I'm planning to cut down either a pine or beech in the near future, as I heard that the fall/winter season is a good time to cut trees if you want to dry the wood quickly.

After cutting a log the right size, I suppose my best bet is to try and hollow it out with the chainsaw first off, and then with hammer and chisel.

The log is going to end up being used as a leg for a coffee table, and perhaps another as a table itself.

My main question is this (if I have the above parts right):

How will I go about drying my log in the most effective way? - I don't think splitting is such a big issue, since I'm going for a rustic look, but of course the log has to remain functional as a table/leg.

Would it be an idea to seal the end(s) with a varnish/wax? (I guess there's only really going to be one end of this log, or perhaps I should also consider the hollowed out bottom to be an end still)

Thank you in advance!

I will be happy to link pictures if anyone is interested once I get started.

  • I'm not sure I understand the intent of 'hollowing out'. Are you using the log as a whole (like a stump coffee table)? In general, yes, when air drying lumber, it's good to seal the end grains so they don't dry out faster than the rest.
    – DA01
    Nov 13, 2013 at 15:33
  • The intention is to make it a hollow log, in order for it to dry quicker and be a lot less heavy. I want to use two of such hollow logs as leg for a coffee table-top that I made.
    – kensing
    Nov 13, 2013 at 16:32
  • How would you hollow it out with a chainsaw?
    – Steven
    Jan 13, 2014 at 2:56
  • I read somewhere else that it would be a possibility. I imagine plowing 3/4 through the center of the log vertically, retracting, then just rinse and repeat. However, the table is made and logs were left with their insides intact. It's heavy, but has a very nice look.
    – kensing
    Jan 20, 2014 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


So you are (if I get your idea correctly) looking at two large-diameter log sections, large enough that two of them would serve as all the legs needed for your table? Could be a nice look.

If you get lucky, you might find a hollow beech. Pine, less likely in usable form - if it's hollow it's usually also rotten outside that.

Assuming you don't get lucky: Your logs/cylinders have two ends, really - coat them both with something. But the biggest factor is to QUICKLY (or at least before bringing them inside where they will start to dry faster) hollow them out all the way through (not just at one end) so that they can shrink without excessive cracking. A large Forstner drill bit is probably the best method for doing this unless you have access to a large wood lathe, (but if you did, you probably wouldn't be asking this question or contemplating a chainsaw/chisel attempt at it.)

Lay out a circle on the end of the log, and drill overlapping holes to remove the bulk of the wood. Using a large-diameter bit (3 inches or so) will allow you to drill down to where the body of the drill is inside the cavity while still being straight. You will have to drill in stages, and probably from both sides. i.e. take a 18" diameter log, lay out a 14" diameter circle, and drill overlapping 3 inch holes all around the inside of the 14" circle, 3 inches deep; having made 3 inches of depth to work in (so that there is room to get the drill down that far), resume drilling another 3 inches deep, all over, repeat once more, then flip and start from the far side and you can hollow an 18 inch long log.

You can also use any of the (often overly complex) methods that folks dream up for "primitive drums" if you like - I'm simply promoting the quickest way I know, not making use of a large lathe...

If a more finished look worked for you, you could also buy some sonotube (very heavy cardboard concrete form tube) and apply wood veneer to the outside of it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.