Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to make a rustic stump planter

What can you do with a tree stump? Grind it up? Chisel it out? Put a statue on it?

Instead, you can make a nifty natural planter using the base section of the tree itself, fill it with flowers, and let the bugs rot out the stump from beneath.

1. Materials list: Chainsaw, ear protection, goggles, gloves, stick of charcoal, pliers, picture frame cable, splitting maul, dirt and flowers. I also used a hammer and few trim nails. Cost of gas, cable, and nails: less than a dollar.

2. After the tree is cut down, save the bottom section of the trunk, the piece just above the stump. The town crew took down the tree because it was diseased, and they let me keep all the wood (Thanks, guys!).

3. Level the top with a chainsaw. Usually it has a step left over from the felling cut.

4. Cut a slot into the bark a fraction of an inch deep around the section, about three inches below the top and three inches above the bottom. The cable will set in this slot later. If you don’t have a chainsaw, you can use a regular saw.

5. With the charcoal, mark the log into six sections. Draw a hexagon about three or four inches in from the side. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

6. This tree was an oak, which splits nicely on straight grain. With the splitting maul, chop the log into sections along the lines you drew. No big deal if you miss your marks (I did). You could also do these cuts with the chainsaw if you’re careful.

7. Chop out the inner part of each section with the splitter. This will take pretty good aim with the splitter. Note that I accidentally knocked a section of bark loose.

8. Assemble the pieces back together on the stump base. It will fit nicely and look really natural.

9. If a piece of bark falls off, you can tack it back on with trim nails.

10 Run a loop of sturdy picture hanging wire or weatherproof rope around the slot on the outside edge. I cranked it tight by tying a bowline on one end and two half hitches on another. Maybe there’s a better kind of knot to use.

11. The planter is like a rustic barrel which perfect fits over the stump. Fill it with planting mix and plant with flowers.


John Kelley said...

I got tired just reading it. With all the large tree's we have around our house this idea is going to be very handy. Thanks!

Dit said...

Blimey, you are very multi-talented. As I only have a few window sills, it's not really an option for me but it was still fun to watch you being creative in a different way :)

Steve said...

No sign of the ear protection being used in the action photos. Hope you had little earplugs or the saw wasn't running.

Cindy Skillman said...

Cool! Wonderful idea. We have a lot of stumps around our place from where we've thinned out the trees. They're still attached to the ground, though! Maybe I can just dig them out a little ways with the tip of the chainsaw -- it would be tricky, but I have a small one that's good to use for carving.

Rich said...

Ear protection: YES

I don't like chainsaws.

But I find it a good idea - a "stump planter".

When it has grown twenty years old. Who knows how it will look?

Time will tell.