A carved wooden log lantern makes an atmospheric garden accessory. Why not use our DIY instructions and create your own unique design?
You don’t need many materials to create your own beautiful DIY log lamp out of wood: just a suitable log and a chainsaw with the right attachment for carving a simple pattern.
Chainsaw carving has become a popular hobby for amateurs and chainsaw enthusiasts. All you need to get started is a specialist carving chainsaw – or a carving attachment for your chainsaw – and a bit of creative flair. As the chainsaw experts, we’ve put together more information about the basics of DIY carving here.
A special carving bar from STIHL allow you to make delicate lines and easily craft a log into a masterpiece. Chainsaw carving is a lot of fun and also a way of creating unique wooden items that make great gifts too.
If you want to do intricate work with wood, a STIHL carving saw is the best tool for the job. The specialist carving attachments feature low vibration and kickback, and the small bar nose means that you can make delicate lines and fine cuts with ease.
You can use almost any type of wood for your lantern, as long as it is properly prepared. The log you work with should be dry, not freshly cut: the drier, the better, as it means less risk of your lantern cracking. For your first attempts, we suggest you choose a coniferous wood with a low resin content because it’s softer and will be easier to carve. As your carving skills improve, you can switch to poplar, oak, Douglas fir or some fruit tree woods.
Wood is a natural, living product and both humidity and weather have a permanent impact on its condition. Though you can and should take steps to preserve your work, you cannot completely prevent wood from changing over time – that’s part of its charm. Cracking and discolouration of your log lantern is normal, although various oils, waxes and varnishes are available that can help to restrict or prevent it.
You should always wear personal protective equipment when working with your chainsaw. This includes a cut protection trousers, safety boots, safety glasses, a face shield, gloves and a helmet if there is a risk of falling objects. You will also need to wear ear protection when using petrol chainsaws, some of our larger cordless chainsaws or an electric chainsaw. The operating manual for your product contains more details. Fully familiarise yourself with the tool before you use your chainsaw for the first time, and check it's in flawless condition before each use. On request, your STIHL dealer will be happy to prepare your tool for its first use and will also advise you on models and sizes of protective clothing that you can try. Please remember that personal protective equipment is no substitute for safe working techniques.
Before you get started, you should fix the log to a sawhorse using a tensioning belt. Mark out your initial cuts with a piece of chalk so you know exactly where to start. Hollow out the log so you can add a light source to make it into a lamp. Then you can carve a pattern so that light can peek out from your lantern atmospherically.
To begin, you need to remove the core of the log:
To use your lantern outdoors, apply a wood sealer suitable for semi-dry carved sculptures. Use an LED light source suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.