slice of tree - how do I make it into a table with regards to drying or whatever


Hi,
Firstly let me say I know nothing about woodwork so will value any advice you can give me, which may well be to learn something about woodwork ;-)
In my garden I have a tree stump from a connifer tree that was cutdown before I moved in, so at least over 2 years ago. Its started to grow white hard/spongy fungus out of it.
Ive now been given a tree slice about 8 inches thick (dont know what tree it came from). The person who gave it to me said it had been laying outside for one year in the rain and sun. It seems to look OK, some bark is coming off and its not sawn very smooth.
I want to cut the stump so its level, thereby removing the fungus as well, and then put the tree slice on top like a table. and screw it on.
What do I need to do - I had a quick look in the newsgroup and it said about drying slices out for years which to be honest I dont want to do. Id like a 'nice' table for the summer.
1. But do I need to dry it out and if so how and for how long 2. Do I need to put some preservative or wax or something on the slice and on top of the stump - what do I need to put on it? 3. I want to sand it down to make it a bit smoother, should I let it dry first or sand it first. 4. should I put anything on the bark of the stump - its coming off a bit. 5. Should I remove the bark from the slice or leave it on - can I put prevervative over the bark
As you can see I havent got a clue. What Id like is just to sand it, stick preservative on it and screw it on the stump. Im not after a work of art as Id like it to have some 'character' and if it looks rubbish after a few years I'll probably just remove it.
Thanks very much for any advice.
Regards, Scott
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I'd do just as you've proposed, Scott. Forget about numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5, but number 3 can help make for a decent place to set your beer. It'll keep moving, checking and splitting, but as you've noted, that can be considered "character". So get the stump reasonably flat, the slice reasonably smooth, and bury a few screws through it into the stump. Cheers! Tom
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I agree with Tom. It would probably be best to finish both sides of the "tabletop" the same. If you finish just the top, it will absorb water unevenly and warp out of shape sooner... You might want to treat the stump with something (bleach?) to slow down the fungus growth after you clean it up.
"Chip"

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Chip Chester wrote:

The part of the fungus that you see is usually only a small part of the entire organism. Most likely the stump has fungus inside of it all the way down into the roots.
Not a big deal so long as you do not expect the table to outlive you.
There are epoxies sold that are supposed to penetrate and toughen rotten wood. I've never tried any so don't know how well the work but it might be worthwhile to look into using something like that (and definately a fungicide of some sort) to treat the stump before you put the table top on it.
The table top will probably rot first where it is in contact with the stump since the air will be free to circulate around and dry out the rest.
--

FF


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Use four 1/2" lag bolts long enough to go several inches into the stump. Soak the top of stump with wood preservative. Use 3/4 short pipe nipples and big washers to make spacers to hold the top off the stump. Soak both sides of the top with preservative...copper naphthanate 19% if you can find it. Cover the top with sheet metal or some old plexiglass when not in use and it should last quite a while. Otherwise, really soak it with an oil/silicone stain. If you can get it to the point where water beads up on it, it may last quite a while. If you can get access to a banding tool, three or four bands around the top would help stabilize it, but you may need new bands now and then as it dries. I've never done this, but many things made from large sections of wood are banded...like waterwheel shafts. Wilson

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Wilson wrote:

Thanks everyone for the help. One more question. Wilson - in your posting you said to use preservative OR an olil/silcon stain. Is there any benefit in using one more than the other, does the oll stain pull out the water as you said if I can get water to bead up on it it would last longer. Or should I be putting both on.
I think I may well get the slice sawn a bit neater first as by the sounds of it I could end up with something that looks quite good, rather then a bodge job as it started off as.
I wonder if a timber yard can cut it neatly for me or if the only way is to try and chaionsaw off some of the excess lumps and bumps.
Scott
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If the table top section is just a clean saw cut, you can smooth it up nicely with a hand plane and straightedge. After the finished top suits you, seal both sides with numerous soaking coats of sanding sealer until no dull spots show up. Finish off with marine spar varnish and give it a maintenance coat every year. The table should outlive you. Bugs
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Bear in mind, I've never done this. I love copper naphthanate so I soak outdoor wood in it and then stain. A good stain forms an impervious layer and will bead up water until it evaporates or runs off, so give the table a slight tilt to help runoff. The thick section is probably not really dry, so I worry about trapping moisture under varnishes and other such seals. For that reason, I'd leave the bottom unstained, just preserved. With the airspace, it should dry out eventually. Wilson

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On 24 Apr 2006 07:40:28 -0700, "scott Doyland"

What I've done for mounting tables to stumps is to whack out as much of the soft center of the stump as I can with a hatchet, then fill the cavity with sand-mix concrete. Try to get it slightly proud of the wood, flatten it out with a board, stick in a few bolts heads down in the concrete, leaving enough thread upright to go through the slab top. Once the concrete is set, position the slab on the bolt faces, give it a whack with a mallet to mark the hole positions and bore holes through. Put a wood or metal spacer between the concrete and slab bottom, counter bore the slab top for the nuts, and bolt it down. The concrete stabilizes the stump rot to some extent.
Finish, as others have suggested, with LOTS of oil (tung oil works well, but I have used Diesel - the smell goes away after a few weeks). Soak top and bottom to reduce splitting, but it will probably split here and there anyway. Melted crayon of an appropriate color can be used to fill cracks if desired.
Regards.
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