Finishing a Stump...

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Forum topic by IndyM3Scott posted 06-11-2018 05:08 PM 697 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View IndyM3Scott's profile


9 posts in 869 days

06-11-2018 05:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: refinishing stump stump

Hi Everyone -

I’ve been lurking for awhile and watching everyone’s cool projects, while trying to set up my wood shop/workshop but various kid issues and “other” house projects keep getting in the way, like this one…

I had twelve ash trees on my lot that were killed by the Emerald Ash Borer and I took down seven of them last year – but one is very large (about 30” in diameter) and on a steep grade so almost impossible to get rid of the stump. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone and build a deck around it for my smoker and put a glass top on the stump and turn the stump into a table…

So I really have two questions:

1. Any ideas on prepping the top? It’s semi-level and flat but has some remaining chain saw marks and discoloration and needs about 3/8” taken off of one side to get it down to perfectly level. I’ve tried using my small Makita planer without much luck – there is a lot of chatter and it’s a big surface area and just not much progress. I also tried the belt sander and that worked decent but very slow progress, even with very rough belt. Had decent success with my SMALL Rigid router taking about 1/4” off one half of the top to get it where it is – this actually worked pretty well and I graduated it down as it got closer to the low side and then went over it with the belt sander to even things out. Thinking I may use the BIG Bosch router and same technique to do the last little bit, clean it up with the belt sander and then finish up with an orbital sander… THOUGHTS??

2. Once I get it prepped, how should I finish it? I picked up a can of MINWAX “Helmsman Spar Urethane” (Clear Satin) and also a can of Varathane “Ultimate Spar Urethane” (Crystal Clear Satin) but don’t know if either of these would really be the ticket or something else?? Want to do something to bring out the grain/rings, and look nice under the glass top… THOUGHTS??

And I guess a third question: what is causing the dark/discolored splotches in various places?

Or should I just auger some holes deep into the stump, fill them with gas and burn it down below deck level and put decking across the hole where the stump would have been and buy a normal table??

The pix look OK to me in the preview, but it’s kind of a klunky way of embedding them and so hopefully you can see the photos since this whole thing may not make much sense without pix accompanying it to show what I’m doing???

Thanks in advance for any ideas,


6 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile


1676 posts in 1207 days

#1 posted 06-11-2018 05:15 PM

I took a hand plane to a dry one a while back. I wanted a fairly flat surface for an anvil to rest on. It worked okay. Be prepared to have to resharpen the plane blade afterwards.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View bondogaposis's profile


5783 posts in 3118 days

#2 posted 06-11-2018 05:24 PM

I would rig up some type of router sled as the best way to level it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View LesB's profile


2550 posts in 4210 days

#3 posted 06-11-2018 05:51 PM

I’m with Bondo on using a router and sled to level the top and then possibly some sanding with a rotary orbital sander. Build a level frame around the stump and then a sled that will hold the router as you work it back and forth across the top of the stump.

The stains are most likely fungus and you can often remove them with bleach or a commercial deck cleaning product called “brightener” which is essentially sodium hypochlorite; also the same thing in the mold and mildew sprays used for bathroom showers which would also work.

You can fill the cracks with sawdust (collected while sanding but after bleaching so not dark stain wood in included) and then use a CA (super glue) in medium viscosity to soak in solidify the sawdust. The best way to use the CA glue is pack in the sawdust then apply the thin CA glue quickly followed by the medium or thick CA glue. The thin wets the sawdust and allows the thicker glue to saturate faster. You may have to add successive layers of the thick glue until the crack is filled to the top. An accelerator will speed up the hardening of the glue.

-- Les B, Oregon

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2419 posts in 930 days

#4 posted 06-11-2018 06:18 PM

I reside at the Epoxy Camp and I would think that a penetrating epoxy would have precedence
over CA glue. (IMO). then after a few soakings of epoxy, fill with sawdust and epoxy some more.
personally, I would stay far away from minwax for any outdoor project.
there are so many good penetrating oil preservatives on the market today, it boggles the brain
on trying to choose one for your project.
be advised that CA glue and epoxy are not UV tolerant and must be coated with
a good grade of marine spar varnish to preserve it.


-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View IndyM3Scott's profile


9 posts in 869 days

#5 posted 06-12-2018 11:43 PM

Hi Guys!! Thanks so much for the good ideas…

Based on your ideas and some Googling, I built a router sled to try and even out and trim down my stump. I’ve got some of the deck cleaner with bleach since part of this was cleaning up and staining the OLD deck, so I’ll try that on the stains/fungus/spots…


View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3176 days

#6 posted 06-13-2018 01:29 AM

Thanks for the tips on this guys! I have a chunk from a tree I had cut down that I want to make a table / scratching post for my wife’s cats. Was thinking of various ways to make the top flat once I attached the wheels to the bottom. Simple frame attached to the chunk and make a router sled. NICE>

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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