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Thread: Stripping Bark

  1. #1
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    Stripping Bark

    I'm gonna start building some skinny's at my local trails and have seen a few people state that log structures will last much longer if you strip the bark. A few questions.

    1. Do you always want to strip the bark? Even if it is lying on the ground or only if it is elevated?

    2. Whats the best way to strip it? What handtools work best and what fancy power tools work?

    3. How big of a difference does it really make as far as longevity? Is it definitely worth the time and effort to strip?

  2. #2
    Squeaky Wheel
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    Here is what the Forest Service says:

    Wood from logs cut onsite is commonly used in trail construction, but wood is susceptible to attack by insects and fungi. Bark separates from the wood. The gap collects water and provides shade and protection for insects and fungi. Peeling off the bark reduces the likelihood of these attacks. Depending on local conditions, removing the bark may double the life of a log.
    The best way to strip is to use something like this:

    http://www.vertservice.net/bark/stripper/tractor

    But the rest of us without big bucks typically end up using a drawknife. There are many out there - search for drawknife or debark tool.

  3. #3
    zrm
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    I can't think of any situation where it's not a good idea to strip bark. As mentioned above, a good, sharp draw knife is what you want.

  4. #4
    I build my own.
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    Definitely worth the time to strip.
    As mentioned, a drawknife it good. For really tough bark, use a bark spud.

    Draw Knives, Peeling Spuds, Peeling Tools for Log Home Building, Timber Framing, Log and Furniture Making - Magard Ventures Ltd., Canada.

    If you can't find a bark spud, your local hardware store may have ice chippers. They're kind of light duty compared to a real bark spud but they'll do in a pinch.

    Winter Goods Heavy Duty Ice Chopper

    The greener the wood, the easier the bark comes off.
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  5. #5
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    Based on personal observation around pole fence rails. peeled douglas fir poles lasted ~15 year where unpeeled poles lasted~ 7. Both on similar fences in southern Oregon. Doubling the lifetime of a may or may not be worth the effort.

    A good draw knife works on most wood worth building with as long as the pole is less than 6" in diameter. I never have personally liked spuds but I avoid the big trees. If you work on green wood in the spring the bark almost falls off.

  6. #6
    I build my own.
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    True, a spud is a pain to work with and if your logs are thin enough that a drawknife will work, it will be much quicker than a spud.

    The west coast Doug Fir, hemlock and Red Cedar that I've built with mostly is WAY bigger than 6" and a drawknife wouldn't touch it. I use a spud a lot and peel around the log rather than lengthwise like you would with drawknife.
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    [QUOTE=Trail Ninja;9720024
    The west coast Doug Fir, hemlock and Red Cedar that I've built with mostly is WAY bigger than 6" and a drawknife wouldn't touch it. I use a spud a lot and peel around the log rather than lengthwise like you would with drawknife.[/QUOTE]

    I'll give you that, but you haven't seen my big tree drawknife. It's a 24" chipper blade with rebar handles welded on, Damn thing weighs close to 10pounds. If you can get it moving knots won't even stop it.

  8. #8
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by faceplant72 View Post
    I'll give you that, but you haven't seen my big tree drawknife. It's a 24" chipper blade with rebar handles welded on, Damn thing weighs close to 10pounds. If you can get it moving knots won't even stop it.
    Too cool! I have a froe made out of a chipper blade. I believe you that knots won't stop it. Got a pic?
    Stripping Bark-p1010010-2-3-.jpg
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by faceplant72 View Post
    you haven't seen my big tree drawknife. It's a 24" chipper blade with rebar handles welded on, Damn thing weighs close to 10pounds. If you can get it moving knots won't even stop it.
    When I stripped bark for log homes (~20" logs) I used a draw knife made from an old trucks leaf spring, the slight curve to it was great, and it was heavy, t had lags welded to the ends with wooden handles on them. With the victim/log up on saw horses you could de-bark fat logs quick. we did have a crane on site of course...

  10. #10
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    So for a 16-20" log, how big of a draw knife would I need? If the tree is on the ground how do you maneuver it to get the entire circumference stripped, big pry bar?

    Maybe I should just get one of these
    Log Wizard Debarking Tool, Model# LogW-4000 | Draw Shave Debarking| Northern Tool + Equipment

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch1413 View Post
    So for a 16-20" log, how big of a draw knife would I need? If the tree is on the ground how do you maneuver it to get the entire circumference stripped, big pry bar?
    It doesn't hurt if the drawknife is longer than you need, 16" of blade would have it covered for sure to deal with flat spots and knots and the like, a smaller blade could do it too, but its nice to keep your fingers farther from the log than closer.

    To roll the log around the best tool is a Peavey Peavey (tool) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Here you can see how the hook grabs the log and you can then roll it, these are kind of spendy, ~$80 so it would be best for you to make do with a pry bar and some blocks to keep the log from rolling,


  12. #12
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    A machete works.
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  13. #13
    saddlemeat
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    I like a d handle scraper like this:

    http://m.homedepot.com/p/Husky-7-in-...200/202564911/

    You will want to sharpen it. Use it with the beveled edge down. You can peel the log on the ground, across a pair of sleepers, about knee height. Fast.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    I like a d handle scraper like this:

    http://m.homedepot.com/p/Husky-7-in-...200/202564911/

    You will want to sharpen it. Use it with the beveled edge down. You can peel the log on the ground, across a pair of sleepers, about knee height. Fast.
    You will never get your teeth full of bark dust though using that tool though ;-)

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