How to make a tree stump chair

How to Make a Tree Stump Table


If you've ever thought about making a tree stump table, fall is a good time to actually do it. That's right. It's tree stump season! Fall sees a lot of firewood deliveries and trees coming down in storms which gives you, the intrepid reclaimer, easy access to tree trunks. Let's get started.

You can control the height of your table with the legs you choose for it.

10 years ago I made a tree stump table. It got shared, copied and posted about so much it's one of 3 posts that I consider to have kickstarted my blogging career (thanks in part to Design*Sponge loving it too.) That table still sits in my living room looking as good as the day I made it.

Stump tables, made out of tree trunks, are one part architectural piece, one part table, one part bugs. Don't worry. We'll get rid of the bugs.

The point is they aren't just a place to put your coffee, a stump table brings the outside in giving your room a cozy organic feel.

They can feel modern or completely hygge and organic. It depends on how you finish them.

DIY stump table made with tree trunk.

FYI! You can also use these as bases for a stump table with a glass top.

These two tree stump ideas are for using them indoors and no chain saws are involved.

I'll show you how to make an unfinished table that's similar to the famous Crate and Barrel tree stump table and a finished one that sits on tall legs.

First the finished stump table that's on legs.

Table of Contents

  1. Tree stump
  2. Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  3. Polyurethane (high gloss, semi-gloss, satin … whichever you want) I used satin which has just a nice sheen
  4. Paint brush
  5. 1 package of 4, 6" Capita legs from Ikea (these legs aren't available at Ikea anymore but they ARE available on Amazon.)
  6. Drill and appropriate bits

First things first. You have to get yourself a tree stump.

Where to find a tree stump?

Keep your eye out for city workers or private tree companies taking down trees. Pull over, ask them if you an have a section of a branch if they're big or the stump. Simple as that.

Call up places near you that sell firewood. They advertise a lot during this time of year so they'll be easy to find. That's what makes fall tree stump season!

I got my stump delivered with my yearly wood order.

How big should it be?

It depends if you want your table to be on legs or sit directly on the floor. I like the look of legs.
Your legs will be 6 inches high, so figure out how tall your stump needs to be for where you want to put it.

Generally you're going to want a tall tree stump for this.

If your sofa has arms at 25" and you want it to be around level with the arms, then you need a stump that's 18" tall.
My stump is 15" across by 18" high, with the 6" legs it's a total of 24" high. This brings it to just below the arm of my sofa.


Step 1 DRY IT

Allow your stump to dry out for at least a month. It’ll lose several pounds and the bark will loosen, making step 2 easier.

Coincidentally if you allow yourself to dry out for a month you’ll lose several pounds too.

You can dry the stump outside for a couple of months, then bring it inside for a couple of weeks.
If your stump was already cut and dried from wherever you got it, you can just bring it inside for a couple of weeks.


Now the work begins. You have to remove the bark. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes it isn't.
The first stump table I made was from Oak. The bark just pulled off with my hands.

The second stump table I made was from Walnut. The bark was a nightmare to remove. I needed an array of tools and a 14' length of prayer beads.

To remove the stump's bark, you'll need these tools to do it:

A Hammer

A Prybar


After your stump has dried inside for a couple of weeks insert the prybar between the bark and the stump. Hammer it enough to loosen the wood then either keep hammering or pull the bark loose with your fingers. Keep doing this all the way around the stump until all the bark is off.

And yes, you do need to remove the bark. If you don't, over time it'll loosen and fall off on its own leaving you with a cruddy looking piece of crud as a table.

If the bark is particularly stubborn, like this stupid thing was ... do the same thing but with wood chisels. They're sharper and will cut through the fibres between the bark and the stump better than a prybar. Be careful not to hack into the wood with the chisel though.

Do not hack into yourself either. Wood chisels are sharp on all sides, not just the tips, so be careful.

Now your stump is cleaned of its bark.

When it's dried out the stump might split a bit like this. That's O.K. It adds character.

Step 3 - SAND IT

The stump now needs to be sanded to get all the little hairs and slivers off it.

You need a smooth stump. Use a variety of sandpaper grits to sand it smooth.

Start with the coarsest grit, gradually working your way to sanding the stump with the smoothest grit.

Get rid of all the hairs.

Sand until you can run your hand over the stump and it feels smooth.

Once your stump is smooth wipe over it with a damp, lint free cloth or a tack cloth.

A lot of wood dust will come off. Keep wiping until your cloth comes away clean.

Now flip your stump over and get ready for the fun part.


Get your pre-purchased legs. Like I said, mine are the Capita legs from Ikea which are soon to be discontinued. You can buy the exact Ikea Capita legs on Amazon though.

To make the end table more like the $900 Crate and Barrel one, ditch the long legs and use little bun feet like these instead. You'll also need a wider, more squat stump.

Each leg comes with a bracket that you screw into the base of your table.

Whatever kind of legs you get make sure the height is adjustable like these are. Adjustable legs on the table means you can make sure it's level without having to squish up a folded up piece of paper. Or if you're a certain age and type - a book of matches.

Don't forget. Adjustable legs are the way to make sure your stump table is level.

Place your legs on the underside of your stump. You can use all 4 legs or just 3. I'm partial to 3, but 4 is definitely more stable.

Use a measuring tape to make sure they're an equal distance apart.

Once you have the legs positioned, mark the holes in the plates with either a pencil or a marker.

Remove the legs and fit your drill with the appropriate sized drill bit.

Pre-drill holes at the spots you marked for the screws.

Once all your holes are predrilled, place your legs and brackets back on and screw them into place.

To make my life easier, I put all my screws into a little dish. Don't question it. Just do it.

Now all your legs are on!


If there are any sections where you accidentally took too much of the wood off (it's lighter underneath) you can skim over it with some stain. I have a whack of different cans of stain so I picked the one I thought would match the best.

Appropriately, it was "Walnut" stain for this walnut stump.

Just wipe it onto the light portion of your wood with some paper towel. It just darkens it up enough to make it blend in a little better. There will still be a colour variation, just not quite as distinct. Again, the look and colour and grain will be different depending on what type of wood stump you're working with.

The staining is a matter of choice. On my first stump table I didn't do it ... on this one I did.
Let your stain soak in and dry.


Now you have to seal all that hard work in.

To stop your stump from drying out even more and to keep it from getting marked on top when you put things down on it you should seal your tree stump.

You can use any wood sealer. If you want a completely natural look I'd recommend sealing it with Thompsons Water Seal which will give the look of having no finish on it at all. Just remember that Thompsons Water Seal is water based which means it can only go on natural wood or wood that has been stained with a water based stain.

I used an oil based Polyurethane to make my stump top as durable as possible. I tend to be a bit spilly and bangy.

If you're using an oil based finish use a natural bristle brush.

Seal the whole stump.

Seal the top, sides and bottom of the stump with 2-3 coats.

The top of the stump will get really dark, but it'll lighten up once the finish sinks in and dries.


After your first coat dries, gently sand off any burrs and bumps.

The sanding will leave the finish with a white haze. Don't worry about it. It'll go away once you apply another coat of finish. Seal the sides and underside again 1-2 more times according to the manufacturer's directions.

Your stump may need up to 6 coats on the top. Because of the open grain, the finish soaks into the top a lot more and requires more coats. Always let your finish dry the recommended amount of time in between coats.

Once you've completed all coats of finish you're done.

Want to paint it?

If you're rather have a painted stump table, after sanding and wiping it apply a coat of primer. Once the primer has dried you can paint it with either water based or oil based paint.


  • Tree stump (your choice for size)
  • Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  • Polyurethane (high gloss, semi-gloss, satin … whichever you want) I used satin which has just a nice sheen
  • Paint brush
  • 1 package of 4, 6" Capita legs from Ikea (or similar)


  • Drill


Get your stump and allow it to dry out for at least a month. It will lose weight over this period and the bark will shrink away from the wood.

If you let your stump dry outside, as opposed to inside you'll still need to let it dry out inside for another couple of weeks to acclimatize it.

Once the stump has dried out remove the bark from it using a prybar and a hammer to chisel it away. Be careful not to gouge the wood stump.

If the bark is difficult to get off let it dry longer or carefully use a chisel with a hammer to remove it.

Sand your stump to get it smooth and then run over it with a tack cloth or damp cloth to remove any sawdust.

Flip the stump over so you're working on the underside of it and screw in the legs. Pre-drill your screw holes and make sure to measure so your legs are equal distances apart.

Stain and seal the table if desired.


If you want a very natural look to your stump, use a water based stain followed by Thompson's Water seal.

For optimal protection and a bit of a sheen on your stump use an oil based stain and a Polyurethane finish in satin.

Recommended Products

I'm an Amazon affiliate some I get a few cents when you buy something I've linked to.


Unfinished stump table

This is pretty obvious, but if you'd rather make a more natural looking log side table, just skip adding stain and any finish to it.

For an even more organic look, leave the legs off of it.

To make one just find a log, let it dry out, then sand it smooth.

What types of wood can you use to make a stump table?

Wood from deciduous trees: Ash, black walnut, birch, cypress, cherry, elm, maple and oak are all good choices.

You should AVOID conifers. Those trees that have resin that are a sticky mess. Trees like cedar, fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce, yew, larch should not be used. (think of how sticky the bottom of a Christmas tree is after cutting it)

The only drawback to these tables? Everyone is going to want you to make them one. So you can either start a blog, get a following, contemplate quitting, keep at it, and then one day write a post about how to build a stump table that you can tell them about.

Or you can just skip all that and direct them to this post instead.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

DIY Fire Pit Log Stump Stools

If you burn wood in your fire pit, you have the makings of DIY fire pit log stump stool – the firewood logs themselves. From the most basic to the most clever, fire pit log stump stools capture the essence and simplicity of gathering around a fire. Here are directions for making a variety of DIY fire pit log stump stools.

Tips for Log Stump Stools

  • Use well-dried, seasoned logs to avoid seating with sticky sap.
  • A comfortable seating height for adults is 18 inches. Children’s log stump stools can  be shorter.
  • When you place your stump seating around the fire pit, consider whether you want it close enough to reach the edges of the fire when roasting marshmallows or hot dogs.

The Most Basic Fire Pit Log Stump Stools

Take a log  at least 12 inches in diameter. Stools 14 to 16 inches in diameter are more comfortable. Chainsaw it at a 90 degree angle at both ends to create an 18 inches tall stump stool. Sand to remove any splinters on the seating top. That’s it! Make more and circle your fire pit area. Instant fire pit log seats!


If you want log stools without any of the work, you can purchase them ready-made:


Painted Fire Pit Log Stump Stools

Turn the most basic of log stump seats into WOW stump seats with the addition of glow-in-the-dark paints.  Paint the tops with at least two coats of self-luminous (not black light) paint.  The seats will need to be in sunlight during the day to recharge the paint. At night they will look almost like the Tree Ring lights below by Justin Beaumont for Straight Line Designs.


Bark-Free Log Stump Stools

Do you prefer the look – or the feel –  of smooth, bark-free log stump stools? The Art of Doing Stuff shared how to remove bark from logs to create stump seating or a log table:




Derriere Care with Log Stump Stools

Now let’s consider comfort. There are two basic ways to make a log stump seat more fanny friendly. One way is to sand out a scooped area in the middle of the top of the log that more or less matches our seated anatomy. The Hug by Emo uses this concept. Note that they have also drilled a hole all the way through the log and added a nifty carrying rope handle.

A second way to add comfort is to add a softer top, something to cushion your fire pit log seat. The 15 3/4 inch diameter, 2 3/4 inch high tree soft plush seat cushion is ideal. Attach it to the stump with sticky back Velcro so it doesn’t slip off the stump. Your stump will need to be at least 16 inches wide for these tree-ring like cushions.



Or you can create and attach your own cushion with an outdoor, waterproof fabric in a solid or print and a foam cushion.

Attach it with sticky back Velcro, staple gun  or  upholstery tacks.


Here are instructions by HaHappenings for a cushioned log stool seat:

Or cut out a circle of waterproof fabric larger than the diameter of your stump stool. Add elastic toward the edge of the circle so it looks like a large shower cap. Place a round foam cushion on the stump stool, and cover the whole top including the cushion with the elasticized circle.



More Complex Fire Pit Log Stump Stools

Here’s a way to make a log stool with more than one log: Collect smaller diameter, straight logs that are all the same length. They should be about 18 inches long. Birch logs make especially visually pleasing log stools.

Completely fill a square or rectangular container such as a large milk crate with the logs, all the log ends sticking up.

Experiment with the logs you have to get the tightest fit. Then remove one log at a time, and use a glue gun to glue it to the adjoining ones until they are all one mass. It will look somewhat like the one below from Michael Scott.

Alternatively, you can purchase these teak cubes already made and use them as stools or end tables:

Other ready-to-order log or log-look stools include the following:

Resin Logs Stool for Indoor or Outdoor Use


Outward-Facing Logs Stool, 14 by 18 inches


Log Chunks Stool, 12 by 18 inches


Fire pit log stump stools can also be used, of course, as end tables or individual dining tables!




Last updated by Susan at .

About Susan

Susan shares ways to make homes, especially those with fireplaces, renewing spaces for families. When not writing for, she can often be found by a fireplace with a book in hand.

stump accessories and furniture

Eco-style interior design will probably never lose its relevance. Residents of large cities with their frantic pace of life often seek to create an island of calm and relaxation at home, choosing natural materials, natural color palette and decorative elements created by nature for decoration. A special place is occupied by accessories and furniture made of stumps and tree trunks. Let's see examples of the use of solid pieces of wood in the interiors of apartments of different styles.


  1. Furniture from stumps and saw cuts of solid wood
    • how to make a table from a stump with your own hands
    • tables and cabinets
    • chairs and stools
  2. Tree trunk vases
  3. Stump lamps

Furniture from stumps and saw cuts of solid wood

Stumps are an excellent material for making stylish, inexpensive and completely unique furniture with your own hands, because in nature there are no two absolutely identical trees. Such stump furniture will fit into almost any interior, whether it be light classics or country, Scandinavian style or minimalism, loft or industrial. If the stump is painted in glossy or metallic shades, then even high-tech can organically accommodate such an object. A processed saw cut of a tree trunk or stump can become a comfortable coffee table in the living room, a bedside table in the bedroom, stools in the kitchen, or a table in the bathroom. Most often in the interior, the stump is used as a cabinet or table.

How to make a table from a stump with your own hands

First, find a suitable stump to create a table or cabinet. It is not so difficult even if you are a purely city dweller without a summer residence. Firstly, there are a lot of companies that deal with wood - logging, sawmills, and so on, you can buy a saw cut of a tree of the right size from them. Secondly, we advise you to interview all acquaintances and friends who have dachas or relatives in the villages, they probably have firewood or uprooted stumps. And thirdly, you can take a saw, go to the nearest forest, find a fallen tree and cut it into pieces.

The stump must be dry but not rotten. If the bark is easy enough to move away from the trunk, then such a stump can be used. If you find fresh wood, you need to let it dry. Leave such a stump for a month or two in a warm and dry room.

The bark must be removed from the trunk. To do this, take a chisel or chisel and carefully, using a hammer, detach the bark.

If you plan to use the stump not just as a decorative item, but as a functional piece of furniture, you need to level it. Using the building level, check how smooth your workpiece is. If the surface of the stump is sloped, level it with a planer.

Sand the section of the stump and sidewall with a sander or by hand with sandpaper.

Well, if the stump has an interesting natural texture with knots, cracks and chips. After you have processed and sanded the entire surface of the stump, clean the cracks from small chips and dust. To do this, you can use both locksmith tools, a rag, and a regular vacuum cleaner.

Any stump or cut of a log is beautiful in its natural state. But you can paint the stump any color (after a coat of primer), apply patterns with a brush or stencil, or at least open with varnish or apply a water-repellent impregnation for wood. The latter is especially true if your future table will be actively used outdoors or in a room with high humidity, such as a bathroom. Remember that even one layer of varnish will darken the wood a little. It is recommended to apply two or three coats of water-based varnish, and after the last coat has dried, polish with a soft abrasive fiber.

This stump table can simply be placed on the floor. You can also use shortened legs from old tables or a stool, wheels or special stands. By the way, the use of legs, firstly, will protect your floor from scratches, and secondly, it will lift the stump and ensure air circulation, which is important for the long service life of such furniture.

Stump cabinets and tables in the interior

Look at different variants of stump tables and cabinets in the interior.

Stump tables in natural form with minimal processing (click to enlarge):

Stump tables painted:

Stools and chairs and stumps in the interior

There is practically no difference between a table and a stump stool. But it is obvious that sitting on a stump is not very comfortable. In order to make the stump a comfortable stool or footstool, you can simply place a pillow on it. You can also make soft upholstery with filler and attach logs to the surface. Having a backrest will make the stump chair even more comfortable. Designers and carpenters cut such a chair from a single piece of wood using a chainsaw with subsequent processing. Some examples of the use of stumps as seats can be seen below.

Stump and tree trunk vases

Stump vases will be a great addition to any interior. A bouquet of fresh flowers or a houseplant in a cache-pot or vase of natural origin looks very beautiful and harmonious. For vases, parts of the trunk of small trees are often used, and the bark of the tree in such products is sometimes left for a more natural, natural appearance.

To make such a wooden vase or planter, find a suitable part of a dry tree trunk. Remove the bark with a chisel or leave it on.

The main task of the whole project is to make a hole in the barrel for the container. Decide what you will put in the middle - a flower pot or a glass jar. Mark a circle on the log cut with a diameter 3-5 mm larger than the diameter of the widest part of the container. Next, you have several options for how to make a hole in a log.

You can use a drill bit for round holes or a hole saw for wood - fast and convenient, but the method is suitable for shallow holes, for small jars or candles.

The second method is more labor intensive. Drill a lot of holes around the circumference with a drill, and then use a chisel and hammer to knock out the core. The hole will not turn out perfectly round and even, but any size and depth that you wish.

Wood can be painted, water-repellent or water-repellent. In case you use a stump as a candlestick, be extremely careful with fire.

Several options for candlesticks and vases from a tree trunk - below.

Stump lamps

Stumps in the interior can serve as extraordinary lamps. Duncan Meerding, a visually impaired designer and artist from Australia, creates unique lighting systems from sawn wood. Inside a wooden block with through cracks, LED lamps are placed that emit warm light. Such stump lamps can simultaneously serve as tables, cabinets, and stools. Especially relevant is the use of such a multifunctional piece of furniture in the bedroom, where subdued lighting will act as a night light.

See also:

    • Bath faucets: stylish, comfortable, functional
    • Selection of quality office furniture
    • Top 7 Benefits of an Office Leather Chair
    • Review of designer sofa and other interesting furniture
    • Overview of quality upholstered furniture from Italy

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DIY garden table - easy ways to make furniture + Video

Garden tables and chairs - sit on a stump, eat a pie

Looking for simple solutions for garden furniture does not have to look far - before you make a garden table or chairs, look for all kinds of logs, beams and tree branches. From them you can make a lot of options for garden furniture, from a table to a hammock! And no obscure tools that you still need to learn how to use. All you need is a chainsaw or a regular hacksaw and sandpaper.

There are several options to make chairs or a bench from logs. If the log is long, one of its sides is sawn off, and a flat surface is formed, or it is sawn lengthwise into two even halves - then you will have two blanks for benches at once. If in the first case the log is thick enough, it does not even need legs.

Such a simple piece of garden furniture is almost ready - you just need to sand the surface and cover it with a deresining compound (a mixture of acetone and water in a ratio of 1:4), as well as an antiseptic and water-repellent varnish.

If the log is not too thick, or we cut it lengthwise into two halves, we will need two more small logs of the same diameter for each bench. In the logs, we cut out recesses under the log with the same chainsaw so that it does not roll down . Of course, the logs must be placed perpendicular to the upper part and put a half of the log in the recesses. That's all - our shop is ready! For greater stability, the “legs” can be slightly dug in or knocked out with pegs.

Garden chairs - putting together the details

And you probably already guessed how to make garden tables and chairs from stumps or logs. Actually, in the case of chairs, there is practically nothing to do here, just level and grind the surface on which they will sit, and dig a little into the ground for stability. But there are options here too - for example, to make a chair with a back from a long log. With a chainsaw, you only need to cut down unnecessary wood and level everything with sandpaper.

If there are no such logs, combine them with old chairs that have already fallen into disrepair. Take them apart - you need a back with back legs, which you will attach to the log with ordinary nails so that it is safe and comfortable to lean on. For more color, the log can be wrapped with a rope, then at first glance the guests will not understand what they are sitting on.

Do-it-yourself garden table - and no drawings needed

Do-it-yourself garden table can be built from the same hemp - of course, it does not need to be dug out. True, for this he still has to be in the right corner of the garden. But if everything coincided, you can not miss the opportunity! Depending on the diameter of the hemp, we will also build a tabletop - if the diameter is small, and the tabletop will be small, under the garden table for tea drinking. And if the diameter is solid and covers several boards for the countertop, then even a dining table will stand on such a basis!

You can also make a garden table out of bricks! Firstly, the natural material left not far from the tree, secondly, the brick is much more durable, and thirdly, there are plenty of remnants of this material after the construction of the house, which means that there are practically no costs, except for cement for mortar.

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