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A large tree at our summer house became dangerous and had to be cut down last week. This left us with a sizable (about 1m in diameter) stump, still rooted to the ground. My idea (and wife tends to agree) is that it would make a nice table. The woodcutters already made the surface pretty flat and level with their chainsaws, I'm not even sure if it needs any more polishing with sandpaper (though that's a matter of preference and I'll think about it later).

Anyways, I'm worried about longevity of the stump. If left to it's own devices, will it not start to rot or have annoying amounts of sap continuously seeping to the surface? Any other potential problems? Should I treat it somehow (and how and with what)? Does anyone have any experience with this?

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Everyone says it will rot, which is true, all trees will succumb eventually, though it can take hundreds of years. Depending on the specie and why it was dangerous (dead?) and if it was treated in any way, it could very well send up sucker growths in an attempt to live on. Even if it does, you can prune them back and continue to use the stump as a table. – bcworkz Apr 23 '13 at 5:04
@bcworkz - The tree was rotting(?) from inside and could have broken apart at any time. However at the place it was cut there is very little of that - all the rot was higher up. The species is maple, though I don't know any preciser that that. What does this say for the longevity of the stump? – Vilx- Apr 23 '13 at 6:44
I'm not very familiar with maples. I don't think it'll put out suckers, though there may be sap running for a while, but shouldn't be that messy. You should consider putting a top on it as suggested to make it more usable. If this is done, I think the stump will probably outlast your children before it becomes unusable. But as mentioned, there's a lot of variables involved. It's really anyone's guess. – bcworkz Apr 23 '13 at 20:33
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Put chairs next to it!

Honestly it will rot. However most of the rot will either come from bugs or water sitting on it. If you can spray it for termites/bugs and sit something decorative on top of it, it will last longer. Maybe your "tree table" could be your "table leg" for another form of table top. A big circle picnic table top (or whole thing) might sit on top of it nicely and allow for leg room under.

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I like the idea of putting a top over it. – Chris Cudmore Apr 22 '13 at 15:53
I think about eating at my kitchen island. One side has the over hang and the other there is nothing. Your knees are hitting the cabinet all meal. Next time I make an island I will put 4-5 inches on the non over hang side too. – DMoore Apr 22 '13 at 15:54
Cheap top = large cabling spool. These are usually free or very cheap. We just threw 3 out at my work. – DMoore Apr 25 '13 at 17:21

It will rot. Eventually. However, there's no reason why you can't enjoy it as a table for many years. I'd smooth off the surface after it dries a bit and seal it with a deck sealer. This will help preserve the top. But it will continue to rot from below, and eventually you'll have to remove it.

How long from now "eventually" actually is is dependent on many factors such as climate, exposure, type of wood, animal and insect presence.

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You'll be leaning over trying to eat off of it since your legs have nowhere to go. You could always carve the sides or add a top if you are determined to make a table.

However, I would do something else like use it for a planter. I saw a large diameter stump the other day with beautiful plants growing out the top, it looked really neat.

Besides, it is going to rot anyway. The whole top is end-grain which by nature is designed to absorb water.

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I had a table top on a white oak stump. It lasted for 12 years before the insects made it a little unstable. Did not spray it with anything and perhaps I should have. We had lots of use of the natural table.

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