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Man Took Home This 400-Year-Old Tree Stump. Then He Revealed What He Was Really Doing With It



The average person wouldn’t see the beauty in a centuries-old, decaying tree stump. Brent Graham, however, is far from an average person and instead he saw the mountain of opportunity it possessed. He took the 400 year old tree stump home with him and had great vision in mind.

Start the slideshow below to to see the stunning results of this man’s handiwork.

1. The Stump.

Most people would shell out a decent amount of money to have tree stumps removed from their property — especially an old, rotting stump, with the potential to harbor a variety of bugs and root diseases which can adversely affect nearby flora. Not only are they unsightly, but they can also produce quite a smell if not properly treated. Instead of removing and disposing of the stump altogether, one man saw its beauty and was inspired to bring it back to life.

2. Graham, The Man.

Brent Graham is a DIY wizard who owns and operates a hobby workshop in Torrence, California with his wife and daughter. When he overheard one of his clients mention they wanted to get rid of the tree stump, he hauled it back to his workshop, grabbed his tools and got to working on something incredible. By the time he was finished, you won’t believe what it turned in to.

3. Hand-Chiseled Chasm.

After a thorough examination of the tree stump, evidence suggested that it had been worked on by a previous DIYer in the past. Someone had to have hand-chiseled a pattern into it, which rarely could’ve been done simply by nature. Although it wasn’t fancy, it provided a unique feature for Graham to work with.

4. No Tree Bark.

He also noticed that the stump already had all of its bark completely removed from each side and had been sanded. Using those three features as inspiration, Graham had to decide what to do with his canvas. So what did he decide?

5. Embracing the Imperfections.

Instead of filling in the chasm, or adding back the missing bark, Graham decided to embrace the tree stumps imperfections.

“The grain and the rot pattern is beautiful,” he wrote.

This man clearly had an appreciation for wood and recognized the character this particular stump had. He was determined to emphasize its imperfections and the end result proves he accomplished just that.

6. Step One.

He began the makeover by sanding the wood down and wetting it. This helped the detail in the grain show through, where Graham was able to properly count the rings to determine its age. He discovered it was a Douglas fir tree that was around 400 years old.

7. Leveling the Surface.

Next, he began smoothing out the wood’s surface by using a router and the help of his wood-working skills. Unfortunately, he accidentally slipped and gouged out a piece of its surface in the process. Luckily, he recovered and was able to move forward with the project.

8. Creating the Outline.

Inspired by a caldera – or a volcanic crater – he proceeded to map out an outline for the shape of the glass filling that would sit atop the gaping holes. After carefully tracing a pattern that resembled a lake, he moved onto his next step which would require some assistance.

9. Digitalizing the Outline.

After mapping out the desired shape, Brent converted it into a digital file to be used by his water jetter, which could cut the shape into pieces of glass. Meanwhile, he used the same outline to cut out a piece of particle board to be used as a template for chiseling a recess in the stump that the glass would sit in. Genius!

10. Taking Shape.

The project was really starting to come together. As he wrote,

“The top has been planed. The glass has been cut. The wood has been wetted.”

Everything was in place and the project was nearly complete, but first there was something bothering him that he had to fix.

11. Fixing His Mistakes.

At the beginning of the project, when Graham was sanding the top and made a chip, he gouged a piece of the wood out. Before he could continue, he had to find a way to fill the missing piece. So, he ended up utilizing some existing walnut from a previous project, cutting a square and tapering the bottoms,

“so the bottom had a smaller footprint than the top.”

12. Patching the Holes.

Once the walnut squares were cut, he used them as a guide to trace their outline onto the wood slab. Using a plunge router, he carved out their shape, then used a hammer to set them in place. Voila! Holes successfully patched.

13. Fixing the Blemishes.

Once all the blemishes were fixed, Brent could finally move on to the finishing touches. Using a wet t-shirt, Brent applied a coat of Arm-R-Seal satin finish.

“If I had heard of this stuff earlier, I’d have used it on so many projects,” he wrote on Imgur.

Thoroughly pleased with the discovery of this new product, he claimed the Arm-R-Seal was the best he’d ever used to finish. We can agree, isn’t it looking good?!

14. Giving it Feet.

With the top of the surface mostly complete, Brent flipped the slap onto it’s side. He could then install four 2.5 inch feet to its base, bringing it to a total height of 18.5 inches — a much more practical height for his end vision.

15. Adding More Shine.

Of course, one coat of finish wasn’t cutting it. Graham added not only one, but two more coats of finish to give add a luminous shine. I think we can all agree, it’s looking unbelievably great!

16. Last Minute Touch-Ups.

To wrap everything up, Brent made a few last minute touch-ups to ensure the glass would fit perfectly once put to use. He sanded down the wood around the glass so that it would fit nice and snug. You can really see the different in the picture below featuring a close up of his work.

17. The End Result.

After a ton of hard work & inspiration, Brent turned a rotting old tree stump into a beautiful coffee table! Several people complimented him on his work, and he provided suggestions for those who wanted embark on similar projects themselves.

18. Copycat Projects.

One commenter said,

“I want one … formed in [to the shape of] the State of Michigan … all the great lakes represented.”

What an inspiration Brent proved to be! Now anyone can follow the same process to create a coffee table of their own.

19. The Staged Product.

It was finally time to move the coffee table into his house for staging. It fit right in and created the perfect accent piece and focal point in his living room. What a stunning piece!

20. The Finishing Touch.

As if it couldn’t get any better, Brent placed a gold sailboat directly on the glass piece that represented a “lake”. Somehow, this final touch tied the whole project together. With these last few shots, you can really tell how much passion, workmanship and creativity that went into his project.


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