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A Tree Grows in the Family Room

August 15, 2011
by thenestinggame

I feel like I’ve been coming at you readers with several unfinished…actually, unSTARTED projects lately. Like Sadie’s room/the guest room and the ever plaguing art over the sofa ordeal. So I’m glad we happily have a checked box on the to-do list.

The Tree Stump Table is finito.

Okay, ALMOST finito. We still have to seal the sucker, but I couldn’t wait to share pics.

Let’s recap where we started.

Ah yes. The 5am phone call from our neighbors while we were on our honeymoon.

“It didn’t hit the house?”
“No.”
“Is there anything I HAVE to do now?”
“No.”
“Okay. We’ll just deal with it when we get back.”

First things first.

Now back to reality.

Here’s the West Elm table that inspired the lemonade-out-of-lemons project:

As for our version, first, well, secondly, it looked like this:

And after it dried for about 3 months, Taylor removed the bark and we were left with this:

We were drawn to leaving it upside down as pictured above, but it was not as level as we would like, so we decided to use it as it grew. Fat on the bottom, skinny on the top. Our pear-shaped pine tree.

Taylor hacked off the craggy limbs.

It was rocking back and forth, so I got called in to add a little stability.

I tried not to be offended.

Then he smoothed out the top with the belt sander using a medium grit paper.

And the same for the sides.

This was the second once-over–second-over?–with the sander. We decided we liked the color variation, as seen on the top half, but not the spotting as seen on the bottom half. So Taylor did another pass to even out the tone.

After a final sanding with a fine-grit sandpaper and a wipe down by yours truly, all the nubs and bumps were smooth and clean and we brought it inside.

I love how the knots and irregularities look.

And it goes surprisingly well with the room, picking up on the lighter tones in our rug and pillows, plus the gray of the sofas.

The last thing we have to do is seal it. We bought some Wipe On Poly in a satin finish (which we were assured is as close to matte as you can get) and that will seal it in case the occasional glass of propped lemon water in a wine glass spills.

I counted the rings on the top. 57. Our house was built 54 years ago. Does that make this officially an antique?

Are you a fan? Can we put you on the wait list for 5-7 years from now to offset the costs for when we’ll inevitably have to chop down the rest of the tree?

If not, maybe we can go wholesale to West Elm.

EDITED TO ADD:

My furniture restoring extraordinaire friend Kristen Davis told me the following:

“Alert, alert! don’t use the satin poly if you want a matte finish! use furniture wax!!!!!! i hate poly because it’s always shiny and streaky – no matter what!! wax is the bomb. i use minwax brand, in a yellow container, in “natural”. you rub it on with a non-shedding rag.”

Thanks for the stump-saving tip, KFD!

 

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Leigh Ann Morabito permalink
    August 15, 2011 10:00 am

    I love it!! It turned out great!

  2. Elaine Smart permalink
    August 15, 2011 10:30 am

    Love, love it! Better than I even imagined! The natural color is awesome.

    Bye the way, you inspired us to purchase a luggage rack for the guest room! No more putting your suitcase on the floor.

  3. Erika Botfeld permalink
    August 15, 2011 12:45 pm

    I’ve been patiently waiting to see the final stump! It came out really nice, guys.

  4. August 16, 2011 6:33 pm

    Looks great! I love how you keep finding nooks and crannies into which to plop your new creations.

    Also, what tee are you wearing in the stump-stabilizing picture? Looks vaguely Muppet-y.

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      August 17, 2011 9:03 pm

      Thanks! The tee is Muppet-y and is from Threadless. I would advise you not to buy it as it is distinctly possible that someone may have already done that for you. ;)

  5. August 19, 2011 11:19 am

    I love it! Oh my goodness, I wish I knew someone with a large tree they were going to cut down (or had fallen). What a great side table!!

  6. Tony Molina permalink
    August 19, 2011 2:03 pm

    Molly, I have to agree with your friend, use a wax or mineral oil. You will have to apply it from time to time but it will give you a much more natural look.

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      August 23, 2011 8:38 am

      Thanks, Tony! We were not completely sold on the Poly idea, so I’m glad we waited for the right suggestion.

  7. August 24, 2011 2:08 pm

    Really pretty. I didn’t know you needed to let them dry first, but it makes sense!

  8. August 24, 2011 3:39 pm

    We had to chop down a tree in the backyard & right now the multiple to-be side tables are out in the sun! So this post was right on time for us.. Love the transformation..

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      August 25, 2011 3:41 pm

      Thanks! I’m sure yours will turn out just as well!

  9. soboclassifieds permalink
    September 3, 2011 10:19 pm

    We lost not one — but two — of our backyards trees last year. I had set aside two choice pieces of the trunk in the hopes of creating a table or two. Everyone I talked to to get advice just gave me a blank look and a head scratch. Then I spy your entry via apartment therapy! Thank you a million times over for giving us the extra tips and push. We LOVE our creation! (just finished today!)

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      September 5, 2011 10:16 pm

      I’m so happy we could help! Glad you love ‘em.

  10. September 5, 2011 7:44 pm

    i just found a tree trunk by a dumpster (i was looking for pallets for another project) and i want to do the same thing. i am so glad i stumbled upon this. it looks great. hope mine comes out as well.

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      September 5, 2011 10:16 pm

      Best of luck to you!

  11. September 22, 2011 7:38 pm

    .. and I’m stealing this idea too ;) I’m loving your blog!

  12. January 5, 2012 12:44 pm

    totally missed the finito tree stump post! I LOVE your blog soooo much! The tree stump table looks so awesome — wish I could be on the wait list.

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      January 5, 2012 6:45 pm

      Thank you, ma’am! We love it too. Need to pour a glass of wine so I can test out the table’s sturdiness…

  13. jae permalink
    June 1, 2012 3:04 pm

    Great job on the stump table, it really looks amazing!
    When you say “…that will seal it in case the occasional glass of propped lemon water in a wine glass spills” – you just sound pretentious. It’s true.
    How about “in case there’s a spilt drink”?

    Or, go all out and say” “… propped lemon water in a wine glass spills on my unicorn hair hand tufted Indo-gaba rug that was made by albino little children.”
    Too fancy.

  14. August 5, 2013 7:12 pm

    Hi There!
    I just refinished my dinning room table and I want to know what you thought of the wipe on poly. I don’t want a shinny finish! Should I use the wax your friend suggests?

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      August 9, 2013 6:09 pm

      I used the wipe-on poly on our kitchen island. It’s not shiny at all on the walnut top, but definitely brought out the richness/color of the wood. I would be a little more leery using it on unfinished wood or if you wanted the color to stay exactly the same as it is now. Good luck!

  15. Danielle permalink
    August 17, 2013 9:59 am

    Did you seal the entire thing or just the top of it with the wipe-on poly?

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