The goal of this ible is to show you how to easily remove a stump.
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Step 1: Material
First off, I call this the easy way and not the lazy way, because the lazy way is to wait 15-20 years and push it over. This means it will still involve some work, and some tools. However, this does not require heavy machinery, excessive digging, and if some tools listed are not available to you, you can just use alternatives (which I will list).
What you absolutely need:
- A digging shovel
- A transplanting shovel
- Something to start a fire
- Wood to burn
- A reciprocating saw and cheap and agressive 6 inch blade (go cheap in this case, because the soil will destroy any blade; in this case quantity IS quality)
- you can alternatively use a chainsaw, but the blade will go in the dirt, making the removable cheap blade ideal. There is also a matter of manoeuvrability. However, if you have both, go for it!
- A blower of some kind. What you have is what you have, but here are some ideas
Stuff that will really make your life easier:
Step 2: Digging Around and Cutting
The first step is to dig around your stump. The important part is to try to clear up the upper roots as best as you can so that you can cut them. As you cut them, you will see water gush out if the stump is fresh; the less water it has, the easier it will be to burn. The second aspect to digging is to try to clear some space to be able to burn from under as much as possible. Burning form the top won't do much, I spent a summer burning my other stump from the top, and it did nothing but make the top black.
Sometimes cutting will be difficult, pre-drilling a series of holes will make the cutting much easier. The wood is very wet and under tremendous force from the stump, so leaving gaps makes it less likely that the blade will jam.
At this stage I also used a splitting wedge to open up a gap in the middle of the stump to make it easier to burn and cut up later on.
Safety tip: if the root system is older and dried up (or even if it is not), it can catch fire. Once you have cut up the roots to prevent water from being drawn back it, it's probably not a bad idea to cover the exterior roots with some mud or clay.
Step 3: Fire Number 1
Start a fire. Actually, start multiple fires! I used 4 small fires in the main nooks of the stump. I then pointed my fan towards the flames to feed them with plenty of oxygen (crucial part), and let it burn overnight. I did not do this at the time (I only thought of it for the second fire), but using the shop vac in reverse will really create intense heat; I'm talking blue flames and glowing white coals.
Step 4: Clean Up!
This fire will take out a chunk, but it will also dry up the soil. The next day you can vacuum up the sut but also the extra soil to really clear out. I took out about 40L (10 gallons) of extra soil with the shop vac. It made the second burning much more efficient.
Step 5: Fire Number 2
With the stump very well cleared up, and the side walls burned up a bit, you are ready to really put the fire under there. Over the course of the fire push the coals under the stump as much as you can without choking them. You will be able to burn inches of stump per hour with the use of the higher power blower.
Step 6: Cut Up the Rest (or More Fire)
At the end I had 2 thin (ish) pieces left. I drilled a long string of holes and just zipped the rest off with my reciprocating saw.