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Old 10-15-2011, 12:33 PM   #1
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Exterior Table Top??


I was asked by someone in the PTO at our school how to turn a tree stump into a table top.

I can easily level the stump out, but it isn't big enough for a top by itself. My suggestion was basically create a top, the same way a wood picnic table top is assembled and screw/lag bolt that to the stump.

The problem is we'd like to have the finished surface be a mosaic tile top with the school logo, etc in the design. So my question is what would be the best way to create a top that would last outdoors that would accomplish this. As I said, I think 2" x 6" lumber laid out like a picnic table would create a great sub-surface, but I'm not sure if we could liquid nail tile to that in a mosaic pattern and grout or not. I also wondered about making the picnic table style top, but glue/screw a sheet of cement board on top, then lay the tile on that.

Any recommendations or ideas??

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Old 10-15-2011, 12:47 PM   #2
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Basically, I'm wanting to combine this stump, which measures about 18-20" at the widest point, with a top that looks like this.
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Exterior Table Top??-riverside-tree-table.jpg   Exterior Table Top??-stump.jpg  

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Old 10-15-2011, 12:52 PM   #3
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Okay forget all those materials you are thinking of because they won't last the first season change. I suppose you also want a round table top too?
Your best bet would be to make the table top out of "marine plywood" then cover it with cement board to insure a proper tile-bond. You would use a quality "modofied" thinset tile mortar that you would modify yourself by mixing-in your own additive rather than buying a premixed modified thinset mortar. Dealing with the edges would be tricky but not difficult. That would be my suggestion.

If you are feeling really crafty and want to make the task slightly more difficult but everlasting, you could cast the top yourself out of cement mix and fasten that to the stump later adding the tile. This method would take considerably longer and would be more difficult but would outlast the tree stump.

Even more difficuly maybe is going to be creating the logo.

You cannot apply ceramic tile to dimensional lumber and Liquid Nails isn't the product to use in this application.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:48 PM   #4
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Exterior Table Top??


I've seen plenty of tiled kitchen worktops that just end up as a soggy mess...........how a piece of tiled plywood would hold up outside I don't know

I would cast a piece of concrete, and with a bit of ingenuity you could use the iroko as the form then tile the face.

You would be 100% sure it wouldn't go rotten

Thanks
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:00 PM   #5
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I've been pondering this a little and have a few additional questions...

First, I'm curious why you think marine grade plywood would last longer than 2x6's put together similar to a picnic table. The only thing I can think of is that the 2x6's might expand and contract in the elements, causing the tile to do the same. I understand the problems with that, but I am not sold on the plywood idea. I have an older Ranger fishing boat that has plywood backing for fishing seats and though they have made it about 30yrs, the boat has been garage kept most of it's life and I am slowly replacing them. Would cement board truly hold up outdoors? If so why wouldn't it hold up on top of dimensional lumber? It seems to hold up through the movements of lumber indoors, although I do realize the inside of a house doesn't generally go from 0* - 110* in a given year!! In any case, I have no doubt the dimensional lumber would hold up....the question is the tile on it. I also believe construction adhesive would keep the tiles adhered, but then again it's the spanning of the joints that would be the issue. I am by no means trying to imply I'm an expert on this, but any time I've adheared any item with the proper construction adhesive, the bond isn't what fails, it's one of the materials being bonded. Now if I were to use cement board and tile, I'm 100% agreeing with your suggestion on the modified mortar.

I do like the concrete idea and this truly might be the best bet. My question here is how thick and how long should I let it cure, before adhering it to the stump? Also, what would you use for re-inforcement, rebar or wire mesh? I would assume it would need to cure about 30days, then I could drill it out and lag bolt it to the stump. I'm also wondering if it would be best to imbed some sort of plate steel, pre-drilled, as a large washer for the lags...

Thanks again for the feedback!!

Oh yeah, will quickcrete work fine for this?? ....any special mixing?
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
I've been pondering this a little and have a few additional questions...

First, I'm curious why you think marine grade plywood would last longer than 2x6's put together similar to a picnic table. The only thing I can think of is that the 2x6's might expand and contract in the elements, causing the tile to do the same. I understand the problems with that, but I am not sold on the plywood idea. I have an older Ranger fishing boat that has plywood backing for fishing seats and though they have made it about 30yrs, the boat has been garage kept most of it's life and I am slowly replacing them. Would cement board truly hold up outdoors? If so why wouldn't it hold up on top of dimensional lumber? It seems to hold up through the movements of lumber indoors, although I do realize the inside of a house doesn't generally go from 0* - 110* in a given year!! In any case, I have no doubt the dimensional lumber would hold up....the question is the tile on it. I also believe construction adhesive would keep the tiles adhered, but then again it's the spanning of the joints that would be the issue. I am by no means trying to imply I'm an expert on this, but any time I've adheared any item with the proper construction adhesive, the bond isn't what fails, it's one of the materials being bonded. Now if I were to use cement board and tile, I'm 100% agreeing with your suggestion on the modified mortar.
I am always amazed at the number of people that come here seeking advice from others that may be wiser and have experience and then when they get that advice they want to argue about it.

You do what you think is best.

Quote:
I do like the concrete idea and this truly might be the best bet. My question here is how thick and how long should I let it cure, before adhering it to the stump? Also, what would you use for re-inforcement, rebar or wire mesh? I would assume it would need to cure about 30days, then I could drill it out and lag bolt it to the stump. I'm also wondering if it would be best to imbed some sort of plate steel, pre-drilled, as a large washer for the lags...

Thanks again for the feedback!!

Oh yeah, will quickcrete work fine for this?? ....any special mixing?
If someone offers to help you again are you just going to poo-pooh everything they have to say again?



Good luck with your project.
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:57 PM   #7
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Exterior Table Top??


do a concrete counter top. Whatever you do, make sure the top of the tump is protected from the weather.
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
I am always amazed at the number of people that come here seeking advice from others that may be wiser and have experience and then when they get that advice they want to argue about it.
I'm sorry, if you think I'm trying to argue about it, I'm really just questioning your answer to gain understanding and ensure it's the best route to go. I appologize if you take offense to that, but considering this is an online forum where anyone can post anything they like, it only seems logical to me that responses are questioned if one is uncertain. I had actually thought about marine plywood, but figured solid treated lumber would be better. I'm truly curious why you felt the ply would hold up....maybe it would, but I question it because of my boat.


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
If someone offers to help you again are you just going to poo-pooh everything they have to say again?



Good luck with your project.
Actually, I am entertaining the concrete idea, that was proposed, just not sure if it will be accepted. This isn't a project I'm in charge of, just one I was asked for input on and I'm trying to get some ideas to go back with.

I do have some concerns with the concrete idea, though I'm sure it would hold up. Weight is an obvious factor, if/when it were to ever come down due to fastener failure or stump rotting out, etc....this will be in a courtyard of a K-5 school and the last thing that needs to happen is a 300lb+ top crashing down on some child. That in itself makes a wood top seem much better....
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
the last thing that needs to happen is a 300lb+ top
About 126# if it measures 30" X 30".
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:00 PM   #10
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Spoke last night with a neighbor, who is a brick mason, and his friend who is a concrete rep. I think we've come up with what sounds like a great game plan. We'll build a form up around the tree, then we'll drill several holes, at angles, into the top of the stump and stick rebar into these holes with some epoxy. We'll then bend the rebar over to create a 90 and lay wire mesh on top of that. We'll then pour directly on top of this, so that when finished, this thing will be solid.

I don't see any chance of the top coming loose aside from the stump rotting out, which should take years. The plan to keep moisture from entering the top of the stump is to cover it with tar paper prior to installing metal and pouring the concrete onto it.

I'm not sure how thick we'll end up, but I'm hoping for about 2" thick, but that'll depend upon how the forming goes and getting the rebar bent to fit right. Size will be another thing better determined by layup. Planning between 3' and 4'.

In any case, I figure that'll put the weight of this around 250-400lbs. Obviously we don't need that crashing down, so if anyone has any additional thoughts, I'd still love to hear them.... I've poured a few slabs, never any tops though. To me this seems pretty safe and secure, but never hurts to have more feedback!!!
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:02 PM   #11
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Here's a quick picture of how I plan to do the steal work on the stump. The thicker lines represent the rebar, the thinner the wire mesh.
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:10 PM   #12
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I'd just go with PT lumber as the top and use a router to carve in the design.
Sure seems an awful lot of work and expense for something that may fall on a kid someday!

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Old 10-26-2011, 04:21 PM   #13
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the problem with pressure treated lumber is it will leave gaps to let water into the stump, accelerating rot.

What is that stump? Hard to tell from the picture especially without knowing your location. It doesn't look like Cedar or other rot resistant woods. The stump will rot in a few years no matter what, so why waste your time playing with a stump? Grind it out and put in a table that wont rot.

Last edited by forresth; 10-26-2011 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:34 PM   #14
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Tar the stump, use PT made for ground contact, it'll last longer than any of US!

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Old 10-26-2011, 04:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by forresth View Post
the problem with pressure treated lumber is it will leave gaps to let water into the stump, accelerating rot.

What is that stump? Hard to tell from the picture especially without knowing your location. Red Pine? Siberian Elm? It sure doesn't look like Cedar or other rot resistant woods. The stump will rot in a few years no matter what, so why waste your time playing with a stump? Grind it out and put in a table that wont rot.
I didn't pay much attention, but I believe it's an elm. If not, most likely a hackberry. Those are the two most common in my area. Again, I believe it's the elm...

I agree it'll probably rot in a few years, but it's not my project, I was just asked to help put a top on it. My guess is it might make it 10 years!? I've seem them last 5, 6 years or more easily in worse condition than that. Of course, those wouldn't hold a top of any sort, but also had serious decay to start with.

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