In this Instructable I'll show you how I carved out a small log to make a comfy home for a plant!
Step 1: Select Your Log
You want a very short segment of a fairly thick log. If the proportions are too long and skinny, your planter will be too shallow and won't be able to support larger plants. If you don't have the facilities to cut a log to the right length, try searching for your log in a well managed wilderness. You are likely to find some piles of chopped logs and sticks.
Another important feature is that the log should be able to sit relatively stably on a flat surface. You don't want one that will roll over! You can always modify your log to make it stable by sawing off a bit from the bottom or putting a couple screws in inconspicuous places to act as supports. I was lucky and found one that was stable on it's own.
Step 2: Gather Your Tools
You will need a hole saw, a drill, a spade bit, a chisel, a pocket knife and some sand paper.
For the hole saw, I recommend the kind shown in the picture with my drill, rather than the kind with a threaded tip like I show in the second picture. The threaded tip will pull the bit into the wood, and from my experience, this can easily be too forceful and crack the wood.
Any size bit and chisel should do. You will also need a regular (1/4" or so) drill bit to drill the drainage hole at the end.
Step 3: Drill Like Crazy
Start drilling out the planter. Keep your holes close together. Go slow, and not too deep. This is just the first pass.
I recommend putting your drill on the clutch/torque control setting if you have it, and set it to just enough torque to make the holes. This will help prevent your drill from splitting the wood it it gets stuck.
This will be a messy activity, and you will need to keep dumping out loads of wood chips (might I suggest keeping a compost bucket nearby?)
Step 4: Now for the Chisel
Next we will use the chisel to break down all the barriers between the holes to create a single cavern. Also use the chisel around the edges to clean up the points left over from the hole saw.
Tip: Don't try to chisel off too much at once. Small shavings are much easier and less likely to crack anything. Line the chisel up, hammer it in, then bend the chisel downward to break the shaving off.
Step 5: Repeat!
Repeat the drilling/chiseling until you have carved out the bulk of the log. Be careful not to make any of the sides or bottom too thin!
Step 6: Whittle/Sand Down the Edges
This step is optional. I chose to clean up the outer edges that will be visible. First I carved off any uneven points, then I sanded away a small margin of the bark to reveal the color underneath. I thought this added a nice border to the rim of the planter.
Step 7: Finish It!
Drill a small hole through the bottom for drainage, then fill it up with your favorite plant! These are especially good for succulents that don't need much root space, since the volume will likely be pretty small.
Step 8: Enjoy!
Show off your plant-in-log (how meta)