Good Questions: How Do I Preserve My Big Tree Table?

Good Questions: How Do I Preserve My Big Tree Table?

Maxwell Ryan
Jun 26, 2007

Hi AT,

A few blocks from me, I saw an old oak tree being cut down and asked if I could have the stump. I brought it over to my backyard and now use it as a table. I was wondering should I treat it or just leave it alone?...

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Perhaps I should sand it down a bit and then oil it. I am unsure? The tree service guy said that the bark will fall off, unfortunately. Meanwhile, I never knew I was into design until I started looking at AT a few years ago.




This is a good question that we have personal acquaintance with. A few years ago we asked a tree cutter for two large stumps, which we then used to make an outdoor table at our summer place out in Springs. We set the stumps on level ground and built a tabletop to go on top. Very quickly (within a year) the stumps had started to decay due to the moisture and bugs that came up from the ground. And indeed, the bark did fall off. We were surprised how quickly they became swiss cheese.

As hard as these things seem, we now guess that they need protection from moisture and bugs, so keeping it slightly off the ground and finishing the top should help.

Your piece is beautiful. We'd put small feet under it and top it with a big round piece of glass.

Wood outdoors rots, however, and unless it's cedar or teak or Ipe or some special wood like that, you want to give it as much of an indoor-like life as you can by covering it in the winter.

Anyone else???

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