say!

Warning: The content of this post is intended for mature adults who are interested in, or are actively pursuing the perfect tree stump side table. If you unable or unwilling to experience further stump content, shut down your web browser now. Brooklyn Limestone accepts no responsibility for unintended stump overload.

I had some free time this weekend and the weather somehow managed not to be sauna like so it was the perfect opportunity to finally get going on the tree stump* table now that I had a place for it! Let's start at the beginning.

About a year ago, I saw the idea at Kara's blog and loved it. I asked around for tree stumps. A very nice stranger offered me a pile o stumps and I made my poor husband donkey them home (bugs and all - it was nasty!)

photo taken july 2009

The stumps sat in the backyard drying out for the last 12 months. I had sort of forgotten about them (except for the times when Mr. L suggested throwing them away, then I vehemently refused suggesting I had big plans for them!) Poof - your suggestions that I should use a tree stump side table at the shore along with a pile of unused stumps in my backyard creates home decor harmony in the universe. (I really should have thought up this idea myself but sometimes I'm not so swift)

After a year it had dried out considerably which you can see from the cracks all around. It was by no means perfect but its what I had.

I picked the stump that look best and scrubbed it down with clorox and water. Sat it in the sun to let it dry out for a few hours. Once I deemed it dry enough it was time to get to work.


This is going to be the most boring tutorial ever as it's made mostly of one directive: SAND.


Sand, sand, sand, sand. Then sand some more. Then sand more. Then think you are done and have your husband come out and suggest it needs another hour of sanding. Raise and shake fist in the air at your own idiocy for thinking up this torture for yourself. Return to sanding.


Then when its not quite perfect, decide you've had enough of sanding and call it good enough. Then realize you haven't even started on the sides! More sanding!


Thankfully the sides are a lot easier. It only needs a few minutes to rub all the yuck off.


Now I had all kinds of plans to paint the tops ala Martha Stewart's version. But as I stared at it I actually liked the cracked texture on the top so I decided to leave it. I had also planned on sealing it with this spray poly but the unfinished nature screams driftwood to me. Perfect for the beach, right?. So again, I decided to leave it is as is. (Although I'm still considering sealing it - what do you think??)


You could easily just stop there but I decided it needed to be on wheels for a few reasons. One, it was suggested that I not rest it directly on the floor in case of sap leakage. Two, it was a pretty squat stump so it could use the height. And three, I don't want it scratching up my floor. So on went some cheap casters I found at Home Depot. (Ideally some small pretty brass ones would look better.)


Screw those bad boys willy nilly on the underside of the finished stump.


A better person than I would have used a level and shims to get it perfectly flat. I could not find the level nor did I have any shims so this is what I did. I figured I could always unscrew and futz with it later.

Shockingly, I turned it right side up and it worked perfectly fine. No wobble.


Thus concludes my Guiness World Book of Records entry for blog with the most photos and mentions of the word 'stump'. I think I nailed it. Where is my prize?

*After last week's tree stump free for all, you might think I had covered every kind. But evidently I totally missed one my very favorite blogs, Three Men and a Lady, interpretation. I think this one might be my personal fav so it was worth mentioning. Thanks whatthevita for reminding me of it.

**It should also be noted that the word 'stump' is fun to say. Especially when its said 1,000 times while covered in sawdust.


  1. Freaking awesome + PERFECT for the beach!

  2. You're so funny. I would seal it, just in case (and shout "stump it!" when I'm fed up with sanding.)

  3. moving into a new house with a surplus of stumps. also need new side tables. WIN WIN!

  4. It looks great! I think you should definitely seal it. I live in a cedar-sided home and am much too familiar of the worry of having untreated wood left around for termites.

  5. I bet I've said "Stump" more, as I get patients with amputations!!! It is a wierd word!!! lol....

    The "stump" looks great! Now, that I can't say at work!!!


  6. I LOVE this!!! What a killer idea! It looks so cool!

    By the way, thank you for the warning/disclaimer at the beginning of the post. It made me want to forge ahead...I'm such a rebel.

  7. Anonymous11:15 AM

    That does look good - and you know the gods have smiled on it because: no wobble!

  8. Great post! Stump IS fun to say! So, glad it's finished and it looks wonderful. My vote is leave it raw. It's perfect as is.

  9. You deserve a prize for ingenuity and persistance.....it also means that I must have about 100+ side tables sitting in my woodpile.....fancy making a business out of this?? xv

  10. Your stumps look fab! Love the addition of the wheels to make it mobile. Bravo! Thanks for the mention. Thanks also to "Whatthevita".

  11. Oooo, I love the driftwood look. Leave it just how it is. This past Saturday I pulled into a business park and got totally lost and while trying to find my way out, I found a place where they make stump furniture. They had the most amazing/huge/oddly shaped stumps laying around outside. If they didn't weigh 9,742 lbs each I would have swooped em all up.

  12. Beautiful! I love how clean and simple it is, yet it will surely be the conversation piece of your beach home.

    Now. Where can I find me some stumps? I'm on the hunt.

  13. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Beautiful! It will look so perfect at your shore place. Seal it later if you feel the need. While I love the smell of sawdust, I think I will keep it in small doses. Was your arm vibrating from all your work? LOL

  14. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Srsly heart when you say 'donkey them home' - makes me laugh inside!

    Stump looks fab.

  15. Wheels on a stump~ interesting! Perfect for the beach house. I've thought about doing a stump cake stand, but never got around to it...

  16. I love it!Very creative..

  17. Sometimes there are treats hidden inside the stumps. For example, bees that will chew their way through lacquer and end up buzzing around your living room making you wonder how in the ... until you see the holes in your stumps :)

  18. As usual you did a beautiful job. It'll look wonderful in your place. Can't wait to see it there!

  19. I vote for sealing it. You can use one without any sheen so it still has the look of natural wood but with a little bit of protection. You're not going to want to go sanding again when you accidentally leave a stain on that cute stump you worked so hard on. (at least that is what would happen to me!!)

  20. I love it! Very fun decor piece and functional to boot :0

  21. Amazing, absolutely amazing. What a great idea! I vote for sealing too though - the last thing you want is to have to sand coffee stains out of the thing!

  22. Anonymous6:27 PM

    Would you consider putting on some very watered down gray or white paint on it? I think it might darken otherwise.

  23. Super-cool. I want one! Good thing I've got lots of trees/branches around...

    If you wanted to seal w/ something a little less shiny/permanent, could you go with linseed oil? Or beeswax? I've been sealing wood blocks that I've been making with a 4:1 olive oil:beeswax mixture, and that works well, but it's a little shiny/darker than when I started...

  24. Looks great! I can't wait to see it in the space. I would treat it like you would a butcher block countertop. Whatever you decide I would go with matte so it keeps the rustic and natural feel.

  25. How did you get the table surface level? That's what would puzzle me.

    I think also if you had 3 casters, that would self-level it, kind of the way a 3-legged stool is non-wobbly.

    But of course, I've never tried such a thing! Great idea, though! I have some oak stumps here I should work on.

  26. Sanding is probably my least favorite DIY activity so I feel your pain. But it was oh so worth it. It looks great!

  27. Love it! Can't wait to see it in your beach house!

  28. You have the patience if Job! I do think it will be cute at the beach house. I'm so glad that it was level when you turned it upright. That would not have been a good end to a long project to have to still work on:)

  29. Oh I never said it was level! Its not at all. It just doesn't wobble and its flat enough to put a drink on without it toppling over. It just worked out well enough but not perfect.

    Aunt Snow: I had 3 casters on it first but it wasn't very stable. If you sat on it (which I have no doubt will happen) then it would topple over. The fourth caster added the extra balance.

    Annitah: I really hope there are no surprises inside this guy. Its hard to tell - it looks pretty inactive from out here and it was sitting in the sun for a year but anything is possible. I have to keep my fingers crossed.

  30. My thought is maybe just seal the bottom thinking it might help prevent sap leakage from coming out and landing on the floor? Maybe not, but just a thought.

  31. It looks great!! All of those hours of sanding were clearly worth it.


  32. This project is going on my to make list- love how yours came out!!

  33. "Stump" is pretty fun to type as well.

    I've been thinking of making a small side table out of a stump but had not thought of putting wheels on it -- I like!

  34. I think it turned out great!!! Fabulous job!

  35. Love it! And the addition of the caster is ingenious. My parents have been using a (slightly larger) stump as a coffee table for years in their tiny living room. It is totally unfinished but they have a 2ft round piece of thick glass on top of it for drinks, etc. I've been bugging them for years to actually ATTACH the glass to the stump but they claim it hasn't been knocked off yet!

  36. What a wonderful idea! We are moving and so I've been trying to figure out how to vamp up our bedroom this will be the perfect way to do so! Thanks.

  37. Anonymous5:39 PM

    This looks wonderful. My late father was a wood-aholic. It's sort of a family joke in regards to how much wood he would get each summer. And he was the master at stacking it. For him it was an art. It's been two years since he's passed away and I've been meaning to do something like this, minus the wheels, with some of the tree rounds he's left behind. Some of the large ones he used as a surface to split the other smaller pieces and to chop kindling, so they have this lovely patterns cut into the top. I think it's time I get to it.

  38. That's so cool! I'm gonna have to remember that idea when we finally finish the basement. Awesome!


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