How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump (3 Easy Guide)

If you have a few tree stumps in your backyard, they could be an eyesore if you allow them to sit there harboring insects and generally mar the beautiful scenery of your space. But you can remedy this situation by simply re-purposing this stump, but first of all, you will have to follow it.

There are a number of ways to use different tools for creating a hollow in your tree stump; you can use a chainsaw, a chisel, and a hammer to manually create the hollow. You can even use fire; the good news is that any of these methods will get the job done.

So, come along with us as we let you in on how to hollow your tree stump and hopefully turn it into a decorative item that will become a beauty to behold.

Reasons You Need A Hollow In Your Stump

There are a few reasons why you might want to create a hollow in your tree stump, especially as getting rid of the stump can be very strenuous, expensive, and white time-consuming.

This is asides from the fact that it can increase soul runoff in your backyard and you will also be disturbing the soil in the backyard and making it hard for some plants to grow there.

There are even instances where the roots of tree stumps are home to beneficial bacteria and insects, which helps release nutrient into the soil, making the presence of the stump great for the plants around the stump.

There are also a lot of issues associated with removing tree stumps, and safety is at the top of the list; sometimes, it is safer to leave a tree stump where it sits, especially if the removal process is dangerous and can hurt people in the process especially if you lack the requisite skill and experience required for stump removal.

Safety Precaution For Making A Hollow In a Tree Stump

Making a hollow in a tree stump involves a lot of work with different tools, and so you must ensure that you and the people around you are safe while you are at it. Here are some safety tips for sticking to while making a hollow in your tree stump:

1. Ensure that you use the right tool for the right job, in as much as you can help it, don’t improvise on any tool, and ensure that you are experienced in using the tool you will be working with because beginners can not easily use some tools like chainsaw without hurting themselves or people around them. So, know your tools.

2. Since you are working with wood, it is key that you wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from splinters getting into them and creating an emergency.

3. Ensure that you remove all flammable materials around the tree stump you will be working on. This is to ensure that you reduce the risk of accidental ignition of surroundings, especially if you will be burning your stump (we are getting ahead of ourselves here)

4. Do yourself a world of good by wearing protective gloves to keep splinters from piercing your hands as you work. This is especially important if you will be handling some harsh chemicals while hollowing the tree stump.

5. Don’t stand too close to the fire if you burn a hollow into the tree stump because the smoke will get into your eyes and nose and cause irritation and cough; particulate matter can get in your eyes or lungs and cause injury.

6. Ensure you have a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher, and a first-aid- box close by in the event of a fire or accident to respond promptly.

Tools For Creating Hollows In Tree Stump

Making a hollow in a tree trunk is not a child’s play; it entails a lot of planning, tools, resources, time, and energy. Perhaps the most important of these are tools because you can’t get the job done without them. Here are some of the tools you might require for creating a hollow in your tree stump:

1. Chainsaw

This machine makes making a hollow in a tree trunk quite easy and less time-consuming. There are different kinds of chainsaws that you will find online and in stores that can cut wood in the shortest possible time.

You should buy a chainsaw that you feel comfortable working with because they can be quite large and a little cumbersome to carry; hence you should pick a good unit in your hand.

Be sure you know how to operate a chainsaw before you attempt to use it because injuries from chainsaws are common among beginners who are just using the machine for the first time.

2. Hammer and Chisel

This tool comes in handy when you want to create a hollow in a tree stump. The chisel is positioned at an angle of 45 degrees so that the tip is at the edge of the wood splinter that you want to remove; you then use a hammer to wedge the piece of wood off. You have to use these tools carefully and protect your hands from splinters getting into your hand by wearing gloves.

3. Power Drill

This is a very powerful machine that can be used to make a hollow of any diameter and depth on your tree stump. This machine requires an electric power supply, so you might need a power extension cable in your yard to make this thing work. You can use it to make any diameter of hollow you want on your tree stump, and it will get the job done in no time

4. Wood Carving Gouge

This tool works like the chisel, but it has a rounded tip instead of a pointed tip like you have with chisels. It is a sculptor’s tool and is used for carving out pieces of wood in a rounded scoop. These tools can significantly reduce the time and effort of making a hollow in a tree stump, especially when using a chisel.

How To Hollow Out a Tree Stump

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump

There are 3 main ways of making a hollow in a tree stump, and they are:

  • Using chainsaw
  • Doing it manually
  • Burning a hollow into the stump

1. Use a Chainsaw

Once you are sure you can use a chainsaw properly, you will have a hollow in your trunk a lot easier. However, before you embark on the task, you must ensure that the tree is dry and even go to the center of the trunk; hence, you can’t hollow a stump after rain or watering. You will have to wait for some days. Here are some easy guides to making a hollow in a tree trunk using a chainsaw:

1. Once you are sure that the stump is dry, the first thing to do is to start carving the center of the stump with your chainsaw; as you do this, you gently use a chisel to carve out some of the woods near the edges of the chainsaw that you cannot get to. The chisel will also ensure that you don’t damage the outer boundary of the stump because you have good control over the chisel, unlike the chainsaw.

2. Next, you carefully remove the carved-out pieces from the tree stump so that non of the splinter hurts your hands.

3. At this time, you start smoothening the edges of the hollow so that it looks good. Use a chisel to do this because of the control it gives you.

4. If you are re-purposing the tree stump as a planter, you will have to make a drainage duct so that the plant does not get over-watered or their roots rot. To reduce the risk of pests and molds, better air filtration, and prevent the planter from smelling, you can add a chunk of charcoal to the base of the tree stump.

2. Do It Manually

If you don’t have a chainsaw and want a hollow in your tree trunk, you can resort to manually removing wood from the center of the stump using a drill or a hammer and chisel. This method is very labor-intensive and time-consuming, but it is a safer and cheaper option, and beginners can safely use the chisel to make the hollow.

Here Are The steps:

1. The first thing to do is allow the wood to soften, making it easier to chisel. Hence you need to soak the tree stump in water or start the job immediately after rain.

2. You then drill holes around the stump’s center with some spaces between the holes.

3. Next, you place your chisel at an angle of 45 degrees on the stump to get the best results, and then you use a hammer to chip between the drilled holes and remove wood one piece after the other.

4. If you have gotten the right size of hollow you want on the stump, remove the bulk of the wood. Then gently use the chisel again to smoothen the rough edges to get a smooth hollow.

5. Then, use a vacuum or even a rag to wipe away any sawdust around the trunk. This will leave a smooth hollow on the tree trunk.

3. Burning a Hollow Into The Stump

The cheapest and fastest means of creating a hollow in your tree stump is by using fire, but this is a method you have to be careful with, especially if you live in dry areas to contain the burning. This method is fast becoming the most popular of the 3 methods for creating hollows in stumps, perhaps because it is very easy.

Here Are The Steps:

1. Bore some holes into the stump using a power drill with a 0.9-inch bit. To dig a deep enough hole into the root or to the depth you want, hold the power drill at an angle of 30 degrees. The holes should not be less than 8 inches deep, and a distance of about 2 inches should be maintained between two individual holes

2. Next, fill the drilled holes with a flammable material that will burn immediately. You could use charcoal, kerosene oil it Potassium nitrate. Potassium nitrate is a very common flammable material used for this purpose. After all the holes have been stuffed with potassium nitrate, then pour some hot water into the holes so that they can dissolve immediately.

3. At this time, you put some pieces of paper, cardboard paper, and other kindling on the top of the stump. Then use lighter or matchsticks to light the center of the stump packed with potassium nitrate.

4. If the center of the stump is burnt as you want, then pour Sand or water on it to kill the fire. Afterward, you scoop out the charred wood with the help of a shovel. Clean up the whole stump, and you have a hollow in your tree stump.


There are many ways you can make a hollow in a tree stump, be it the one that still has its roots to the ground or the one you have dugout. Using a chainsaw, a chisel, and a hammer and using fire are the 3 most common.

Fire is the fastest method while making a hollow manually using a chisel and hammer is the most time-consuming yet the safest.

But whatever method you choose, ensure that you go about it safely by abiding by the stipulated safety precautions. Go ahead and put a hollow in that tree trunk and re-purpose it into a thing of beauty.

Helpful Links:

We trust this article helped you learn how to hollow out a tree stump. You may also want to check If Burning a Tree Stump is Safe?

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