Knotted Tree Table (from Old Christmas Trees)




About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

This little table is made from the trunks of two old Christmas trees, along with some scrap wood.

The trunk/pedestal of the table is tied in a knot. This was done by cutting the two trees up into many pieces, and then reconnecting them into a more interesting form. The trunk is only fastened to itself inline--meaning the sides of the trunk that pass near each other are not connected in anyway (nor do they touch).

This was an interesting experiment in woodworking, and the method used for making this is actually quite simple.

Thanks for taking a look.

Step 1: Old Christmas Trees

Every year when the holidays are over, I trim the branches off of my used Christmas tree and keep the trunk so I can reuse it to make something later. A couple of years ago I made this Christmas Tree Didgeridoo.

I have a small stockpile of (mostly) dried Christmas tree trunks from which I chose two of the same species for this project. However, any relatively straight piece of tree branch or small tree would work.

Step 2: Clean Up the Trunk

I began by clamping my tree trunks to my work table and used a reciprocating saw to trim off all the branch nubs that were left from when I originally snipped off the branches.

I then sanded the trunks lightly with 100 grit sandpaper to knock down any jagged edges. I didn't go too heavy-handed though, as I wanted to leave as much bark and moss as I could.

Step 3: Make a Base

I made a base out of some used pieces of 2 by 4. All of these pieces had been part of an old picnic table, hence the nice weathered look.

These pieces were glued and screwed together, and then the entire thing was cut into a circle shape with a jig saw.

Step 4: Cut Up the Trunks

I began by cutting a 12-inch piece from the bigger of the two trunks to start the pedestal. This first piece was glued and screwed to the base from underneath.

I then began cutting the trunks into small pieces and laying them out in order of size. All cuts were done on an electric miter saw.

I set my miter saw at 13 degrees, and rotated the trunks 180 degrees after each each cut. Each cut-off piece was about 1 1/2" on the tallest side.

Step 5: Glue and Nail Pieces Back Together

I began gluing and nailing the pieces back onto the first piece of tree trunk that was attached to the base.

This was done with a small brad nailer and 1 1/4" brads.

Step 6: Make It Up As You Go

The angle on the pieces allowed them to be spun around and placed however I saw fit.

The important things to remember here are to put a thin layer of glue on both surfaces to be joined, and to not shoot yourself with the nail gun. Work carefully, and mind your finger and hand placement.

Step 7: Finished Pedestal

I added some extra branches above the knot section to support the table top.

Step 8: Table Top

The table top was made from pieces of 3" pine that I had left over from other projects.

These were all cut and joined together using a biscuit joiner, biscuits, glue, and clamps.

Step 9: Finishing

The table top was stained with emerald green water-based stain. I didn't like the way it looked at first, so I added a layer of rosewood stain over the green. This gave it a nice earthy color that I was more pleased with.

The table top, pedestal, and base received a few coats of semi-gloss lacquer.

Step 10: Attach Top to Pedestal

The table top was attached to the pedestal with black screws through the table top into the branches.

It's an interesting piece, and I am very happy with how it turned out. Let me know what you think!

Furniture Challenge

Participated in the
Furniture Challenge



    • Barbeque Challenge

      Barbeque Challenge
    • Paint Challenge

      Paint Challenge
    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest

    15 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I love this! Is there a reason for the 13 degrees? And did you mark them in a way to keep track as you were cutting or was it obvious enough? I have mortise and tenon cutters in all sorts of sizes for my drill so I would fit the top and bottom on that way, but I am going to make something inspired by this brilliant table for sure.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Good question! I found that 13 degrees (or thereabout) provided a great angle to allow swiveling the pieces any such way I wanted, to create either curved or straight sections depending on how they were placed one after the other.


    6 years ago on Step 10

    Very, Very Creative! I like the "art" that you added to the "craft" in this project. Very nice idea! You are on the same page I am - making useful items out of recycled and reclaimed wood!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 10

    Thank you! I really enjoyed making this little table, and was happy with how it turned out.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! I just sawed the stumps off of two Christmas trees my neighbors were throwing away. One thing I noticed was that there is tons of sap - did you have this problem, or any recommendations to deal with the sticky sap?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, there's always lots of sap! It can be pretty messy depending on the species of the tree. I don't have any secrets to working with sappy trees... wear rubber gloves maybe?

    What are you planning on making? I'm still trying to figure out what to make out of my tree from this last Christmas.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    at first I thought great use for a really cool branch but you created it ! AWESOME


    7 years ago on Step 10

    Beautiful table! It has a great organic feel to it, and I love that you used recycled materials for most of it!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 10

    Thank you very much! I enjoyed making it and love the way it turned out. I'm actually working on a couple more items using the same technique and materials, so I may post some info on these soon as well.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I absolutely love Instructables that not only make me think 'Wow, what a smart / neat / amazing idea!' when I first read the introduction, but make me wonder how on Earth it was done. There are lots of great ideas on this site, though when I can't quite see how the idea was turned into a build I'm blown away.

    This is a perfect example of this.

    It looks genius, I must say. How clearly do those joins come up? They look fairly inconspicuous in the images.

    Keep it up!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction


    The joints were pretty close on all of the pieces. There were a few spots where one piece was slightly bigger than the next or would overhang just a bit, and I sanded those down with my dremel and a sanding attachment. There were only a couple these spots though. Thanks again, I'm glad you liked it.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    looks cool but i think it would look better if the branch was debarked


    7 years ago on Introduction

    That Sir is a nice job the construction of the tree trunk base isn't something that I would have though about ingenious creativity and a good looking table to boot.
    Keep up the good work