Introduction: Driftwood Coffee Table

This very contemporary table can be as big or small as you want, as long as you can find a stump! It can be rustic or refined.

We've seen tables this size selling for over $1000 at furniture stores. This only cost a lot of time (some family togetherness:) and the price of the glass top ($160.00).

Step 1: Find Your Tree!

You can use whatever you can find. We had a coffee table in mind. I looked whenever we hiked. We lived in Anchorage, Alaska and found this on the beach along the coastal trail. It was near the trail, near a road. Keep in mind that they are HEAVY! This took my grown son and 3 equally big, strong young men to get the stump, cut from the fallen tree (use a chainsaw!), get it "rolled" up the embankment, and into the back of a pick up truck.

They got lots of offers for it along the way from onlookers:)

Step 2: It's Got to Get Cleaned and Dried Out.

I looked up lots of online ideas on how to clean the stump so no critters came into the house. We got it in the Fall. I wanted to keep toxins to a minimum too. So I cleaned it by pouring boiling water over it until it was as clean as possible.

We then let it sit outside until spring. We wanted it to dry out as much as possible. Anchorage is wet all winter but in a warmer, drier environment, this step would obviously go faster.

Step 3: Determine Your "sides"

We liked the underside best. So we made that the top of the table. We wanted to keep lots of tangles and character. So pick your top and bottom. Using a chainsaw, trim off what you don't want and start working on a flat top and bottom.

Step 4: Remove Bark & Finish Rough Spots.

We used a flat head screwdriver to pry off the bark. But a paint scraper could also work.

If you want a smoother finish, you can trim off rough spots with the chainsaw or a sander. We kept ours rough.

Step 5: Leveling

This is the hardest step. Be sure you level the table on a level surface.

Chop and trim the top and bottom surfaces with the chainsaw and sand as flat as possible.

Move the table to where it will live in your house and check for level with a leveler. This can be done with or without the glass top (if you are adding one).

Step 6: Adding a Glass Top.

We topped our table with a round glass top that we were able to purchase at a glass shop. We measured an inch beyond the widest point of the table on either side. Our table was 4 feet across. Our glass was 4 ft 2 inches in diameter.

Step 7: Add a Stain and Finish If You'd Like

We kept ours raw but you can stain/finish with a gloss if desired.

Step 8: Decorate and Enjoy

We tuck seashells into our table. The shells are from trips we've taken over the years. We can also dress it up for the holidays.

This was an adventure, continues to be a conversation starter, and one of the few pieces of furniture we moved all the way to Oregon from Alaska.

Hope yours turns out just as cool.

Tables and Desks Contest 2016

Second Prize in the
Tables and Desks Contest 2016