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Stumped

6.28.2011

Do you ever come up with an idea that you think is awesome but everyone you tell about it thinks it sounds stupid?

Yeah this was this project.  Luckily my husband loves me enough to spend a lot of time on a project which he was convinced was going to flop.  Who needs diamonds when you have DIY?

Back to the beginning…..

I wanted a side table next to the rocker in the nursery to be able to set things like drinks, burp cloths, cell phone etc.  Problem was we did not have a lot of space.

shelf DIY

I looked high and low for a small side table that would fit and not looked too cramped.  And not be breakable.

This search took awhile and I almost did a ceramic garden stool because of the correct size and shape, but it was pretty light and would be easily knocked over and shattered.  It was during this search that I came up with the idea of a stump table.

Not that it was an original idea….West Elm sells one for $200 and Mrs. Brooklyn Limestone made one herself.  So why did every time I mention it to someone did I get this reaction…”A Stump?  Really?”

Even from my husband.  But being the good sport he is, he proceeded with the project as long as he “had veto power in the end”

Yeah!

So first task….finding a stump.  Hmmmmm.  Derek called lumber yards and tree removal places but was not very successful.  (Again, he must love me since I know he got a lot of incredulous “you wanna buy a stump???!” when he made these phone calls. Hasn’t anyone seen the West Elm catalog recently?)  So far no stump.  Maybe it was not meant to be.

Then on the Friday before Easter, a tornado hit very close to my parent’s house in St. Louis.  Miraculously no one was hurt. But by close I mean the damage started 6 houses from the entrance to my parent’s subdivision.  Scary stuff.  Their house had zero damage, but  they kept telling me that I just needed to come visit because there were tons of stumps everywhere around them. 

I laughed it off because I knew that they thought the stump table was dumb and was I really going to take advantage of a natural disaster to get my table?

But then we came into town a week or two later (unrelated to the stump I swear)….and they were right… there were stumps sitting by the road everywhere, just waiting for the city to pick them up and dispose of them.

I was still a little iffy on the tornado stump.  But from my parent’s perspective it was going to be gotten rid of anyway and a stump from there would have meaning unlike a random piece of wood from a lumber yard.  Like being thankful…and making sure you head to the basement when the tornado sirens go off.

So while I was napping, Derek did a little stump recognizance to find the perfect specimen and the stump was buckled in the backseat on the way home.  Would have been weird to explain that one if we had gotten pulled over.

The stump in all it’s glory.

Stump

Now what we he did to it to make it table-like:

1.  Using a crowbar and hammer remove all the bark.  According to Derek, this step was pretty easy.

Stump

2.  If your stump is uneven or too tall, even it out the best you can with taking off slices with a chain saw.

3.  The longest part…..sand.  And then sand some more.  And when you think you are done sanding do it again.

Stump

For this project, we became the proud owners of a belt sander.  Which I was told made the sanding go so much faster than an orbital sander.  He started with a lower grit sand paper and moved up to a finer grit to make it smooth.  He sanded it while the wood was still considered “green” as it had only been cut down at this point for a couple of weeks.

4.  Add wheels for easier movement (stumps are heavy) to help level it even more.  He used washers to help achieve this.

stump

5.  Since our wood was still green, we let it then sit in the space for a couple of months to dry out with plastic underneath in case it dropped sap.  As it dried it starting to develop cracks and the grain became more apparent….yeah!

stump

6.  You could leave it the natural stump color, but I knew I wanted it darker to match the other wood in the space.  But I was not sure how long had to wait for it to dry before it would accept stain.  We were at 2 months.  Google did not give me a definite answer, so I decided to test some colors and see how it took it on the bottom.

stump

It sucked it right up, so I decided to go ahead with the stain.  Worse case scenario, it looks awful and Derek can just sand it again.  I kid.

Derek gave it one final sand with a very fine sandpaper and I stained it with MinWax Jacobean. 

And this is what we came up with-

stump

stump

I love that it is not perfect and adds a rustic element.  And it is the perfect size and height for the chair.

stump

I am going to add polyurethane to protect it in the next couple of months, but for now I think it still needs to breathe and dry before I seal it.  Since I am a wood expert and all.  In the meantime we will protect the finish something on top like a piece of glass. 

And I am happy to report that “veto power” was not needed.  Which is good since he would have wasted all of that sanding for nothing.  And we got a new belt sander out of the deal.

25 comments on "Stumped"
  1. The stump side table looks cute - perfect fit in the space

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  2. LOVE it! A stump table is a great idea, and you guys did an awesome job. What a great addition to the room, and a much better story than just dropping money at the store.

    I'd be tempted to salvage a bunch more tornado stumps for patio stools and tables, too!

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  4. Great use of something that would have been "disposed" of anyway. That tree is WAY happier being a table than a pile of mulch!! ;-) Oh, and if you been pulled over with it buckled in the backseat you could have just said "well we're going to have a baby and we just wanted to practice with something that wouldn't break." LOL

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  5. Way to go with your gut instinct!

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  6. What a perfect solution! Definitely meant to be. : ) I'm in love with that rocker, too.

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  7. I have been trying to convince my hubby of DIYing a stump end table for a while now. -I know the exact looks you've been getting.

    Yours looks so great, perhaps this will convince him. :)

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  8. That's just too cool! I'm going to have to find a space for one of those. The nursery is lovely, btw.

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  9. Grrrrrrrrr...I wished I had one speck of creativity that you do. The stump table ROCKS, I am in love with it. In my baby son's room we have a "table" that's much too tall and can fall over easily if someone decided to lean on it...all because I finally gave up looking for just the right table.

    Oh, and I think you may (or may not?!) live in or around where we live...KC area?

    Keep up the great posts, although once the babe gets here I'm sure you'll slow them down a bit and rightly so!

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  10. I love it. Of course, I do. And I say things that people tell me are crazy all the time. But, then I say BOO YAH when I was right.

    So, you can say BOO YAH now, but not to hubby since he did all that work for you.

    It looks really great. I have tons of stumps around, too bad you weren't closer. I had tons of them for my Twilight party a few years ago. Can't bear to get rid of them.

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  11. Oh my! That is so impressive and creative! And your husband is supper patient. I laughed at the visual image of it buckled in.

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  12. You have done such a great job out there. thanks for sharing :)
    www.madebygirl.com
    madebygirl.blogspot.com

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  13. I didn't think I could love this nursery any more..but this stump is such a nice little finishing touch!! Take that non-believers. :P

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  14. Gorgeous! This stump rocks! Your nursery makes me drool a little.
    Your blog is my favorite because of DIY's like these! And your gorgeous garden. Keep it up!

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  15. Great idea! It fits perfectly in that spot!

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  16. I understand what you mean when everyone looks at you like you have a stupid idea and it wont turn out and then it turns out just as fabulous if not better than you imagined. I love this idea. It looks great and I am sure it will get alot of use.

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  17. Oh Jenny - I LOVE it!!!! I have been wanting to make one for myself since I started seeing them all over the place a year or so ago but it seemed like a pretty daunting project. But you (and Derek!) make it look so easy. Now I just need to go on a stump hunt! I love how it adds a natural element to your nursery. And what a great story you will have to tell the baby.

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  18. Your nursery is coming together beautifully! I love it and how much creativity, thought, and love has been put in it. I often have ideas that look great in my mind and over time I've learned that I need to hit up google or pinterest to affirm my awesomeness of my ideas before I do them so they dont look silly :)

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  19. Such a great idea! Kudos to you for trying it just to see.

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  20. That was the perfect solution! It looks great.

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  21. It is more of a log than a stump. I can see why no one was able to sell you one. A stump would have some roots coming out of the bottom.

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  22. I love it. I actually loved it blonde wood, too!

    Great job, hubs!

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  23. Thanks for the idea! I saw something similar in a store once, though I think the bark was still on that one. We're having a tree taken down soon :( and this would be a great way to reuse some of it. Also, congratulations on the baby. He's a cutie!!

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  24. I have been wanting three of these for a large empty wall....for art/take your shoes off and stay a while stools/ extra seating in living room for entertainment. Finding the stumps and getting help from the hubby has been my problem. Solution may be bribery with a sawzall and belt sander lol ;). Thanks for the inspiration!

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