How to Preserve A Wood Stump?

Most people try to get rid of the leftover tree stumps but there are a lot of reasons for preserving them as well. But the process of preserving a tree stump can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t have prior experience with it. Let’s take a look at the proper methods of preserving a tree stump.

Depending on the condition of the tree stump and on whether you want to preserve it for outdoor or indoor use, you can start the process by making sure that the stump is dry. First sand the stump to make it smooth, wipe it with a damp cloth and apply a wood sealant.

preserving tree stumps aster removal

Why Should You Preserve A Tree Stump?

There can be a lot of reasons for preserving a tree stump, they are an excellent option for incorporating into the landscape by turning a stump into a decorative piece. You can also paint the stump and polish it to keep it indoors as well.

Another option can also be to turn it into a pedestal or a stool. Natural tree stumps can add a really nice touch to your living room. They can also be the base for keeping other decorative objects on them.

Another reason for preserving a stump is to protect it from rotting and keeping away pests and diseases, especially if you don’t want to remove them from your property.

Can All Stumps be Preserved?

You should keep in mind that not all tree stumps can and should be preserved. Tree stumps can start rotting once the tree has been cut down and if they have rotted beyond repair then they might not be able to be preserved.

Some wood qualities are also more preferable for preserving like oak, redwood, western red cedar, and other high grades of wood. These woods have high durability which is perfect for long-term preservation.

How to Preserve A Tree Stump?

The process of preserving a tree stump can differ slightly depending on its use case. For example, the preservation of wood stumps for outdoor use will be different from that of indoor uses.

How to Preserve A Tree Stump for Outdoor Use?

Before you start with the process, make sure you have all the necessary materials.

You will need a cleaning cloth, some water, sandpaper with a minimum of 80 grit, polyurethane wood sealant, and protective gloves.

Make sure that the stump is completely dry before starting the process. Look on the surface on the stump, if you see any wood chips or leftover bark, pick them off.

Using a damp cloth, wipe the surface of the stump thoroughly. Always move the cloth in one direction, preferably in the direction of the wood grain.

The next step is to sand the surface of the stump. This step largely depends on your preference for the final look you want. If you want a smoother surface, you can sand as much as you want and vice versa.

Once this is done, apply 2-3 coats of the polyurethane wood sealant on the surface of the stump using a brush. Once the layers have been applied, wait for 2-3 days for them to completely dry out.

How to Preserve A Tree Stump for Indoor Use?

If you have to preserve a stump for indoor use, keep the stump in a garage for at least 5-6 months, preferably longer, so that it completely dries out.

Most indoor uses of a tree stump require them to be really smooth and even unless you are going for a rugged look.

The list of materials required therefore will also increase here. You will need a cleaning cloth, planer, electric sander, protective gloves, minimum 80 grit sandpaper, wood filler, wood stabilizer, gorilla tape, tarp, and finishing gloss spray.

Assuming the stump is already removed from the ground. You can also go through this article to get a better idea about the entire stump removal process if you haven’t done so already.

Cleaning the Stump

The first process is to clear any debris from the stump. After this, wipe both sides of the stump using a damp cloth. Make sure you wipe in a circular motion in one direction.

Do not use the damp cloth on the bark of the stump unless you want to remove the bark entirely.

If you do decide to remove the bark altogether, use a rotary hammer. Slide the hammer in one direction from top to bottom. You can also use sandpaper after this to further smoothen out the bark area.

Smoothening the Stump

A planer is a power tool that is used to make surfaces even. Even the top and bottom surfaces of the stump using a planer.

Rub the stump in a circular motion using sandpaper to reach its grain level. If you have removed the bark, rub the sandpaper on that surface as well.

Finish this process with an electric sander, this step is optional though. Only use this if you don’t have a smooth enough surface or if you haven’t reached the woods rings on the top and bottom parts of the stump.

Once all this is over, wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth.

Finishing the Preservation

To avoid any cracking or warping you can use a wood stabilizer. First, use half a cup and rub it in a circular motion using a cloth. You will need to use more as the wood will quickly absorb this when applied.

Once applied to one side of the stump, cover it with a tarp and let it completely dry. Repeat this process on the opposite side as well. You can apply 2 coats of this stabilizer.

Once this is done, spray or apply some clear finishing gloss spray and let it dry out overnight. This will give the stump a really nice shiny look.


You can preserve a stump for both indoor and outdoor use with slightly different techniques. Once the stump is dry, make it smooth by sanding it and then wiping it with a damp cloth. Apply a wood sealant and let it dry. For indoor use, you can further sand it using an electric sander and apply a wood stabilizer followed up by a finishing gloss spray.

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