Green = Green: Free Stump Coffee Table

You may be right!  I may be crazy.  But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.  To quote my longtime BFF (not really) Billy Joel.

Often times, I’m not actively searching for specific items.  However, if I see something that I can’t stop thinking about, I feel compelled to get it.  Such is the case of this giant slice of starting to rot cottonwood.


At 43 inches in diameter and 12 inches tall, this thing is massive, not to mention heavy.  Ben thought I was crazy, but loaded the beast up for me.

The affair started innocently, as I drove past the chopped up remains of a 25 foot tall dead trunk.  After a few days, I decided to ask by leaving a note with my name and number.  Instead of being the crazy woman knocking on the door, demanding a piece of wood.  A few hours later, a sweet gal called me back saying I could definitely take what I wanted.  Sa-weet.  I dropped by to pick out the piece and chatted for another one and a half hours.  I guess she didn’t think I was crazy.

Back to the wood.  This old cottonwood had died years ago.  The stump finally fell over.  Which means this thing has real character.  After a thorough sanding to get the surface splinter free and as flat as possible, I dug sawdust out of the bug trails.


To get all dust and debris off and out of cracks, I lugged out the air compressor and a spray gun.  Worked like a charm to get the gunk out.  Then I gave the sides one coat of polycrylic.  For added smoothness, I applied three coats to the top, sanding between layers.  Sanding between coats is always important, but even more so on an unfinished piece of wood.

At 12 inches tall and somewhat uneven (notice a raised chunk toward the front in the photo below), I attached three steel casters.  Not only do the casters add a few inches in height, it makes this two hundred pound slab mobile.


I bought four, but after talking it over with Ben and looking at the base, three worked better.  Despite an uneven base, after flipping it over, the top was almost perfectly level.  As the old saying goes, “Almost only counts in horseshoes and casters.”  Under $6.00 each at Home Depot, these 300 pound rated wheels are heavy-duty.


Four 2 1/2 inch long screws and washers keep the wheels in place.


With the piece sanded, clean, sealed, and wheeled, all we had left was to bring it inside.  Basically I made a heaftier version of this stump and put it inside my house.  Feast your eyes on our new, rustic meets industrial coffee table.


Adding the heavy (both in weight and appearance) table has helped ground the room.


I’m keeping the old table.  Because I love it and it could work well in our bedroom seating area.


This hulking piece was fun to work on and now has a fun story.


And character in spades.


One side has a giant crack along with a woodpecker hole.



Some of the chainsaw marks are still noticeable on the top.


Despite several rounds of sanding with 50 grit paper, the top isn’t completely smooth.  I mean, you won’t get slivers if you run our hand across the top.  Though it is far from your typical glossy mahogany furniture.


You can feel bumps, divots, and a few rough patches.



For a hot second, we considered screwing the crack back together.  Clearly, we decided against that.  It could have worked.  Or it could have made the split even bigger.


Overall, this was a quick, easy, and inexpensive project.  Free stump + a few hours of sanding + 1 quart of polycrylic + three steel casters = my love in coffee table form.


Based on the 17 photos, some very similar, in this post, I think it’s safe to say I’m smitten.  What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of cool furniture?

30 thoughts on “Green = Green: Free Stump Coffee Table

  1. Love it! I had no concept of how big it was until I saw the picture of it in the room. Massive and magnificent. Can you tell I like it? That seems like a great price for the casters, too.

    1. Hi Barbara H!

      It is deceptively large. In fact, as tall as a four year old. 🙂 So glad you like it, too. I was also surprised by the caster price. The rubber coated wheels were a little more, but these are super heavy duty.


  2. Looks great!! Speaking of your old coffee table though… theres one West Elm is selling right now that looks JUST like it!. Truly, as I was flipping through the pages of my catalog last night I thought to myself, “I’ve seen that table before” Oh yes, blogland, how I love thee!

  3. It looks perfect in your room. There were too many leggy pieces before, and this grounds everything. Your room no longer looks like it is floating away. Great job! Maybe you can pair the other coffee table with more solid pieces to ground it?

  4. Oh my gosh you’ve done it again! This is amazing! Did you let the stump air out and adjust to your house before sealing it or anything?

    1. Hi Joyce!

      Excellent question! Because this tree was long dead, I didn’t have to let it dry. But, if it had been a freshly chopped live tree, letting it dry before sealing ad bringing inside is an important step.


  5. This may be my very favorite edition to that room! Even though it’s massive, it makes the room seem open and airy. With the big windows all around it just looks so right there! It’s perfectly imperfect!

  6. Now I see where it came from, I asked on another post, because I had not seen this. I think it makes the room, perfect. Considering Ben thought you were crazy, I have to ask what does he think now?

    1. Hey Alison!

      Isn’t it cool?! He thought I was crazy, but now loves it. More than anything, I think he thought I was crazy for knocking on the door of a stanger to ask for a giant stump. But, it was totally worth it. I have no shame.


  7. That’s so awesome! And, the guys that cut it down did a great job, too – such an even cut on both sides, considering how massive it is. What a cool idea!

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