DIY Tree Trunk Side Table

The inspiration for this project was a long time coming. My parents live in a log cabin in Texas, so growing up I learned to appreciate a large FREE piece of lumber. When most people see an uprooted tree sliced into pieces by the side of the road they don’t think FURNITURE, but I do! My husband knows all too well even a cut down or uprooted tree “needs rescuing.”

Not long ago I was asked by a sweet couple to help them with a bedroom makeover. When designing their space I wanted an earthy element incorporated into the decor so when I happened upon this stump I got inspired. The most difficult part of crafting with a tree trunk is the sheer weight of the lumber. If you find a stump that is just too large, too heavy or too tall, the best solution is to cut it to size using a chainsaw. This may sound a bit barbaric, but trust me it’s worth it in the end!

When your trunk is cut to size put it somewhere shielded from the weather, like a garage, and let it sit for about a month or two. This is the most important step of the process because as your stump sits the wood will continue to dry. As the wood drys, the bark will begin to separate. There are some woods which keep their bark so if you are wanting a live edge look, you might consult Google about type of wood you are working with. If you aren’t sure, let the stump sit and you will find your answer. You will then want to cut the trunk into the desired size for your side table using the chainsaw. I tend to think the thicker the better so my side tables are about 12-14 inches tall.

Flake off any remaining bark and sand down the surface. I like to use 80 grit sandpaper for this project. Once the stump is smooth, wipe off the sawdust and brush on a wood conditioner. This helps give the wood an even base should you decide to stain it. The conditioner will also reveal the true colors of the wood and you might like the wood as is! I loved the natural color so after the wood conditioner dried, I coated the log in polyurethane. Any surface which could be used to hold a hot dish or cold glass I give an extra protective coat or two, just for safe measure.

If your stumps are shorter you might need to add some height, in which case I would recommend metal hairpin legs. I think the sleek base compliments the heaviness of the wood. You can find hairpin legs at Hobby Lobby, Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, even Walmart. These metal legs come in a variety of sizes depending upon your desired table height. Simply screw the hairpin legs into the base of the stump and TA-DAH!

NOTE: Consider the height of the log when measuring for table legs

Share your thoughts or questions!