Lifting bark......please share your technique.

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by odie, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. odie

    odie

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    I've always admired a surface where the bark has been removed, and the gnarly surface underneath has been cleanly exposed. In most cases, I've not had much success with lifting the bark cleanly. Please share your techniques for doing this......

    thx

    -----odie-----
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I remove the bark from most of the NE bowls I do. It is the hardest part of doing a NE bowl.
    Difficulty Varies a lot by the wood.
    Walnut just falls off with a little pull.

    I use a flat chisel work it in between the wood and the bark.

    If I have a burl with the points sticking up I use dental picks & tweezers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
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  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    In the spring when there is a lot of new growth and there is a lot of sap flowing the bark can be easily separated from the wood on many species. I have peeled the bark from whole hickory logs by hand with a little help from a screwdriver to get it started. When wood is dry it can be very difficult to remove the bark. I generally leave the bark intact for natural edge mesquite which likes to hang onto its bark ... and I think that species looks best with the bark intact because it provides a nice way to highlight the bright yellow sapwood. I don't have much experience with other species.
     
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  4. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Some times a pressure washer works well, especially on burl with the points on it. Other than that, I generally remove the bark by peeling it off. I prefer spring harvested wood because it warps more...

    robo hippy
     
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  5. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    Hi Odie,

    I rip doug fir and purple heart wedges, and try to drive them in and lever up early enough in the roughing process that I don't bruise the wood that will remain in the finished bowl. Green wood helps, or very wet wood.

    Sometimes I'll use wedges of the same species on softer woods, such as alder.

    Another trick is to hit the bark on the outside with a mallet. This can bruise the wood beneath.

    For smaller stubborn pieces, I carefully push pin punches or nail sets, sometimes striking them with a jeweler's hammer. For final cleaning once a bowl is finished I love my cheapo dentist tools.

    I always wondered about boiling, but never tried it.
     
  6. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I have on occasion removed bark from natural edge bowls because it just looked bad or looked like it wouldn't stay on over the years. Then when trying to get it off I find that some parts are nearly impossible. What I usually do is carve it off and try to sort of duplicate the natural curvy shape. Then I go back using sponge painting techniques and add my own more colorful and permanent bark. looked for a photo but couldn't find one this morning. I still have several so will try and take a photo later.
     
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  7. odie

    odie

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    I hope Jamie Straw is listening......I know she is currently doing some boiling of her Myrtle bowls. Maybe she could do some experimenting along these lines........

    I was hoping there was some magical method of cleanly removing the bark, but from the looks of these posts in this thread, it doesn't appear to be so.....:(

    Zach's recent addition to the gallery, an Elderberry bowl.......when I saw that, I thought maybe he had removed some bark from it, and if so, was extremely well done.

    Hope it's ok with you that I repost your Elderberry bowl, Zach......
    [​IMG]
    Anyway, it's truly an exceptional piece, IMHO.....:D

    -----odie-----
     
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  8. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    I know of several wood sculptors that use pressure washers to clean bark and debris from tree stumps when crafting different projects. With a little skill and using the correct nozzle tip and water pressure you can quickly work your way through the layers and expose the surface desired. There are also a number of new abrasive materials used in air powered systems to clean different surfaces. Walnut shells are a common material used to clean surfaces along with dry ice pellets that evaporate. Baking soda is another material commonly used these days to remove paint on cars that is easier to use on the thinner body panels. Harbor Freight has a cheap system for using baking soda and an air hose to clean surfaces with.
     
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  9. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

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    Minor correction -- Madrone (haven't turned Myrtle yet). I rarely get adventurous enough to turn a NE bowl. Don't have much wood that lends itself at the moment.
     
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  10. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    Hi Odie.

    No problem to repost the bowl. Thanks for kind words.

    I removed the bark on that Elderberry bowl. Elderberry is a very wet wood, and because it was cut green, the bark peeled off almost effortlessly. What was left was a fine cambium-ish? layer...thin wet stringy stuff. I experimented and found that if I scraped lightly it wouldn't bruise. So I split a small piece of soft alder and cut an acute edge on both sides. It took no more than a minute to clean the cambium stuff off.

    All those holes were filled with soft pith, so I sat in the sun and poked each one with a pick, a bit like a skinny ice pick, which is another bark tool in my kit. That might've taken 10 minutes, there were a lot em!
     

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