Yard cleanup after a storm often leaves discarded trees and stumps on the curb to be disposed of as trash. Recycle some of that refuse into attractive and useful items instead. A little ingenuity can turn an old tree stump into a decorative clock for your counter or bedside table. Look for a stump piece that is about 12 inches in diameter with a slight taper so that the base is wider than the top.
Place the stump sideways into the bench vise and tighten the vise to hold it snugly. This will make it easier to work on it safely.
Place the carpenter’s square on the stump and use chalk to mark a straight line near the bottom of the stump. This is where you will cut the stump to make the base of the clock. Use the square and chalk to mark where the top of the clock will be cut.
Put on your safety glasses and gloves for protection. Always wear safety gear when using power tools.
Cut the stump along the chalked lines using the reciprocating saw. Change the position of the stump in the vise if necessary to make a clean cut on each end.
Remove the bark from the stump section using the draw knife. Place the draw knife at the end of the stump and draw the blade back toward you slowly to remove the bark. Turn the stump in the vise and tighten it back down as you work to get all the bark stripped away.
Slide a coarse sanding band onto the sanding drum accessory and attach the drum to the rotary tool. Sand the stump with the rotary tool; repeat using medium and fine sanding bands until the finish is as smooth as you want it to be.
Decide where you want the clock to go and trace around it with a felt marker. Make the mark out just a little so that the cavity is large enough to put the clock in easily.
Attach the engraving cutter bit to the rotary tool. Push it all the way in and then back it out just a little and tighten the chuck to hold it firmly.
Use the engraving cutter to remove the wood inside the marked area. Carve away enough wood so that the clock rests in the cavity with the just the face exposed.
Attach the sanding drum to the rotary tool with a coarse sanding band installed on it. Sand the inside of the cavity until smooth and stain or paint the stump as you like.
Attach one side of a Velcro patch to the back of the clock and the other side to the inside of the carved cavity. Push the clock into the cavity and join the Velcro pieces to hold the clock in place.
Tips & Warnings
- Create an all-in-one time and weather center. Cut your stump in half and install a clock, barometer and thermometer on the flat side.
- Always use power tools responsibly to prevent accidental injury.
Things You'll Need:
- Small tree stump section
- Rotary tool
- Digital travel alarm clock
- Velcro patches, adhesive backed
- Bench vise
- Cordless reciprocating saw
- Work gloves
- Safety glasses
- Draw knife
- Carpenter’s square
- Sanding drum attachment, ½ inch
- Engraving cutter accessory
- Coarse sanding bands
- Medium sanding bands
- Fine sanding bands
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