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How to Hollow Out a Tree Log (For a Planter or Geocaching)

How to Hollow Out a Tree Log (For a Planter or Geocaching)

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If you recently had a storm, then you might have a significant number of downed tree limbs or logs on your property. Sometimes people will need to take trees down to make room for other things, too, but it seems like a waste to just throw the logs out.

This is why so many people try to come up with practical uses for tree logs. There are certainly those who will chop the wood up so that they can use them in fires, but that might not appeal to you.

You might think that hollowing out a log so that you can use it as a container or planter is a good idea. But how would you even go about doing this?

Read on to learn about how to hollow out a tree log. There are several ways that you can go about it, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find the one that will work for your situation.

Hollowing Out a Log by Cutting it in Half

There are people who like to use logs for geocaching purposes, and they might wish to hollow out a log to hide things. This can be fun if you’re into it, but you might be scratching your head about how to make this happen while still making the log look natural.

The basic idea is to cut the log in half lengthwise and then hollow it out. Once you have two halves, you can just hollow it out as much as you need to by using a simple wood chisel.

This might take a bit of time, but it will be an effective way to hollow out the log. Once the log has been sufficiently hollowed out, you’re going to need to combine the two halves once more.

To do this, you’re going to use wood glue to get the two log halves to become one. You’ll now have a hollow log that you can place things in, and this can be very useful for geocaching games.

Making a Planter

Log Planter

If you want to make a planter out of a log, then there’s going to be one really practical way to do that. This will be a bit different than hollowing out a log to make a cylindrical container, but it won’t be all that difficult if you follow the steps below.

Attach a Board to the Log

Attaching a board to the log will allow you to have an easier time hollowing it out. Most logs are going to be at least somewhat cylindrical, and this means that they will roll on you.

Find the most stable side of the log and then attach a board to that side of the log. You want your base board to be a bit longer than the log itself.

To attach the base board to the log, it’s going to be necessary to use long screws. You can try to place the log a bit further back on the board just so it doesn’t get too close to the fence of your drill press that you’ll be using later.

Mark the Log up and Start Cutting

Mark Up And Cut The Log To Create A Planter

Now it’s going to be time to mark the log so that you’ll know where to cut. Use a market to make a rough outline of the area that you wish to hollow out for planting purposes.

Depending on what you’re planning to plant in the log, you might have very specific dimensions in mind. Once this is done, you can clamp the log to the drill press so that you can start cutting things out.

You then just keep making overlapping cuts with your drill press until you’ve hollowed out the log sufficiently. Most people will make several holes in the log where individual plants can be placed in each hole, but you could approach this differently if you’d like.

It would also be possible to just hollow out the entire log this way so that you’d have a completely open planter, but it’s up to you to decide what to do. When you’re done with the cutting, it’ll be time to move on to the next step.

Chiseling and Carving

Chiseled Out Hollow Tree Log

Now it’s time to do some fine chiseling and carving to get things smooth. Grab your wood chisel and start going over the cuts that you made with the drill press.

You’re going to be trying to make things even and presentable so that you can be happy with your work. Smoothing out the rough edges might take a bit of time, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Get the Planter Ready to Be Used

Log Planter On Rocks

Getting the planter ready to be used involves just lining it properly so that you can plant things. It’s recommended to line the bottom of the hollow log with charcoal because it helps significantly with drainage and air filtration.

You’ll then be ready to put soil in the log and you can start planting your plants. Hopefully, this new log planter will be perfect for your garden area.

People use these log planters for all sorts of things, but they’re very popular for helping gardeners to plant succulents. You could use them differently, but this is just a good idea if you want something that you can get started with.

Final Thoughts

Hollowing out logs won’t be all that difficult, but you’ll go about it in different ways depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. The most common reason for hollowing out a log will likely be to use it as a planter, but geocaching is also quite popular.

You’ll need to have access to the right tools no matter which idea you decide to go with. You could technically get by without using a drill press, but it’d take longer to only hollow out the log using a wood chisel.

The important thing is to be thorough so that you can make the log look how you want it to. You’ll be spending some time doing things with a wood chisel no matter what if you wish for the log to be smooth.


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Saturday 1st of October 2022

Thanks for the article! I have been wanting to make a log planter. I just wonder how it will weather overtime? Or if it would be messy if it was used inside?