Turn A Tree Stump Into A Side Table

Robin Lewis
by Robin Lewis
This table is really easy to make but takes a little time. You also need a router, but these days you can pick them up for little money, especially second hand.

I found this piece of pine on the side of the road. Someone had cut down the tree into chunks, ready to be removed. I brought this home with the intention to either use it for firewood, or turn it into a table.

Look for a piece that has a relatively flat side. This will come in handy later.

You'll need to create a U-shaped bay that the piece of wood can sit in. I made mine out of left over 2x4s and a piece of MDF. The most important part of this is that the flat piece is flat. I bought the piece of MDF for this purpose because I knew it would be flat.

I had to raise the walls of the bay so I added a second layer of 2x4s. This will all depend on the size of wood that you have.

I had to raise the walls of the bay so I added a second layer of 2x4s. This will all depend on the size of wood that you have.

Next you need a sled to run the router along. I found some old melamine and 1x4s for this. The router will run over the melamine (it's good for this because it's stiff and won't sag) and the 1x4s keep it in place so it doesn't wander off.

Now that the channel for the router is made, use a circular saw to cut a hole all the way through the melamine so that the router bit goes through. You could also make this hole using the router. Make the hole big enough for the router bit but not so big that the base of the router becomes unstable.

This is what the sled should look like. It has 2x4s on either side to stop the sled falling off the bay. This is a fairly basic sled but you could go even more simple. Don't spend too much time on this step as it will most like only be used for this one job. As long as it's rigid and stays together you're fine.

Now place the sled onto the bay and run the router from one end to the other. I used a straight bit for this, but as long as it's a bit with a flat bottom it will work. Take off no more than 5mm from the wood. Once you've made a pass with the router, slide the sled across and repeat.

Here's a picture with just a small section taken off. Take your time with this process. It can be a long process but rushing will only tear the wood up.

Once you've gone all the way across the wood go back to the start and lower the bit. Repeat this process until all the wood has been cut by the router.

After you've flattened one side you'll need to flip the wood over and repeat on the other side. This will make both side perpendicular to each other.

Once both sides are flat and perpendicular you can start sanding. Work your way up from 80 grit up to 120+ grit. This is end grain so it will take a will to sand.

When you're happy with the surface, apply a finish. I used an oil based polyurethane.

There's lot of options for legs. I used 3 hairpin legs, screwing each one in after the polyurethane had dried.
And with that you're done.
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Sts7753702 Sts7753702 on Mar 23, 2017
    What is the height on the hairpin legs?
  • Heather Summers Heather Summers on Aug 02, 2017

    Hey, Robin!! What brands of Resin have you found work best in your wood applications? Also, what brand of Dye do you use? I'm looking for resin dye's that provide a quality colored opaque and a clear color application. I realize I will most likely need a different type of dye for each application.

    Just wanted Ted to pick your brain!! 😊


  • Tony Tony on Jul 23, 2020

    Sorry for the late response amazing table. What type of stain did you use for the stump table?

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  • Teresa Teresa on Apr 05, 2017

    Beautiful table

  • Judy Babcock Judy Babcock on Jun 02, 2017

    Still have April and May. And the twins in the front yard are "the twins". The willow is named, well, Willow. Had a name for the stray in the back corner by the irrigation ditch but forgot it. Charlie Brown is a small Maple in the back yard. We started a small dog rescue about 18 years ago. The Doxy mix puppies chews some of the bark off of one side so it leaks sap which the other rescue dogs seem to like to roll in and require intensive bathing. The tree is now named "Woof". Was going to name it "Damn It" . . . The iris all came with name, thank goodness. Did dig up a daylily in New Hampshire and it thrives here. I named it Summer Sunset.