I would love some advice on a comissioned project I have coming up

A local bakery asked me to fix an old cake stand she has…the thing is nightmare…(it was put together with wood rounds a tree stump, Gap filler foam and PL construction adhesive)

She really wants to use wood rounds so I thought of an idea, to carve out an interlocking tree design carve a tree with three nicely curved branches then carve another one with two branches, and add interlocking channels so I can assemble the tree by rotating the 2nd piece 25 degrees and locking them together…each branch would have a tab or maybe just be flat and mount a wood round to each branch top. and then one round on the very top and one as the base…

This idea but the tree and branches be carved wood instead of a natural tree.

I was going to carve elven leaves and vines into the sides of the interlocking tree pieces for a nicer look.

Is my idea not even get out of the gate and fail? This ones going to take me a bit to get perfect so I figured I ask some of the folk who are much more creative and experienced in more detailed projects than I am. she wants to feature a rustic custom cake stand made by me at a wedding fair this fall so I would like to deliver something that doesn’t look like crap or fall apart in 2 days.

Could you cut out and replace a circle at the center of the log to remove the pith (that’s where cracks originate from)?

Thanks Steve, I had no idea that was the cause, it makes sense though now that you say it, the expansion and contraction of the wood once its dried, and removing the center core, allows more movement in the wood.

yeah raw cut wood circles like that will just about 9/10 times crack like that

really the only way I know how to stop it is

stabilize the wood with chemicals
use inlay bow ties to help stop the spread
vacuum seal and infuse the wood with epoxy or coat the entire thing

are you going to try and fix those or start from scratch?

One of my other hobbies is woodturning and the first thing you learn is don’t leave the pith in the bowl or it’ll crack. That’s why turners take a log, cut it lengthwise down the middle (this eliminates the pith) and end up with two semicircle shaped pieces. You then cut a circular shape out of them and you’ve got your bowl blank - the grain ends up being across the bowl, not straight up and down.

If you wanted to maintain the look of the wood rounds could you not flip them over, cut out a round pocket and glue in a circle of plywood just a little thinner than than the depth of the pocket so it wouldn’t be seen from the top. I think I would want the pocket to go at least 1/2 of the thickness of the wood round. Also, would not have to be a tight fit like an inlay. Actually, probably better if it is a loose fit to accommodate any shrinkage of the natural wood.