The Power Tree: Outdoor Power Source

About: I am an erstwhile Trailerpark Scholar, tinkerer, student of life, graduate of the school of hard knocks.... with a couple of tech schools and a college degree tossed in. I live in Lufkin, Texas, with my wi...

Sometimes I get some cool ideas that are possibly not entirely practical.  This is one of those.  I was using the chain saw to carve up a stump for another project and thought it might be cool to have a switched plug fastened in a tree stump to use in the flower garden.  This is what I came up with.

This project required a good understanding of household wiring and some skill with a chain saw.

Step 1: Getting a Tree!

We live in the woods.  Trees are not a problem.  The one I chose was handy.  It was a half-rotten oak that a storm blew over behind my shop.  I cut about five feet out of the log, leaving stubs where I cut the limbs off.  I took the chain saw and cut a notch out near the top.  I cut a groove down the tree to the base for the power chord. 

Step 2:

I scrounged for the electrical setup.  I dug around in my electrical parts bin and found a switch and an old metal plug box.  I took a plug from an old extension setup.  For the switch box I found a telephone connection box.  I put some foil tape around the outside of the box to cover holes.  It was a novel thing to use but heck, why be normal?  I used a chord from an old saw.  I should probably have used a much longer chord but this one was black so I thought it would look better.

I cut the ends off the switch.  Then I cut a space in the plastic phone box cover and drilled holes for the screws to mount in the switch.  I routed the wire through a hole in the back of the box and stripped about eight inches of insulation from the wire.  The black lead went to the switch.  I cut the white lead for a jumper from the switch back to the black side of the plug.  White lead from chord to white side of plug.  Green to ground.  It's wired!

Step 3:

I had to cut the notch a bit bigger for the boxes.  I mounted the telephone box base.  Then I installed the cover along with the metal box and plug.  I screwed the metal box down and fastened the plug in.  Then I pushed the chord in along the groove.

Step 4:

The only thing left is to fix the log so it will stand, put it in the garden and hook it up!  I couldn't find a good base to fasten to the log so I decided to drill a hole through the bottom of the log and drive a pipe into the ground to hold it up.  I called my wife to insure placement in the garden was to her liking.  I put it up and hooked up the lights of the bridge and bingo!  That's it.



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    3 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I used a similar idea for a standing arbor a couple years ago, trouble driving in the pipe far enough but it is still standing, would like to see the dancing gnomes though!