How do *you* make a stable-bottom when making single-post, single-specimen display-stands?

SU2

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If I have a failed-collection I tend to save the trunk, have been making some into "bonsai stands" where the post is a dead&weathered trunk(or trunk-with-knees ;D ) and, so it doesn't tip-over, I use a pair of 1"x1"'s to make an "x" that's screwed-into the bottom of the stand/trunk.

Problem is that this is bulky....would love tips/ideas, google was surprisingly useless here... I've got any tool necessary, part of me is thinking that to make the "base" the stump/post will stand upon, I should simply use a multitool/oscillating tool to carve "tongue&groove" cuts in the centers of a pair of 1"x1" beams to then mate at 90deg angle to each other, and the stand/trunk sits upon that? (any of these designs are 'used' by "burying" the 1x1" base-standing, aiming to get base-of-trunk (or 'stand')) at ground-level)

Here's the 1st (and only, of this type at least) I'd tried making, was at least 1.5yrs ago so have FAR more gear&skill for such projects now in fact will be re-doing this 1st one as I love its trunk so it's going back to the 'stock' pile ;D
19700323_160452.jpg
[note: no, bottom doesn't have its 1x1 "X" secured to the bottom although if it did you wouldn't be able to see it, whole idea is that part would be below-ground so the stand appears to be just standing because of how wide its nebari/buttressing is! I can make neat tops all day but I don't know what the best/strongest way to make "an X" for the bottom is and making weak spots by carving tongue&gtoove overlaps in the centers of the base planks seems silly :p ]

Any other tips on these types of things would be appreciated, for instance I've found I'd only put time into 'old' wood (ie weathered/cured' but, at the same time, I LOVE the idea of setting a fire in my fire-pit and treating the wood that way, in FL burnishing is by far the best, still have a good deal of old bark to strip so figure I'll do fire treatments first over a fire-pit and then am expecting that'll make removal of the remaining bark much easier (others are fresh, heck i"ve got an almost-1'-wide ficus aerial-root-"trunk" section, gonna be an awesome stand :D
 

MGTT

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I would try boring a hole in the trunk and setting a 4x4 (or smaller) into it, similar to a mailbox - run that post into the ground to stabilize the trunk. Maybe even rebar into the trunk, then set into quickset....I know, it’s semipermanent at that point, but it should be stable!
 

SU2

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For the one I pictured, that'd work great but what about when you just really want an 'X' below it so you can move it around and still know it's not gonna blow-over, I figure 2x2" or 2x4" is more than enough for the 'x' beneath the post, just no idea what 'carpentry engineering' approach would be proper, all I can picture is making grooves in each support's center so at their overlap(directly under-trunk or under-post) they are able to 'interlock' each other, just hated creating fault-lines at dead center!

I would try boring a hole in the trunk and setting a 4x4 (or smaller) into it, similar to a mailbox - run that post into the ground to stabilize the trunk. Maybe even rebar into the trunk, then set into quickset....I know, it’s semipermanent at that point, but it should be stable!
semi-permanent to a degree, sure, but in our sugar-sand that is an OUTSTANDING concept that I feel silly not thinking of!!! I lean heavily towards large specimen so very heavy containers/trees so, for many of my specimen stuff that'll be in 1 spot for a while (which is the majority of what my poles will be :D ) is going to work-off-of this concept, these trunks are so weak (well, can be and it's imperative to do anything to increase resiliency during the builds!) that I'm actually thinking to drill-up-into the trunk so I can seat rebar(probably fill that cavity/seat the rebar with fiberglass or epoxy resins) and make the post 'male' and have the 4x4 which will penetrate the post as-much-as-practical and'll have a hole/be 'female' to take the post's rebar, would do that interface w/o adhesion so I can remove it as needed and move the post if/when moves are in order :D Thanks a lot, very appreciated! If you've got any tips on wood-management I'd love to hear, my process is:
- aged/dried (off ground, typically in-sun, for a long time til bark is gone or peeling
- remove bark/refinish wood, and, for the next round:
- burnishing over a small fire-pit. I've found nothing to work well on deadwood in moist hot FL except burnishing which is solid if you keep-up with it. So am planning to 'burnish' any&all lumber going to these stands (some PT lumber will go to the bases but think I've got enough bamboo to make the top "shelf" and its support which'd look much nicer than PT lumber!

Thanks for the reply :)
 

MGTT

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I like you’re idea of making a ‘slip post’ - if you’re able to commonize the design, you’d be able to move the post’s around the garden as well.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an great ideas for preserving the wood. You’re right, when the wood is damp and has oxygen, it will rot. So short of applying preservatives, I think you’re burnishing idea is the way to go.

Also, for the X pattern, I think 2x4’s with a cross lap would be fine. If you’re worried, I’d glue them together with epoxy/pu glue and drive BIG bolts thru the X up into the log.
 
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Adair M

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I haven’t done this myself, but you could drive a T-Post into the ground, cut it off at what height you need, drill a hole into whatever post you’re going to use, and slip the post over the T-Post.
 

rockm

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I wouldn't trust a post set on the ground with supports to hold any of my trees up. Too valuable to rely on such an unstable set up. l put anything larger than a shohin size tree on such posts and you're asking for trouble. Wind and weight will pull them over. I bury posts that support platforms. Those posts are set two feet into the ground.
 

SU2

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I like you’re idea of making a ‘slip post’ - if you’re able to commonize the design, you’d be able to move the post’s around the garden as well.
Thank you very much, that night after posting I had tons of ideas (specific & 'meta' for these single-legged stands) and the idea of "commonizing" as you say (great way to put a word to it, thank you) was pretty central, "modular" is another key concept I hope to implement across as many designs as possible.... there's definitely HUGE appeal to being able to move, remove/swap, etc the bases among them or at least "big" bases & "small" bases as I've got a handful of 'tabletop' units/pieces coming through that may not even get true bases. I do not expect to try making the tops/shelves module, think that setting them hard&proper is the smart move & that, when failures finally occur, they're simply re-topped nice&easy ;)

Also, for the X pattern, I think 2x4’s with a cross lap would be fine. If you’re worried, I’d glue them together with epoxy/pu glue and drive BIG bolts thru the X up into the log.
I wouldn't trust a post set on the ground with supports to hold any of my trees up. Too valuable to rely on such an unstable set up. l put anything larger than a shohin size tree on such posts and you're asking for trouble. Wind and weight will pull them over. I bury posts that support platforms. Those posts are set two feet into the ground.
@MGTT - It really depends what I'm trying to hold, how tall a leg it is, etc etc (though I know you know that!) which is why I'm seeing bases as "2-parters" for my "fancy" stands (ie stands with 'artistic piece' legs) But what rockm says is very true, I couldn't trust many of such setups to some stand that's just a wooden-X, have to picture my cat getting into a tomcat-fight and jumping over/off-of it (he's torn a TV off my wall before, nightmare!) so in contemplation after reading replies here I've figured it's best for me to view my stands as 1-of-2 types:
#1 - utilitarian/purpose-built, sure I'll cut 'japanese style' edging and whatnot, still use some burnishing as my go-to for preservation, but my timber/lumber will be mostly/entirely PT(pressure treated/#2) These will have in-ground supporting whether rebar configurations or simple 4x4 post(s) under-base, then there's:
#2 - my 'artsy' leg-stands, for all of these I think anything but small-specimen bonsai are off the table, so to speak, for display. That said, strong bases are key, and moving things - both because I want to change locations or combinations - is a hugely desirable factor here, and with how poor the integrity-of-wood is on some of the bases(and tops, even) of some of my starting-wood, I'm aiming to be as 'modular' as possible -- to that end I'm planning to make in-ground anchored base setups that "take"/mate-with smaller, permanently-affixed bases on the bottoms of tree trunks themselves (these bases would literally be affixed with fiberglass & polyester resins, allowing me to get the strength, sealing and - done right - the perfect levelling/orientation that I need to have a given trunk done-with-base and ready for a top, of which I've got an assortment and for this 1st round am intending to try a lot of random stuff but bamboo stalk pieces seem like an obvious move so expect I'll be settling there!!

Hoping to get some good pics today, between the burnishings (or 'shou si ban" IIRC) and sandings-with-ash and polyurethanes and paints...have some real gnarly stuff, obviously '1st-round' and kinda goofy/hack-grade for people here but IRL anyone seeing them has been loving them which is nice ;D
 

penumbra

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Pedestal stands are usually intended for a single tree, and that tree is usually large enough to be a stand alone, that is to look good by itself or in a group of other like stands. Like stated by BVF and rockm, I bury my posts 2 feet in the ground with concrete. You may be able to get by without the concrete but is it worth it? $5 can add a whole lot of security. I would scap what you have and start over with a bag of concrete, a pressures treated 4x4 or 6x6 base depending on the size of the bonsai you intend to display, and seasoned good wood for the top.
It looks like you used green wood for the top slats and it looks like it was cheap pine, perhaps a salvaged pallet? I personally use pressure treated 2x for all my pedestals with wood tops. I generally use pressure treated 6x6 for the post. I probably over build but it is just what I do. I will try to post a picture later of a couple of mine. I know that my posts will last for several decades and will hold several hundred pounds.
BTW, I generally like natural organic structures like your tree stump base, but I do not like it as a bonsai stand for a couple reasons. One is the stability factor but the second reason is that I think it fights the overall composition. But that is just my humble opinion.
I would like to add that I have seen many pedestals or monkey poles shown here on this site. Some of them I like the looks of better than my own.
 

rockm

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I built my stands just like @penumbra --6x6 support post Sunk two feet into the ground, pressure treated slats for the surface repurposed from deck building section at Home Depot. I built cross supports underneath the platform surface and installed lazy susan turntables on the surface to make rotating trees for even sunlight easier. that said, I only put my medium sized trees (over 45 lb but under 100) on them. I built a stand for my heaviest tree out of stacked cinder blocks with a purpose built wooden slate platform on top. Those don't move--at all...the pressure treated wood on the stands has lasted a decade. I've got to replace the boards next year.

I would be very surprised if the pallet wood you've got on the top or your stand is going to stand up to all the water that will be draining onto and through it. Rotted support wood can be a very bad thing with heavier bonsai.
 

penumbra

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I built my stands just like @penumbra --6x6 support post Sunk two feet into the ground, pressure treated slats for the surface repurposed from deck building section at Home Depot. I built cross supports underneath the platform surface and installed lazy susan turntables on the surface to make rotating trees for even sunlight easier. that said, I only put my medium sized trees (over 45 lb but under 100) on them. I built a stand for my heaviest tree out of stacked cinder blocks with a purpose built wooden slate platform on top. Those don't move--at all...the pressure treated wood on the stands has lasted a decade. I've got to replace the boards next year.

I would be very surprised if the pallet wood you've got on the top or your stand is going to stand up to all the water that will be draining onto and through it. Rotted support wood can be a very bad thing with heavier bonsai.
Love the lazy Susan idea. If you have some time I would love to see a picture of that.
 

penumbra

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I started this style to match my benches. I had a good supply of 20 year old pressure treated 2x6 that was given to me and that determined the design. I have seen other tops I prefer but as I said, this was free.
IMG_3831.JPGIMG_3832.JPGIMG_3835.JPGIMG_3838.JPGIMG_3839.JPG
Pardon the mess. Its just too hot to do anything but water right now.
 

rockm

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Love the lazy Susan idea. If you have some time I would love to see a picture of that.
Just took this crummy photo of one of my stands with a lazy susan. I'm too lazy myself to lift the tree and move it... 😁 the boards coming out from underneath the pot are screwed to the turntable on the stand surface. I use the crummy punched metal lazy susan turntables made for cabinets lazysusan.jpgavailable at Home Depot. They typically last about three years before the bearings freeze up. They pretty inexpensive and replaceable.
 

Trenthany

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Thank you very much, that night after posting I had tons of ideas (specific & 'meta' for these single-legged stands) and the idea of "commonizing" as you say (great way to put a word to it, thank you) was pretty central, "modular" is another key concept I hope to implement across as many designs as possible.... there's definitely HUGE appeal to being able to move, remove/swap, etc the bases among them or at least "big" bases & "small" bases as I've got a handful of 'tabletop' units/pieces coming through that may not even get true bases. I do not expect to try making the tops/shelves module, think that setting them hard&proper is the smart move & that, when failures finally occur, they're simply re-topped nice&easy ;)



@MGTT - It really depends what I'm trying to hold, how tall a leg it is, etc etc (though I know you know that!) which is why I'm seeing bases as "2-parters" for my "fancy" stands (ie stands with 'artistic piece' legs) But what rockm says is very true, I couldn't trust many of such setups to some stand that's just a wooden-X, have to picture my cat getting into a tomcat-fight and jumping over/off-of it (he's torn a TV off my wall before, nightmare!) so in contemplation after reading replies here I've figured it's best for me to view my stands as 1-of-2 types:
#1 - utilitarian/purpose-built, sure I'll cut 'japanese style' edging and whatnot, still use some burnishing as my go-to for preservation, but my timber/lumber will be mostly/entirely PT(pressure treated/#2) These will have in-ground supporting whether rebar configurations or simple 4x4 post(s) under-base, then there's:
#2 - my 'artsy' leg-stands, for all of these I think anything but small-specimen bonsai are off the table, so to speak, for display. That said, strong bases are key, and moving things - both because I want to change locations or combinations - is a hugely desirable factor here, and with how poor the integrity-of-wood is on some of the bases(and tops, even) of some of my starting-wood, I'm aiming to be as 'modular' as possible -- to that end I'm planning to make in-ground anchored base setups that "take"/mate-with smaller, permanently-affixed bases on the bottoms of tree trunks themselves (these bases would literally be affixed with fiberglass & polyester resins, allowing me to get the strength, sealing and - done right - the perfect levelling/orientation that I need to have a given trunk done-with-base and ready for a top, of which I've got an assortment and for this 1st round am intending to try a lot of random stuff but bamboo stalk pieces seem like an obvious move so expect I'll be settling there!!

Hoping to get some good pics today, between the burnishings (or 'shou si ban" IIRC) and sandings-with-ash and polyurethanes and paints...have some real gnarly stuff, obviously '1st-round' and kinda goofy/hack-grade for people here but IRL anyone seeing them has been loving them which is nice ;D
Send me a PM reminding me tomorrow and I’ll send you a pic of what we do in our parking area that could be useful. If description is enough then cool. Basically it’s a pipe set in concrete. If you matched the pipes in the base and in the leg you could make removable pieces that pair the two up in stead of always having something sticking out the base you’d have a clean wood bottom
 

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Im gona come right out and say it.

I wouldnt trust a stand like that to hold any of my trees.
Not only is it prone to fall over, the top looks like half of the slats are dry rotted or split or not attached well.
 

SU2

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Send me a PM reminding me tomorrow and I’ll send you a pic of what we do in our parking area that could be useful. If description is enough then cool. Basically it’s a pipe set in concrete. If you matched the pipes in the base and in the leg you could make removable pieces that pair the two up in stead of always having something sticking out the base you’d have a clean wood bottom
If you simply mean male/female tubing then I get ya, pics would be neat if there's something more to it but otherwise I get what you mean and *love* it!!! Thought about it a bit and love it, not only could this make everything modular by having 1 or 2 "set sizes" of posts but I could also do things lighter-weight with the idea that the posts get filled with concrete, both the inside of the 'male' post but also "as lube" when inserting male-into-female so that it sets tight&firm!! Good time to have a pole-hole digger ;D

Im gona come right out and say it.
As you always should!!!

I wouldnt trust a stand like that to hold any of my trees.
Not only is it prone to fall over, the top looks like half of the slats are dry rotted or split or not attached well.
Neither would I, or anybody who cared about their trees....suspect you're referencing the broken, partially-assembled picture from post #1? That isn't meant to hold anything in that state, I pulled that from off the ground behind one of my benches where I'd chucked it when its X-footer began wobbling, I suspect the top got banged-up when I tossed it or just from spending the better part of a year on its side. Loved the actual wood though, and it was a clear-enough "template" to describe what the look of my stands was to be, so posted that -- there's a ton more in here about how to safely do these stands but I'll be back with pics soon enough am taking so long as I've got 7 of them being built right now and they've all got varied bases/sizes/finishes/etc so it's taken longer than expected!
 

Trenthany

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Basically male female tubing. We set it in concrete and have a male/male adapter (washer welded in the middle of a pipe matched to both receivers). Both the base concreted in the ground and the post have female (larger pipes) This also has the benefit of allowing swiveling.
 
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