The tree trunk bookcase

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Forum topic by MelKel posted 06-04-2015 11:10 PM 877 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 510 days

06-04-2015 11:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tree wood bookcase diy help woodwork craft project carving shaping sanding rustic question

Hi! I was hoping someone could give me an idea of how to recreate a tree trunk bookcase that I found on Pinterest. My husband owns a tree service, so it will be no problem getting the wood, I just do not know which tools would be best for hollowing out the trunk from the side while still keeping the outside bark in tact. I have included a picture. I appreciate your help!!

Thank you!!

10 replies so far

View Luthierman's profile


157 posts in 510 days

#1 posted 06-04-2015 11:17 PM

That looks like a lot of chainsaw work to me. If I were commissioned to do something like this, I would start by making the “door” by doing 3 cuts with a chainsaw, the 2 ends and then the length. I would hollow it out by doing loads of plunge cuts followed by hammer and chisel. Lots of labor but fairly strait forward. That would be a pretty neat project.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

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1311 posts in 924 days

#2 posted 06-04-2015 11:43 PM

chainsaw and a lot of chisel work I reckon

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View gfadvm's profile


14932 posts in 2113 days

#3 posted 06-05-2015 12:33 AM

That looks pretty cool but I can imagine that several bad things will happen: Multiple cracks will develop, the door will warp, and the bark will come off. Sorry to be so negative but this project violates a lot of woodworking principles.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 645 days

#4 posted 06-05-2015 01:52 AM

That is so cool, although I’m having a difficult time figuring where I’m going to put it once I get it back to the house.

-- I meant to do that!

View MelKel's profile


2 posts in 510 days

#5 posted 06-05-2015 03:32 AM

@Ghidrah are you saying you want to do this project too? I’m a little confused. I am an English teacher and would love this for my class library. I think it adds a lot of character and the kids will enjoy it.

@gfadvm I totally get what you are saying, I am perplexed myself… But at the same time it obviously can be done because someone else did the one in the picture.

I’m wondering if there is a more fine toothed kind of saw… I’m envisioning something like a turkey carver but with more power obviously. I feel like a standard chainsaw would be problematic. I agree that the inside would have to be done with a chisel and hammer and then some major sanding… Any thoughts??

View watermark's profile


482 posts in 1366 days

#6 posted 06-06-2015 08:13 AM

You may be able to make the cuts acurately with a “beam machine” mill or similar using plunge cuts with the guide in place to help.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


3972 posts in 1774 days

#7 posted 06-06-2015 01:11 PM

To keep the bark on it is imperative that the tree be cut in the winter before the sap flows. I’m guessing that the front and back were slabbed off at a saw mill. The center was hollowed out w/ a chainsaw. Dadoes for the shelves routered in. Then the back slab was tacked back on and the front slab made into a door.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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3465 posts in 1190 days

#8 posted 06-06-2015 01:13 PM

The easiest way to do this is to take the tree to someone who has a band saw. Have them cut the four slabs to square it. Cut the two ends of the square for top and bottom of the tree. Give the rest of the square part to the sawyer for his labor of have him cut it into 1-1/2” for shelves. Cut one of the slabs for the door into 3 pieces (top, bottom and door). Glue the 3 slabs (sides and back) together along with top and bottom of the door opening.


View JoeinGa's profile


7383 posts in 1430 days

#9 posted 06-06-2015 01:58 PM

I was thinking the same as Mrjinx … sawmill cuts 4 “sides” and gives ‘em to you. He keeps the center “block”.
You re-assemble into a cabinet, making one side the door.

And that trunk has hopefully been sitting for a LONG TIME to be completely dry, or you’ll have major complaints starting after a few months.

You might could do this with a smaller log ( 10” or 12” X 2’ long ) as a test run

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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22697 posts in 2289 days

#10 posted 06-06-2015 06:07 PM

That is a very impressive piece. I imagine that it took a lot of work. It’s very nice.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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