Stump/Table Finish, Part II

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Forum topic by IndyM3Scott posted 06-27-2018 05:30 PM 369 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 712 days

06-27-2018 05:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stump table deck ash tree

Hi Everyone –
I’m continuing to work on my smoker deck as time and weather allows, and especially the “centerpiece” which is an Ash stump that I’m turning into a table (here’s the original post: – and again, thanks to all for the advice on getting the stump prepped). Still have to finish up the railings, balusters, electrical and some other minor steps but it’s getting there (and I smoked my first ribs on it last Sunday!!). The first photo is an overview pic from a couple of days ago.

The original post was about finishing the stump, although it actually turned into more about how to level and prep it (I posted some pix of the router sled I built in the original post, but I’ve added the next three photos of the router table/sled “in action”).

It was suggested in the original post that a deck cleaner with bleach might take out the “stains” in the top of the stump and I thought that was a great idea and had some real promise, especially since I had just cleaned up the old part of the deck and stairs adjacent to the new smoker deck the week before and that stuff worked GREAT (the Olympia product, NOT the Behr product which was dramatically less effective, BTW). The router sled let me get it perfectly level, and then I sanded it smooth but it’s still very splotchy and discolored (the next photo shows a high shot of the table as it now).

So, I dragged a couple of Ash wedges up the hill from when we originally dropped the tree last year to practice and experiment on. I tried the deck cleaner but it didn’t seem to even phase the stains. Then I tried just straight bleach and I didn’t think that it worked either, but now that it’s drying out a little, it maybe did have SOME effect, although the smudges are far from being gone. The next two photos show my stump wedges as they are drying out. SOME improvement, but still dark smudges!!

Oddly, there is some kind of a whitish “fungus” that has developed on one little 3”x3” patch on the actual stump that doesn’t look very appetizing. But ironically, to some extent, it’s actually “eating away” the dark smudges a bit (the RED circled splotch in two of the photos below, plus a couple of close-ups of it too…). Not sure what it is or how to capture it and make it work across the other dark smudges or even how it might clean-up (it may be worse than the stuff that’s on there now).

I originally laid the glass top flat on the stump until I could get some spacers, so now I have three little rubber “buttons” underneath the glass top to give it a little room to breathe. But for a couple of days, it was just flat on the stump and there was some moisture seeping out and so maybe this new, creeping white smudge is some kind of mold from then?? The final photo is a side view of the table that shows the glass setting up on the rubber spacers, about 3/8” above the stump.

Also thinking that if I can’t get these irregularities out or minimize them, then maybe I’ll use a little darker stain or finish on the top of the stump than I originally planned, to reduce the contrast between the lighter, stained wood and these dark irregularities.

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to finish this up and overcome these dark splotches and bring this project home??

Thanks for any insight,


1 reply so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6054 posts in 3019 days

#1 posted 06-27-2018 07:17 PM

Just throwing this out there, could it be the stump needs more time to dry internally? I have a chunk I put spar urethane on after about a month of being cut. Looked good in the sun, first rain and the finish has bubbles pushing out of smallish cracks. Cracks which I measured seem to be getting larger, as if the stump is drying out. My piece is about 29 inches tall and 32 diameter.

Here is a pic after I mounted wheels on it. Mine is not leveled as my wife liked it just like it was for a perch / scratching post for her many cats. No stain, it was white before I put clear Spar urethane on it, I am guessing the UV inhibitors / oil darken the wood.

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

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