There are several things to do with a tree stump that may be worth preserving for future use. However, preserving a wood stump isn’t as easy as it sounds, it sure comes with certain risks and challenges.
So if you find yourself with a dead, dying, or removed tree with a viable base, there are a couple of ways on how to seal wood stumps for outdoor use, depending on your end goal. If the stump is left in the front or backyard, it may likely attract pests who perceive it as nice, comfy home furniture.
This is one scenario you really want to avoid as the down-the-line consequences could possibly wreak havoc on other parts of your garden, yard, or property.
Ultimately, the best way to preserve wood outdoors is to seal the surface. It is actually an excellent alternative to digging or burning the stump. So in this article, we will take you through how to seal wood stumps for outdoor use as well as some of the preservative means of maintaining the wood stump.
Preserving wood stumps for outdoor use– How to preserve wood stumps
Peradventure you don’t wish to uproot the stump, there are several other ways in which you can repurpose it. I mean, you can always modify a leftover log into a play table or garden container for the kids or probably just make it part of your patio seating area.
However, if you intend to leave the stump outdoors, trust me, you really want to keep it safe. Fortunately, the best way to preserve wood outdoors is to actually seal the surface. Sealing is just the perfect alternative to digging or burning the stump up.
Once you have the stump cleaned up and polished, it will automatically add a reinforced character to your outdoor area. By then, you can now enjoy the stump as a garden box, a natural table or a chair.
Meanwhile, you want to ensure you have a plan for what you want to do with the stump first before getting to seal it, if not you may have to reseal the stump a second time.
So let’s glance through how it works.
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How to clean the wood stump
- You want to clean up every dirt or surface debris on the stump thoroughly. So you start by wiping from the top to the bottom of the stump using a wet cloth. Gently rub the wood grain in a circular motion from the top to the bottom where the stump has been cut.
Note: Be careful not to wipe the bark with the cloth as this could cause the bark to flake or fall off.
- Get rid of any flaking wood or bark on the stump by using your hands to gently pull them off, especially those on areas with bark. Ensure the twigs, leaves or bugs on the stump are being removed.
- Remove the bark if it appears dead or dry.
Actually, this is up to you, the reason being that you could decide to keep it on if there’s no black ring between the bark and the wood and also if the bark doesn’t appear too dry.
However, if otherwise needed, use a rotary hammer to remove the bark, sliding it from the top to the bottom of the stump. You should have the bark peeled off easily while leaving you with just wood around the stump.
Note: Leaving the bark on would actually give a more rustic look to the stump. Meanwhile, if it has to be removed, then you may need to sand down the sides of the stump.
Sanding and filling the stump (Step by Step Approach)
- Using a planer, smoothen the perimeter of the stump. A planer is a powerful tool that’s got a flat head that helps to even out surfaces. So you run the planer around the top and bottom perimeters of the stump so as to get rid of any rough spots. You want to keep doing this until you’re sure the top and bottom edges of the stump are smooth to the touch. Afterward, you get a broom or cloth to wipe off any debris after you’re done smoothing the edges.
- Indulge using 80-grit sandpaper on the top and bottom of the stump, in a circular motion to remove the top layer of the wood. The sandpaper would also help even out the top of the stump to have the grain leveled. Then, run the sandpaper on the bottom of the stump, hence removing the top layer.
Note: If you removed the bark around the stump earlier, then you’ll need to sand the sides of the stump down as well. Start rubbing the stump from the top to bottom with the sandpaper in order to smoothen out the sides. However, you want to ensure safety precautions by putting on your hand gloves when working with the sandpaper.
- If the stump is very dirty or rough, you may need to use an electric sander. The electric sander is a great way to smooth out the top and bottom of the stump quickly. Ensure to run it back and forth over the top and bottom of the stump, whilst revealing the fresh wood underneath.
While sanding, by now you should begin to notice the rings in the wood appearing on the top and bottom. This means fresh wood is emerging.
- Once you’re done sanding the stump, try giving the top and bottom of the stump a good wipe so as to have the wood looking all clean and fresh. If you sanded the sides of the stump, you should also wipe this area down as well.
- Fill in deep or large cracks in the wood using wood filler like epoxy. Tape both the sides and bottom of the stump, below the cracks, to prevent the epoxy from leaking out of the cracks. Thereafter you drizzle the epoxy into the cracks in order to fill them.
Note: Apply a layer of epoxy to fill the cracks while you allow it to dry overnight. Also, ensure you put on your gloves when handling epoxy as it is a very strong chemical.
Apply wood stabilizer
- Wood stabilizer comes in a liquid texture such that you can rub it into wood. It contains ingredients that’d prevent the wood from cracking, warping, or checking. You can always get this from any local hardware store or online.
- Rub half a cup of the stabilizer (120ml), into the top of the stump. Ensure you begin with a small quantity of stabilizer while you keep adding more as required. In a circular motion, use a clean dry cloth to rub the stabilizer into the wood and cover the entire top of the stump with the stabilizer, rubbing it into the wood grain.
Note: The wood will absorb the stabilizer as it is being rubbed in, hence the need to pour in more to ensure the entire surface is properly covered.
- Cover the top of the stump in a plastic sheet or tarp so as to allow the stabilizer dry completely.
- Apply half a cup of stabilizer on the bottom of the stump with a cloth.
Once you have the top of the stump dried, flip the stump over while you repeat the same steps on the bottom on bottom of the stump. With the stabilizer, cover the bottom of the stump, getting it right into the wood grain. After applying the stabilizer, get the bottom of the stump covered with plastic while you leave it to dry for 2-4 hours.
- Lastly, Put at least 2 coats of stabilizer on the stump while allowing the top and bottom of the stump to dry for 2-4 hours between coats. This is to make sure the stump is very sealed.
Finishing off the stump
- To prevent bark and wood pieces from falling off the sides of the stump, seal the bark with a clear gloss finish spray. Carefully apply the spray around the sides of the stump, from top to bottom.
- Get the sealer to dry overnight by placing it in a dry spot outside, such as in the garage or a work shed. By doing this, you will give the sealer enough time to set such that the stump is ready for use.
- If you wish to elevate the stump and use it as a side table you may need to attach legs to the bottom using screws and a power drill. So you want to get 3 thin metal legs such as hairpin legs while you drill them into the bottom of the stump for a more polished look.
Conclusion: How To Seal Wood Stumps For Outdoor Use
Just like that, you’re done! I hope this guide answers all your questions regarding sealing and preserving a wood stump for outdoor use.
Whether you leave your stump outside to accent the ecosystem or set it up in the lounge room as checkers tables, trust me, you’re going to love the fact that you decided to keep your wood stump instead of having it destroyed.
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