Friday, July 3, 2015

How to flush cut a stump

      I decided to do something about a oak stump that had in my yard for several years. Actually, several trees had been growing in this same spot and they finally died out.  It made for a stump with an unusual shape. I decided to forego the usual stump removal and cut it off flush with the ground. This proved to be a winning idea, since it became an interesting piece of yard art and I could run a mower right over it. I even decided to put a preservative on it to slow the rotting process.

1) Dig out around the stump for six to eight inches and a few inches down to make for a cleaner cutting area. Save the dirt in a pail to add back later.

2) Establish a cutting line on the stump flush with the ground. An old tent pole with a Sharpie marker attached worked well.  Then some white spray paint made the line easier to see.

Don't just eye ball it. Make sure it is flush with the ground by marking it.

3) Cut it off on the line.  I found a Reciprocating saw a good option in areas that might contain dirt or that were too close to the ground. In other places a chain works well and is considerably faster. Just take care not to get any dirt in the chain. In other places a hand saw was used. Use whatever it takes to cut it off.

The flexibility of the blade makes a reciprocating saw a good choice

4) Chisel out pieces of the stump with a hand axe or wood chisels when it becomes difficult to get the saw in there.

5) When the stump has become a flat and flush do some finishing work on it. A belt sander is the fastest, but a hand plane and a wood rasp can also further flatten and make the surface smooth.

A belt sander is best for finishing work

6) When satisfied with the surface, apply some preservative like Thomson’s Water Seal.

7) Mow and admire. I sometimes use it for a plant stand in the summer. 

Here are some links to tools used in this job: 
                                                                                                                                                                 Corded                   Quality Cordless              Electric chain
reciprocating saw       Reciprocating saw                saw   


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