Powerlines were in danger of being torn down by a beautiful Ash tree, so my city had to cut it down. I saved a few pieces of the stump that were going to be chopped up into mulch. I’ve seen several tree stump side tables, but they all seemed a bit boring. The idea of having a fireplace in the middle of a tree made me laugh, so I carved a hole in the side, decorated it, and added LEDs that flicker like fire. Fairy gardens are cute, so I carved the fireplace with long sweeping edges like a fairy would. I topped the log with a tree made from glass beads, paint, and epoxy. Finally, I covered the sides of the trunk with a thin layer of epoxy to try an preserve the bark.
Instructions to complement the video:
Carve a depression in the top of the log a little deeper than the height of the tallest bead. There will be a thin layer of epoxy below and above the beads, so the depression needs to be slightly deeper than the bead’s height.
Draw a line all the way around the top of the stump about half an inch away from the edge.
Use a surfacing bit on a router to cut a smooth and even depression.
Cut a fireplace out the side of the log. A spade bit will quickly remove the bulk of the material. Then a chisel can be used to clean up the edges and give the shape a bit more character.
Pour a couple layers of epoxy into the depression you carved in the top of the stump. This will seal in the cracks and keep the air bubbles from spoiling the final image.
After the epoxy dries, arrange the beads and pour another thin layer of epoxy over them.
Draw/carve/paint the scene. I practiced on a sheet of acrylic to get the right look. I decided not to paint the tree trunk because the wood from the log looked better than any tree I could paint.
I’m not a very good painter, so I masked off the tree while I painted the sky. Then I masked off the sky while painting the grass.
Finally, pour enough epoxy to make the surface smooth. I did this in several stages to make sure the top was perfectly smooth and level.
To finish the fireplace, glue square beads across the bottom of the opening.
When the glue dries, lay the log on its back and coat the inside of the fireplace with epoxy.
When the epoxy dries, stand the log upright, and put the beads into the bottom of the fireplace. Pour epoxy over them and mix them around to make sure all the beads are lightly coated.
Drill out a cavity in the bottom of the stump to hold the battery pack container. I used an outdoor electrical conduit box. They can be found in the electrical section of any hardware store.
To simulate firelight, I used a theater prop sold by J2 LED lighting.
Solder a switch into the line, and mount the switch onto the battery pack container.
Drill a hole up through the bottom of the stump, and down through the back of the fireplace for the wire.
Thread the wire through the hole. Connect everything and close the box.
Seal all the bark with either epoxy or polyurethane. This will help keep the bark on the stump.
Place small sticks over the fire led and glue them in place