How to make a mosaic work surface from a stump

When you love using your mosaic hammer, and want to work on a mosaic on your own, what else do you need? A trunk to work on, just like Italians use them.

How to make a mosaic work surface from a tree stump

1. Find a stump with a diameter of 20 – 30 cm and about 85 cm hight. The height is individual and depends on the working position and  of the mosaic maker. The wood should neither be too hard nor too soft, for example you can use beech, acacia or maple. The stump should be seasoned for about a year.

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2. Polish the stump’s surface.

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3. Find the most regular side of the stump. Pierce the stump decentralized and in a place which is nearer to the chosen side of the stump. The hole should never be in the center of the stump! The hole’s depth should be slighlty bigger than the hardie (7,5 — 8 cm).

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4. Entlarge the hole by making it rectangular.

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5. The entlarged hole should be slightly deeper than indicated in the image.

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6. Now push the hardie into the hole using a hammer and a piece of wood. Notice that the hardie’s end doesn’t have contact with the hole’s ground and ‘floats’ freely. It’s necessary to avoid the rebound when cutting the material. The hardie should be fixed well in the whole.

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7. Slightly round the hardie’s edge with a rasp. Otherwise a sharp edge will make your smalti burst.

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8. Enjoy your new stump and start your mosaic project!

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Futher recommendations

  • A recently cut stump should season for at least a couple of months. The seasing should be in the raised up (from the floor) position and elevated with some pieces of wood which guarantee a regular drying of the hole stump.
  • It’s better to pierce the stump bevor it’s completely dry. Like this, by the conseqent drying, the hardie will be hold better by the hole’s sides.
  • A stump should dry slowly to avoid big cracks. It’s recommended to put it in a dry place wich isn’t exposed to the sunlight, e.g. the cellar or the garage.
  • In case the stump gets cracks along its height, it can be fixed with zinc rings, that are used e.g. for wine barrels.

Drawings by Alina Chubova

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  1. says: Judy

    What size drill bit should be used to make the hole? A Forster bit of what size?

    This is the best article I have found.

  2. says: Judy

    What size drill bit should be used to make the hole? A Forster bit of what size?

    This is the best article I have found. I just returned to the USA from Venice where I took a individual tutorial from Maestros from the Spielemberg school.

    The workshop and Studio is called Artefact Mosaic workshop.
    Romuold gave me an old Hardie and told me to round the blade, set it the same way you recommended. I need the size of the drill bit please.

    Thank you,


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