How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump in 3 Easy Ways

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how to hollow out a tree stump

Did you do a bit of tree felling in your yard this winter? Now you have a stump in your garden, and there's no way you're going to dig it up. The hours you would have to spend removing the roots makes you start sweating at the thought. Well, this is how to hollow out a tree stump with three simple methods.

So, what are you going to do about the tree stump? It's a bit of an eyesore to leave it in the garden, but what other option do you have? Repurposing the tree stump into an ornamental garden attraction is a great way to give your yard an organic feature that's eye-catching and visually appealing.

This post gives you three methods on how to hollow out a stump and turn it into something special for your garden.

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump – 3 Methods that Work

So, how do you hollow out the old tree stump and convert it into an attractive planter? We curated this list of three methods to help you with your DIY project. All of them are effective, and they all take around a day of work to finish. Whether you have tools or want to do it by hand, one of these methods will work for you.

Method 1 – Doing It Manually

how to hollow out a stump? one of the methods is to do it manually!

The first way to hollow out that tree stump is using good old blood, sweat, and tears. Manually chopping and digging out the wood with any types of hammers, chisels, and drills you have is the most common way gardeners accomplish the task.

These tools are readily available at hardware stores, and if you're a handyman, you probably already have them in your garage. Chiseling is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but it's rewarding when you stand back at the end of the day and inspect your work.

Here are the steps to hollowing out the tree stump using this manual method.

Step 1 – Wait until after heavy rainfall to start the project. This strategy allows the stump to absorb the water, making it softer and easier to work with. It also reduces the chances of the wood splitting.

Step 2 – Drill a series of holes around the stump, two to three inches from the edge. Space the holes around an inch apart and keep drilling until you cover the entire area you want to remove.

Step 3 – Take your hammer and whatever types of chisels you have handy and chip between the holes to slowly remove the pieces of wood. Keep the chisel at a 45-degree angle into the wood for the best results. Remember to wear gloves to protect your hands.

Step 4 – After removing most of the wood, use the chisel to clean and smooth the jagged edges. Wipe or vacuum the sawdust away.

Step 5 – Compost the remaining wood chips and sawdust to feed the wood back to your garden and complete the project. Use the drill to carve out a drainage hole.

Method 2 – Using a Chainsaw

how to hollow out a tree stump with a chainsaw

The fastest way to complete the project is by using a chainsaw. If you don't have one, rent it from a local plant & hire. However, it's important to know using a chainsaw is dangerous. If you have no experience working with one, you might consider using one of the other methods to bore out a tree stump instead.

If you have the skills to safely operate most types of chainsaws, use the following method for how to hollow out a tree stump with a chainsaw.

Step 1 – Wait for the stump to dry out. Give it a few weeks without any rain before starting the project.

Step 2 – Use a marker to outline the area you want to cut out. Keep it two to three inches away from the edges to prevent splitting. Use a chisel to scrape out the top layer of wood.

Step 3 – Using a star pattern, take the chainsaw and carve away the wood from the center to the edges. Remove the chunks just like you're notching a tree.

Step 4 – Finish by smoothing out the edges using your chisel.

Step 5 – We recommend using your drill to drill out a drainage hole.

Pro Tip – Add a few pieces of charcoal to the stump's base. It absorbs odors and promotes airflow, reducing the chance of pests and molds taking over the stump.

Method 3 – Using Fire

you can use fire to bore out a tree stump

The final method involves using fire to hollow out the stump. It's a fast and cheap method, but like the chainsaw, there's a chance for things to go wrong. If you live in a dry area, ensure the fire doesn't spread and cause damage. Use the following steps to complete the project.

Step 1 – Remove dry foliage and sticks from the local area to prevent them from spreading. Any types of rakes will get the job done.

Step 2 – Drill a large hole into the stump's center at a 30-degree angle using any types of drills with the proper drill bit. Make the hole around three inches in diameter. Any types of drill bits with a three inch width will work.

Step 3 – Make the hole as deep as the stump's roots.

Step 4 – Drill shallow holes on the top to allow oxygen circulation for the fire to burn.

Step 5 – Fill the holes with an accelerant like kerosene or potassium nitrate.

Step 6 – Pile scrap wood over your stump and light the material. The fire will burn out in the middle of the stump. Please wait for it to burn out before dousing the fire.

Step 7 – When working with fire, keep water on hand to douse it in an emergency. Also, ensure you wash your hands to remove all traces of accelerant before lighting the fire.

Step 8 – Extract any accelerant that seeps into the soil. You can dissolve potassium nitrate in hot water.

Why Should I Hollow Out a Tree Stump?

so far we have covered every detail on how to hollow out a tree stump and here is to learn why should you hollow out a tree stump

Removing the tree stump from your yard isn't an option a lot of times without a considerable expense or damaging your lawn. That's why we're talking about how to hollow a tree stump to make a planter and make it useful. Or maybe you do want to remove it but would rather kill the tree stump slowly over time so you can get rid of it more easily.

The time, effort, and expense of doing that job aren't worthwhile when you can use it for decorative purposes. Even if you hire professionals to do it for you, the removal process tears up your yard and costs you a stack of money.

Hollowing out the tree stump and turning it into a planter is a great alternative to removing it. You get an attractive, organic feature for your garden, and it's relatively easy to do in a single day. If you hire a professional service to remove it, they'll probably tear up your lawn and flower bed, getting the stump out.

That means you'll have to allow the garden to recover from the trauma of the removal, which could take a few seasons. In the interim, your garden looks terrible, and you must restore it to its former glory. That's going to take a lot of work.

Plus, trees are beneficial to your yard because the root systems are home to microorganisms that help aerate and feed the soil. They also play residence to beneficial insects that keep pests away from your garden.

So, removing the stump isn't an option. You might have had to get rid of the tree to stop the threat of it falling on your house in high winds (so don't wait for the cheap time of year for tree cutting), but there's no reason to remove the stump and roots. Here are a few ideas for repurposing the tree stump into something beneficial for your yard.

  • You can fill the interior of the stump with potting soil or compost, creating a beautiful planter for your yard.
  • Create a fairy cottage or "gnome home" by adding accents like windows, doors, and flowers.
  • Use it as a basin or bowl or basin and fill it with water to create a bird bath.
  • Add a flat wooden or glass surface to create an organic outdoor table.
  • Fill or cover the hollowed area with a cushion to make a natural stool.
  • Fill the hole and fit a chess board to create an outdoor games area.

The planter concept is the most popular for homeowners. It looks fantastic, is easy to create, and enhances and complements the overall visual aesthetic of the garden.

here you can learn how to hollow a tree stump to make a planter

Converting your tree stumps into natural types of planters works well with natural, rustic outdoor decor themes. Whatever you choose to do with the stump will add value to your backyard experience.

And That's How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump

Let's review the methodology on how to hollow out a tree stump and make it into a planter. The first method is using a hammer, chisel, and drill. Ensure the wood has time to soak up moisture to make it easier to work with when carving out the planter.

Use a spade bit on your drill to carve the wood from the stump. Leave two to three inches of material from the edge of the stump to prevent it from splitting while carving it out.

The chainsaw is the fastest method for completing the project. However, you'll need experience working with this tool to operate it safely and finish the project without ruining the stump.

Unlike the hammer, chisel, and drill methods, ensure the stump is properly dry before carving it out. The third option is to use fire to burn out the material in the stump. Use accelerants like potassium nitrate or kerosene to burn out the wood.

Ensure you remove all flammable materials from the work area to prevent the fire from spreading. Choose the method that suits your skills and tooling. Don't forget to drill a drainage hole to prevent it from rotting and accumulating mold or pests. And that, my friends, is how to hollow out a tree stump.

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