Friday, February 17, 2012

Completely Stumped

Based on a True Story
Scene 1:  House Party
This scene is set outdoors in a backyard with a patio area, people milling around, playing games, enjoying beverages.
Jasper*:  Hey! I haven't seen you in ages? How are you?!
Partygoer:  Good, I've been...
Jasper: OMG! Are those stumps stacked back there? OMG, I have to go check these out.
Jasper scampers off to the unlit recesses of the backyard.
Partygoer raises eyebrows.
*name has been changed because I'm that person would be so embarrassed.

I cannot tell you how excited I was that I was able to have my pick of some substantial stumps left from a tree that met a sad uprooted end in my friends' backyard during one of the worst storms of the year. Really, giddy.

I posted way back when about how I liked the look of wooden stools and wanted some others in the house. These stumps fit the bill and the price was right (hooray, freebies!)

I felt better about my social faux pax when I saw this listed on One Kings Lane some time later (for lots and lots of dollars but I can't remember how much):

Well, I just got around to staining and sealing one of the stumps (I have plans for it to be a coffee table base!)--here are some photos of the process:

This is basically the fresh stump (I got so excited about the project that I've already stained the top in this photo, though). I sanded the sides and paid special attention to sanding the the edges of the base since I didn't want any rough edges catching on the kilim rug that it will be sitting on. It's flipped upside down in this photo.

I used stain that I had on-hand from this project and wanted the stump to have a little more color variance, so I used a rag to wipe (basically scrub, actually) the stain to be lighter in certain areas.

Another view of staining in process--you can see the original stump color on the lower left corner.

I've titled the picture below "Impatience"...I really wanted the stain to dry so I could add my first coat of polyurethane!

Gross photo of the snotty looking sealant. I would advocate that you should use thin multiple coats to seal a piece of furniture, but with all the crevices in the stump, I brushed this on pretty thick so it would sink in a bit.

Here's another photo of some sinking-in-sealant.

And here's a photo after 2 coats of sealant in the daylight. The stump is flipped around so it's right side up in this photo (I didn't stain the top of the stump that will be covered by the tabletop). It's interesting how different the color looks in natural and artificial light!

At the end of this previous post I said one of the things I would have changed is that I would have gotten a water-based sealant. Since this project was accomplished entirely with things I had on hand, I used the non-water-based polyurethane again and I'd just like to reiterate that water-based stuff is so much more convenient!

Now I have this stump sitting in the middle of the loft waiting for it's table top (which is getting spruced out a bit from its previous life as a marble patio table top--as told to me by the craigslist seller). Hopefully I'll get that back soon and have photos of the completed project in the next week or so...

Have you been up to any zero-dollar (that's $0!) projects recently?


  1. Nice! I like stumps used as seating or end tables, so the base of a marble table sounds really cool and bonus points for free!!

  2. That is such a cool idea!!