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How to make a tree stump chair

For some homeowners, a tree stump in their garden can be an eyesore, but for others, it’s an opportunity to create a unique feature. In this guide, we look at how to make a tree stump chair, as well as other ideas for using a tree stump or sections of a tree.

For some homeowners, a tree stump in their garden can be an eyesore, but for others, it’s an opportunity to create a unique feature. In this guide, we look at how to make a tree stump chair, as well as other ideas for using a tree stump or sections of a tree.

Before we crack on with the good stuff, it’s worth mentioning that creating tree stump chairs, stools or tables will usually involve using a grinder and other tools. If you’re attempting this project yourself, always take care handling tools and machinery. If you’re inexperienced with using any of the equipment then make sure you ask for professional help from a skilled tradesperson.

Tools you needs to make a tree stump chair

In order to make a chair carved from a tree stump, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Angle grinder
  • Hammer
  • Hand saw
  • Sander
  • Varnish
  • Staining brush
  • Pencil
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How do you make a tree stump seat?

There are typically two types of chair you can create using a tree stump: if the stump is large enough you’ll be able to create a chair with armrests, otherwise it will be a more simple tree stump chair with only a backrest.

Tree stump chair with armrestsStep 1 – Mark the seat area

On the flat surface on the top of the stump, you need to mark out where your seat area will be. Using a pencil, draw a rectangle at the front of the stump. A common size is around 16” x 24” – or a rectangle with similar proportions that fits your tree stump.

The sections on either side of the rectangle will form the armrests and the section at the back of the rectangle will form the backrest. If your tree stump is too small to allow for armrests then you will remove the whole front section and simply leave the backrest.

Step 2 – Grind the wood

Using your angle grinder, grind out the wood of the rectangle to a depth of 12” to 24” – the exact depth will depend on how high you want the armrests to sit (if you’re having armrests on your tree stump chair).

Take your time and start at the front of the rectangle, working your way down a few inches at a time in sections. The easiest way is to remove strips of wood from the rectangle at a time, and repeat until you reach the desired depth.

Step 3 – Smooth the edges

One of the keys to a comfortable tree stump chair is making sure you smooth the sharp corners of the seat. You can do this using the angle grinder again, but this time rounding over. Do this to all the seat edges including the front of the seat, the top edge of the backrest and the edges of the armrests (if you have them).

Step 4 – Apply a sealant

The fourth and final step of making your tree stump chair is applying a sealant to protect the wood. Polyurethane sealants are very popular as they offer an effective water-resistant seal for your tree stump seat.

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Tree stump stools

Unlike a tree stump chair, tree stump stools aren’t usually created using the tree stump in the ground. Instead, they’re made from sections of the tree stump that have been cut and removed.

Tree stump stools are also possibly the easiest tree stump furniture to make, as they’re often a very similar shape to the natural sections of wood.

Here’s a quick summary of how to make your own tree stump stools:

  1. Dry out the wood: Let the wood dry for at least a month, which will both reduce the weight of the wood and make it a lot easier to remove the bark.
  2. Remove the bark: If your tree stump is sufficiently dried out the bark should come away pretty easily just using your hands. If that’s not the case you might need to use a hammer and chisel – inserting a chisel between the bark and the wood and hammering down.
  3. Sand the stump: You want smooth tree stump stools to avoid nasty little splinters, and to remove the little wood hairs. You can do this using sandpaper or a small sander until you can feel the wood is smooth all over.
  4. Remove any dust: Use a damp cloth to remove any wood dust that’s accumulated (there’ll probably be quite a bit).
  5. Stain your stools (if you want to): If you want to alter the colour of your tree stump stools, now is the time to apply your wood stain product.
  6. Add a sealant: To make sure your stools stand the test of time, you need to apply a sealant to create a water-resistant seal. Once the sealant has dried your stools are done and ready to be used.

Tree stump table and chairsTree stump chair ideas

There are a number of furniture ideas for making use of tree stumps, either in the ground or stumps that have been removed. Some of the most popular include:

  • Tree stump stools
  • Tree stump chair with backrest
  • Tree stump chair with armrests
  • Tree stump bench
  • Tree stump table and chairs

How do you seal a tree stump seat?

A freshly made tree stump seat will require numerous coats of sealant, as the open grain of the wood soaks up a lot. Apply the sealant one coat at a time and always allow the recommended drying time in between coats.

Top tip: The top of the tree stump will get really dark when you initially apply the wood sealer, but it will lighten up once the sealer soaks in and dries.

You may find you apply anywhere from 3 to 6 coats to completely seal your tree stump seat. If you’re in doubt about which product to use or how much, ask your local wood sealer supplier for their professional advice.

Want to remove a tree stump?

If you want to get rid of a tree stump from your garden, check out our guide on how to remove a tree stump. Alternatively, you can also find out more about the cost of professional tree removal.

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