DIY project: How to make a low table or side table from a tree trunk or stump
I made a tree trunk side table a little while ago, and I thought I would share my experience making it. A tree surgeon from the council was cutting some trees in the park beside my house (I woke up to the unmistakable noise of it). So I went over and asked if I could take some slices of the tree he was cutting; he said yes! I took two.
YOU WILL NEED:
- Tree trunk slice
- Chisel/knife/flathead screwdriver
- Sandpaper (coarse and fine grit)
- Brush, cloth
- Wood oil
- Wood varnish
- Find a slice of a tree trunk (mine were about 30cm high, and not perfectly round so between 30 and 40cm diameter).
- Strip off all the bark. It will be easier or harder depending how long the tree was dead for. I used knife, a chisel and a flathead strong grip screwdriver to do this.
- Once the bark is all gone, start sanding (wear a mask if possible)! First sand all the sharp bits and edges using coarse grit sanding paper. Sanding, sanding and sanding again until you get rid of all the irregularities and pointy bits on the surface.
- When it is looking like it is almost finished, change to fine grit paper and spend another half hour sanding to get a really smooth feel.
- Use a brush to brush the dust away and then a damp cloth to remove all the particles of wood off.
- I used a wood oil spray and got the wood impregnated with oil all over, waited for it to dry and then used a white tinted varnish (two or three coats) to give wood a lighter shade and look less yellow (but you can use any coloured varnish you like).
Make sure you get a piece of trunk that is as straight/level as possible when it's cut the first time, try to get it more level after the fact is pretty much impossible with the kind of tools you'll have at home.
The hardest bit of this project is sanding, I would highly (highly!) recommend an electric sander.
Varnish and sand on a non-windy day (sawdust will get everywhere), and keep the varnishing coats as light as possible, each coat should be very thin (that also helps it dry faster).
I used one as a low side table, and one as a bedside table. They are quite heavy to move around the house, but they look great.