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How to Make your Very Own DIY Stump Table

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Yep! You read that correctly. This is a story all about this log. Okay, it’s really about how to Make your Very Own DIY Stump Table. Scandinavian design is all the rage these days and this is one way to get that look for a LOT less money…

Here’s what you need to make your own log or stump table!

How To Make a DIY Log Side Table

You’ve seen them before – those rustic side tables in the high end and fancy stores. If you can find a solid wood one for less than $250, you’re getting a deal and they just get more expensive from there.

Well, this log was cut from a tree in the yard of a friend of ours who’s building a new garage on his property. One fine Saturday morning, we trekked over to the other side of the harbour to pick it up in all its stumpy glory.  πŸ™‚ It’s maple and it’s heavy as you-know-what. My guess is somewhere around 75 pounds.Log Side Table BEFORE

We decided to turn it into one of those high-end stump tables. And in so doing, we learned why those stump tables cost so much dang money. This process is dead easy, but it’s labour-intensive and LONG.

First of all, we had to let the stump dry out. It was still dripping sap when we got it home. So we let it sit in the garden room for a few weeks, but realized that it was too humid in there. So we moved it to the studio right beside a baseboard heater.Strip the Bark off the Log

As it dried, we’d pick at it with a chisel and a hammer. Here’s what it looked like after we both chiseled at the dry bark for about 10 minutes a couple of times over the course of a couple of weeks. As you can see, still a long way to go.Turn a Stump into a Rustic Table DIY

Basically, what this looooong step was doing was letting air get at the bark and dry things out a little faster. About eight weeks after we first picked the log up,  we got to the point where we could flip it upright and start going at the entire layer of bark.

How to get the bark off a log

Unfortunately, the best way to do this is right on the floor – so it’s not knee-friendly at all. Erin would do 15 minutes. Then we’d flip it over and I would do another 15 minutes.  (Repeat about 18 times… told ya – LOOOOOOONG process.) The challenge was to chip away at the bark, without scoring and marking the nice wood underneath.

At some point, I had the brilliant idea to switch to using a rubber mallet. GENIUS. Best $11 we ever spent. It didn’t make as much noise as banging away with a hammer, and was easier to control. We were quite surprised by the ‘brightness’ of the white maple. But we’ve read that it will fade with time and the tone will naturally even out. Then we sanded. And sanded. And sanded.

When the spiky and rough bits were gone and the log was silky smooth, we applied two thin coats of Polycrylic. We know that we’ll have to add more sealant every week for the next few months – but we still want it to breath because there’s definitely still some moisture deep in the core of the log that we don’t want to trap.How to take the bark off a log to make a side table

In this shot, you can see how just removing the bark has caused the log to naturally split. Our research also indicates this will continue to happen. So that’s why these log tables take SOOOO long to actually finish. πŸ™‚

UPDATE! We’ve finished the log table πŸ™‚ Here’s the continuation of this post:

How to turn a log into a Scandinavian style Hygge side table


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