How to level a tree stump

Make Tree Stump Tables Without Losing Your Mind — The Learner Observer


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Lately I've been asked by several people how I managed to make tree stump tables. I started working on these over a year ago, when I was 4-5 months pregnant and I had finally started to feel better after the extreme fatigue and all-day sickness had passed. With a new surge of energy, I felt ready to tackle stripping bark off of two stumps and sanding for hours on end. Obviously. Don't all pregnant women do this? Anyway, I'm about to give you a play by play of how I did this without going completely crazy!This, like the blanket ladder I made, was one more thing I didn't want to pay an obscene amount of money for. So I made it myself! My parents had to cut down a tree in their backyard, so my dad brought me three stumps and one 2-inch slice.  It sat in the garage for several months, which is a key step in this whole thing - letting the stumps dry, somewhere that is also dry and away from humidity (aka rain) for as long as possible, though you probably only need to do this for about 6 weeks.Let's talk tools. You'll need a hammer and a wood chisel for now. Use with caution because depending on the type of tree you have, the bark may come off easily... or not. I think this tree was some type of willow, and I have no other tree to compare this to, so I'd say it was somewhat difficult.Be careful not to hack into the wood too much! I admittedly did so a few times...Now that you have your huge mess of bark cleaned up (seriously...huge mess), you can start on the next mess: sanding!I used an orbital sander for this because my pieces were fairly level (not really, but I don't care), but a planer would help you greatly if your piece is too crooked!It was so gratifying to see the colour on top go from this greyed out tone to a really soft and pretty brown. You also have to sand the sides to get rid of all the splinters and the fuzzy bits leftover from the bark. Sand until it feels mighty smooth! This is what my setup looked like. I basically had a cold the whole time I worked on this (because I got sick a lot while pregnant), so the tissues were part of my tools. Oh, and don't worry, I wore a really good mask while sanding and did it all out int he open.This is what you end up with:Now, this is an optional step: adding wheels! I only did this with one of the two stumps I finished, and it does help with moving it around!I bought the wheels at The Home Depot, and used some wood screws. Drilling holes may be necessary depending on how hard the wood is!Finally,  it's time to seal it all up. I put on 3 coats of clear Poly (on sides and top) and sanded very lightly between coats.That's it! And when I say that, I don't mean because this was super easy or because it didn't take a lot of time. I worked on these stumps over weeks for 2-3 hours at a time. Not being pregnant definitely means it'll take less time to complete!I started to do a second stump, but I got too hot, too pregnant and too tired to finish! So... it still needs to be sanded a bit more and sealed, but I kind of like that it's a bit rougher around the edges... literally - especially with the big knot on the side.As for the 2-inch slice, I sanded it slightly and used it on top of an IKEA stool, which I painted gold - it was originally white and just didn't look right.And there you have it. A year later, I'm finally sharing my tree stump tables with you guys! To help condense the information a little, let me condense the information a little. Ha!

5 steps for making your own tree stump tables
  1. let them dry (remember, 6 weeks or so is plenty of time)
  2. use the right tools for removing bark: hammer and wood chisel
  3. sand with an orbital sander and have a variety of sandpaper grits. Start with 60, 100 then 150 for finishing.
  4. optional: add 3-4 wheels to the bottom
  5. brush on at least 3 coats of clear poly and allow ample time (as per directions) between coats and sand lightly between coats as well

It really doesn't seem too difficult in 5 little steps, right? And believe me, it's worth the effort and the sawdust! I've moved these tables around the living room a lot (and trust me, right now they're not quite as pretty as they look here because moving is wreaking havoc on my styling abilities). Don't believe me? Follow along on Snapchat (learnerobserver) and you'll see... Soon, though, these tables will be back to looking pretty in a new house and I'll get to move them around some more!Anyway, have you ever attempted tree stump tables? Would you? I think you should!

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How to Sand & Polish a Tree Stump | Home Guides

By Amelia Allonsy Updated February 02, 2022

Tree stumps are generally regarded as nuisance tripping hazards, the unwanted remains of an unwanted tree. However, whether you choose to cut the stump or leave it in place, you can sand and polish it to make a rustic decoration, a whimsical children's play table or a stand for displaying plants and statuary. Sand carefully to preserve the knots, scratches and worm patterns that give the wood character. Natural wax polish protects the wood while preserving its natural color and character.


You can start with coarser grit sandpaper than 180-grit, but this removes more of the wood at once, which can sand off the natural details in the wood.

The top and bottom of the stump must be level to be used as a table. You can use a wood planer to shave off wood quickly or sand down uneven edges with coarse-grit sandpaper, such as 60-grit or coarser.

If you want to make a fun children's play table from a stump in your yard, sand and polish a stump that's still in the ground. Find two more stump pieces that are slightly smaller. Sand and polish the smaller pieces to create two matching chairs for the table. However, even with a protective coating, a tree stump with roots in the ground will slowly decompose.

You might need to reapply the wax as often as once yearly to maintain the same protective finish on the wood.

How to Sand & Polish a Tree Stump

  1. 1.

    Cut the stump flush to the ground, if desired, or leave it in place if you want to create a stationary table. Allow the stump to dry out thoroughly; this may take several months if you're working with green wood. Wood shrinks as it loses moisture and the bark begins to separate from the internal wood layers.

  2. 2.

    Peel the bark off the stump to reveal the bare internal wood. In many cases, you can actually pull the bark off with your hands, but you might need to use a pry bar or chisel and hammer to take off the bark. If the bark doesn't come off easily with tools, give it more time to dry. Avoid digging into the wood with the tools so you don't add unattractive tool marks or destroy interesting wood patterns and insect markings on the wood.

  3. 3.

    Brush the stump with a stiff-bristled brush to remove any dirt and debris. Built up dirt in the cracks or around knots on the stump can be scraped out with a flat-head screwdriver.

  4. 4.

    Run medium to fine-grit sandpaper such as 180-grit up and down along the sides of the stump to follow the grain of the wood, advises Ask the Builder. Repeat this process on the top and bottom of the stump, following the rings of the stump as a guide for sanding. Sand the stump by hand or use a belt or palm sander. Continue sanding until you feel no rough spots when you run your hand across the wood. Brush the sawdust off the stump so you can see the progress.

  5. 5.

    Sand the sides and top of the stump with finer-grit sandpaper, such as 200-grit or finer, to achieve an even smoother finish, if desired.

  6. 6.

    Rub fine paste wax thoroughly over all sides of the stump, advises Family Handyman. Apply the wax with #0000 steel wool. Follow the grain on the sides and the top to avoid excess wax. Use just enough wax to thoroughly coat the wood. Allow the wax to set on the wood for about 30 minutes or overnight, if desired. A longer wait time results in harder wax, which becomes more difficult to remove as it hardens.

  7. 7.

    Rub the stump along the grains, using a clean soft cloth such as microfiber cloth, to remove the excess wax. If you applied too much wax, use #0000 steel wool to buff off the excess.

  8. 8.

    Apply a second and third coat of wax over the wood, if desired, using a clean cloth to apply a very light wax coating. Allow the wax to set for at least one hour or overnight. Buff the wax with a clean cloth. Additional wax coats are optional, but can be added until the desired finish is achieved.

    Things You Will Need
    • Chainsaw or hand saw (optional)

    • Pry bar (optional)

    • Chisel and hammer (optional)

    • Stiff-bristled brush

    • Flat-head screwdriver

    • 180-grit sandpaper

    • Palm sander or belt sander (optional)

    • 200-grit sandpaper (optional)

    • Fine paste wax

    • Microfiber cloth


  • Ask the Builder: Tips on How to Sand Wood
  • Family Handyman; Wood Finishing Tips: How to Renew a Finish


  • You can start with coarser grit sandpaper than 180-grit, but this removes more of the wood at once, which can sand off the natural details in the wood.
  • The top and bottom of the stump must be level to be used as a table. You can use a wood planer to shave off wood quickly or sand down uneven edges with coarse-grit sandpaper, such as 60-grit or coarser.
  • If you want to make a fun children's play table from a stump in your yard, sand and polish a stump that's still in the ground. Find two more stump pieces that are slightly smaller. Sand and polish the smaller pieces to create two matching chairs for the table. However, even with a protective coating, a tree stump with roots in the ground will slowly decompose.
  • You might need to reapply the wax as often as once yearly to maintain the same protective finish on the wood.

Writer Bio

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

we create a coffee table from a stump with our own hands - INMYROOM

Interior decor

Eco-style furniture is incredibly popular, but very expensive. In our master class, we will tell you in detail how to make a trendy table from a stump with your own hands for a minimum of funds

Nowadays, eco-style furniture and decor are becoming increasingly popular. Natural materials are used in the interiors of ultra-modern houses and apartments, but such decorative elements are very expensive.

For example, the cost of famous Ullat tables and cabinets from Bleu Nature in Moscow reaches up to $2,000. funds.

The first step is to find a suitable stump. It's not that hard to get it.

  • Ask the owners of country houses you know - they may have left whole parts of the tree for firewood.
  • There are many firewood companies, you can ask them
  • Finally, you can go to the nearest forest with a saw, select a well-preserved fallen tree and cut it.

If the stump is very fresh, you will have to wait until it dries. This may take a couple of months. Place the stump in a dry room, lifting it up with stands. If you are sure that your stump has been a green tree for a long time, you can skip this step. If the bark easily moves away from the trunk, the stump is ready for processing.

Carefully remove the bark from the stump using a chisel, pry bar or chisel.

Now we need to align our future table.

Brush off dust and debris from the floor and use a spirit level to find a level area. Then install the stump on this area and use the same level to check how even it is.

If the surface is curved, smooth it out with a plane - just grind off the protruding edge.

After this, the surface should be smoothed by removing the traces of the planer with a grinder or coarse-grained sandpaper.

After the cut is sufficiently even and smooth, put the barrel on its side and start sanding.

The easiest and fastest way is to use a disc sander, in extreme cases you can get by with a normal sandpaper, but it will take much more time and effort.

After processing the side surfaces, it is necessary to clean the cracks from dirt and dust.

It's great if your stump has an imperfect, interesting texture created by knots and cracks. Use a chisel or chisel to gently scrape away any remaining dirt from the stump without damaging the wood structure.

Fold up a piece of sandpaper and carefully sand the inside of the cracks. Then clean the cracks from dust and dust with a vacuum cleaner.

It's time to put the stump back on its feet!

In our example, these special furniture stands are used. You can use any other or, for example, furniture wheels.

There are two reasons to use such "legs":

1) it will protect your floor from scratches;

2) by lifting the stump off the ground, you create air circulation, which will not allow your table to rot.

Now our future table is ready for varnishing.

This example uses Minwax's Polycrylic. In Russia, such protective coatings are also called scuba diving. You can use any water-based varnish suitable for woodworking, and the color will depend on your preference: you can whiten your table or, conversely, paint it in a coffee shade. Our master heroes have chosen a natural transparent tone.

However, after applying the first coat, the surface still darkened a little.

After applying the first layer, let our stump dry for at least half an hour (the time depends on your varnish, pay attention to the label). After that, you need to go over the entire surface with fine-grained sandpaper (our heroes use grit 320).

Sanding is a very important part for the final result. Before this, it is necessary to carefully remove all dust so that subsequent layers lie more evenly.

For a good result, you must apply at least 4 coats of lacquer. It sounds laborious, but it is the first layer that takes the most time, after which things will go much faster. After the last layer, leave the stump to dry without sanding it.

Almost done! But pay attention to this brilliance.

It does not look very modern and is more suitable for the interior of a summer house. The final polishing will help to get rid of the shine and give our table a finished look. Our heroes use a soft abrasive fiber (NShM - non-woven grinding material). You can find a similar one at a hardware store, or you can use any other polishing material.

Our table is finally ready to be used for its intended purpose.

These are the tables you can get using white aqua varnish in several layers.

And of course, no one forbids painting the stump in the desired color after applying a primer or primer to get, for example, such an ultra-modern table.

How to uproot a stump without effort quickly with your own hands

There are old stumps in almost every area. They not only make it difficult to use the entire usable area, but also pose a serious threat. Pests and various bugs, fungi and mold can settle in them. All this is harmful not only to the soil and garden plantings, but also to the health of land owners. Trusting the sawing of the trees themselves is only for professionals, for example, the company that is represented on the page But it is not necessary to call a special technique to get rid of the stump. There are many simple ways to carry out uprooting quickly and without outside help.

Useful chemistry

In order to remove the remnants of a tree, especially a large and mature enough tree, considerable physical strength is required. You can simplify the task by using solutions of chemicals that are freely sold in pharmacies and household stores. Like any organic matter, wood decomposes quickly under the influence of caustic agents. Among the most effective are:

  • potassium nitrate;
  • salt;
  • urea.

Salt can only be applied immediately after sawing, after which it will not affect the tree. Coarse salt should be poured onto a fresh open surface to form a dense layer. If there is no rain for several days, you can moisten artificially. The procedure is carried out continuously for about a month. Salt solution will corrode the remains even inside the soil, it will not be difficult to remove them.

Potassium nitrate can be used on any stump. In his body, you need to drill holes of large diameter with a depth of at least 30 centimeters in the amount of one piece for every 10 square centimeters. Pour warm water inside, wait about an hour, and then tamp the saltpeter. You need to add the drug for at least 3 days in a row to fill all the voids. It is better to do this in the fall, when it is already colder. When the stump is prepared in this way, it must be wrapped with a film in several layers and left until spring. During this time, it will dry out, it remains either to burn the wood, or simply remove it with an ordinary crowbar.

Water or fire

Some property owners are reluctant to use chemicals, even safe ones. This is especially justified if the groundwater is high, nourishes the plants and can spread the remains of the used formulations over the entire planting area. Then it is better to use mechanical methods. A safe option is to wash out the base with water under pressure. All you need is a hose for this. Dig in the area around the stump a little, opening access to the main processes. Under high pressure, wash the base with water until the lateral small roots separate. You can leave the stump for a day after the procedure, if it is not too hot outside. Moisture will weaken the adhesion to the soil, soften the wood. It remains only to cut the main roots and pull out the stump. It won't be hard to do that.

If water is supplied on schedule and under low pressure, as in garden associations, it is better to resort to fire. It is also necessary to drill large holes in the stump. Pour ignition fluid into them, observing safety precautions. Then just set it on fire. In the first few minutes, the process must be supported, since the wood is still damp and the air supply is limited. But then the fire will grow. In about a day, only useful ash will remain from the stump, which can be used as fertilizer.


The soil around the tree must be cleared of plants and thoroughly watered to prevent the spread of fire.

It is even easier to get rid of stumps if they are from crops that do not grow. These are some garden species, as well as deciduous and coniferous plants. In this case, you need to cut off the protruding part, level the level with the ground with a crowbar or an ax. Sprinkle soil on top, you can plant a lawn or lay decorative moss. The stump will not interfere with anything, a new tree will not grow, shoots will not appear either. And after 5-7 years, with regular rains, nothing will remain of the wood, it will be possible to plant new horticultural crops in the same place.

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