removing bark?

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Jerry Bailey, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    wouldn't you know it, my (new) next door neighbors are landscapers .........
    They just gave me a mesquite log , 10" diam. x 14" tall (promising more to come :-D)

    I'm not ready to turn natural edged stuff yet so .........
    what is the best way to remove the bark?
    bandsaw? roughing gouge? French Curve Negative Rake Scraper?
    did a search, saw 1 post where someone said to possibly soak the wood and scrape off with something like a spokeshave ? .......

    any suggestions? TIA
     
  2. Bill Weaver

    Bill Weaver

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    To answer your question:
    1. yes you can use a band saw and trim out the edges. this is the easiest way.
    2. yes you can rough gouge it off if you stand clear. can get dangerous.

    personally I have done both and also have laid up on the bench and chiseled it off. I like leaving some bark on my turnings since I have found people really like the look. You can look at my album and see some that has it both ways. Then again I do some natural edge stuff too.
     
  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Mesquite bark is not very thick and stuck very tight to the wood except in early spring. I see not reason to remove the bark. It is extra work with little payback. Mesquite bark doesn't flake off in large chunks like some other types of wood are known to do.
     
  4. Bill Weaver

    Bill Weaver

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    since Bill is in the heart of mesquite country I'm sure; no positive he knows the wood. ;)
     
  5. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    The best way to get the bark to come off easily is to decide you want it to stay on. I cut most of it off in the blank preparation. If there is still bark left on it, I turn slowly and stand out of the line of fire till all bark is off. Then I crank up the speed. I don't like pieces with bark on them. While they look nice, even minimal handling will result in pieces coming off. I prefer my pieces to be in use every day. Some natural edge pieces can have a nice profile, and with no bark are great utility bowls. Some bark can be removed with a chisel or pry bar by getting under it and prying. An impact hammer and a chisel bit works. Some woods if you let it sit for a month or 6 the bark will separate all by itself.

    I do have a clip up on You Tube on standing out of the line of fire if you type in robo hippy.

    robo hippy
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    There is more than one reason to wear a face shield

    One "hazard" of turning mesquite is the near certainty of getting "juiced" -- not from sap nor the street meaning of the word, but juice from mesquite beetle larvae. All mesquite comes with the larvae pre-installed. They self-activate when the tree is cut down or dies and munch their way to adulthood and creating large tunnels mainly through the yellow sapwood. They are plump and full of juice. Believe it or not, you can actually hear them chomping their way through the wood. That is one reason that turners like to turn mesquite immediately after it hits the ground. Other reasons include:
    • it turns wonderfully when green, but is dusty and hard when dry
    • it can be turned to completion green because there is little to no noticeable warping
     
  7. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    Thanks for the replies guys

    figured the easiest way would be via bandsaw, and most dangerous via the roughing gouge
    but since I'm new to this, wanted to double check
    am definitely leery about trying something like that with a roughing gouge.........
    I've learned from experience, give extra respect to the tools you're unfamiliar with ;)

    Bill B, are you saying there is the larvae in all the wood? and does it leave hollow spots that interfere with turning ???
    and Very happy for the info that when turned green that there is little to no warping when drying
    this is definitely green as it was cut down yesterday LOL
    and since I'll be getting plenty more in future is good to know I won't have to wait for drying/curing time, YaY!
    Once final shape turned, should I still put in a sack of shavings for a couple days/week? or can I go ahead and apply final finish immediately ?
    Also, if they start munching once tree is cut down, do I have any worries about keeping this near different woods?

    In future, when I've got more time turning under my belt (experience) I will eventually create a piece or 2 that include the natural bark edge
    but not just yet.........

    robo hippy, I hear ya dude, when I want something to be one way, just the opposite will happen :rolleyes:

    Bill Weaver, beautiful bowls, absolutely love the grains!
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  8. Shawn Pachlhofer

    Shawn Pachlhofer

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    I wouldnt say that the worm holes "interfere" with your work

    but they can provide opportunity for enhancement.

    fill with crushed turquoise or other bits and the piece looks that much nicer!
     
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Friends don't let friends dry mesquite. Turn it tonight. ;)

    Beyond giving you a reason to clean your face shield, the mesquite borers do not interfere in any way with you turning the wood. If you turn it now, it is unlikely that you will find any borers, but if you wait a month, you will see little piles of yellow powder show up where the wood is stacked. Since mesquite often has a lot of "design features" like cracks and wind shake along with tunnels, they are just a normal component of things turned from mesquite. They can be turned away, left in, embellished or whatever else you can think of. Mesquite doesn't even need to have a finish applied. I frequently sand the wood with extremely high grits and it will develop a shine that, to me, looks better than applying a film or oil finish.

    Sticking a turning in shavings isn't necessary and no better than just letting it sit on a shelf if you don't plan to finish it right away. In all likelihood the turning will be dry by the time that it has been turned and sanded unless turning something that will be thick when completed. One other thing, do not use a Beall buff on it ... if you do, you'll know why I said not to -- unless you actually like little white dots embedded in the pores of the wood.

    If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, I could do the humanitarian thing and take it off your hands. :cool:
     
  10. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    too late for tonight, but will be on the lathe tomorrow, guaranteed :)
    and is good to know to expect cracks/holes/ and such,
    as Shawn says, will give me a good excuse to work with the Inlace inlay compounds I have.........
    and many thanks Bill for the further tips on the finishing, and not using the Beall buffing system

    from the sound of it, I'm really going to enjoy working with this wood
    and guess I'd better get a case of beer for the neighbor

    I appreciate the offer, but I'm an "alpha type" and actually do love the challenge :cool:
     
  11. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    roughing gouge

    I notice you keep saying "roughing gouge". While you will probably be spinning that chunk in spindle orientation to remove bark that is a pretty big chunk and I doubt perfectly round. Not sure you want to use a roughing gouge on that to remove bark.

    Just a thought,

    Hu
     
  12. Dwight R Rutherford

    Dwight R Rutherford

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    Hu, What would you use?
     
  13. odie

    odie

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    I noticed the "roughing gouge" remark as well, and passed over it. Hu is technically correct, you don't want to use a roughing gouge for roughing a bowl. We really do need to re-name that tool, because the name implies using it for all roughing cuts......when, in fact, it's dangerous for bowl roughing.

    I use a plain ol' bowl gouge for roughing bowls.....

    ooc
     
  14. Dwight R Rutherford

    Dwight R Rutherford

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    I'm confused. If the OP is trying to remove bark with the wood mounted on the lathe then wouldn't it be in spindle orientation as Hu suggests?
    Odie, you state you use a bowl gouge for roughing bowls. Isn't this a different orientation?
     
  15. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    nothing with a tang


    Dwight,

    Not always strictly correct by common usage but my rule of thumb is simple, I don't use anything with a tang for heavy work. A round shaft going into the handle is generally strong enough for any work you would want to do with the tool based on the size and cutting edge.

    When doing heavy work, any tool that narrows down before going into a handle, the way a common file does, is suspect. It is generally agreed that a "roughing gouge" is a spindle roughing gouge and best suited for roughing fairly small diameter spindles with the grain orientation running from the headstock to the tailstock. The grain orientation is probably fine if you chuck the mesquite log section in the lathe on the two ends but the size and general characteristics of mesquite make me think that the strength of the spindle roughing gouge might be marginal. Fairly thick bark on the mesquite too so nature of the beast you might have a little more overhang past the tool rest than preferred.

    As is often the case, not using the roughing gouge is working on the side of caution in this case even if the grain orientation indicates you are technically turning a spindle.

    I favor leaving bark on if it is tight, removing it I use a bowl gouge if it won't peel readily on the bench. Sounds like this bark is tight, so turning should be fine. Any sign of loose areas and I prefer to peel. The loose bark rarely turns loose evenly and even "safe zones" aren't as safe as I would like.

    Hu
     
  16. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Grain orientation isn't everything -- spindles are small diameter and logs aren't. Logs are also not circular. This means interrupted cutting using a tool with a weak tang as Hu pointed out. Large diameter means that the forces on the tool are greater and interrupted cuts means that there will be shock loads hammering on the tool. The chances of an inexperienced turner getting a catch are high enough as it is without using the wrong tool to make it an almost certainty. Even without getting a major catch, the shape of an SRG make it more likely to scoop off a big piece of bark occasionally. A situation like this where an SRG (spindle roughing gouge) is used to remove the bark from a log could be handled by a well experienced turner, but I would hazard to guess that few would choose to use that tool. As Odie and Hu have said, use a bowl gouge. A bowl gouge can do anything that an SRG can do and more.

    But, back to the question about removing the bark in the first place. If a tree is cut down in the early spring just as it is greening out, the wood will be loaded with water and the cambium layer especially. During that time of the year, bark can be slipped off a tree quite easily. I peeled the bark from a hickory tree with my bare hands one time after slipping a screwdriver under the bark to get it started. Generally, by summer the bark is pretty tight and by autumn removing the bark would be a real chore. So, if you want a natural edge sans bark, cutting the wood in early spring and then immediately removing the bark would be the easiest route. If you are using a bandsaw or chainsaw to cut the wood into manageable sized turning blocks then this is no longer an issue as you can leave or remove the bark to suit your purpose. If going straight from log to lathe and the wood isn't a type that likes to shed big chunks of bark then skip the extra (and unnecessary, in my opinion) step of turning the log into a smooth cylinder.
     
  17. Dwight R Rutherford

    Dwight R Rutherford

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    Bill,
    Agreed, this I think gives the OP the best explanation in answer to his original question and clarifies which tools are appropriate to use.
     
  18. odie

    odie

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    Yes, it is.

    As Bill points out, it isn't necessarily the grain orientation that determines whether the SRG is appropriate.....it's that the block of wood is so much bigger than a spindle turning would normally be. One point he made was in regard to the "interrupted cutting". In my opinion, this is where the SRG can be particularly dangerous. No matter how steady you can hold the tool, there is always some give and take between cutting and not cutting cycles. The SRG, and the normal way of sharpening one means it can be extremely aggressive. These things can add up to one really huge catch.

    ooc
     
  19. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    many thanks to all for their replies, thoughts, and comments
    and you've all confirmed my suspicions I would have possibly went at it the wrong way
    thank god for these forums (the active ones at least) where a newb like me can get the advice needed from the experienced.

    hu, you were correct about my terminology, and I see I was incorrect about the choice of proper tool ........

    Haven't mounted on lathe yet, did some examination of log this morning,
    bark seems to be fairly loose and should come off pretty easily.
    I'm thinking doing it either with bandsaw, or with a larger spokeshave I have in drawer.

    still trying to decide whether I want to turn as 1 large bowl, or cut in 1/2 for 2 decent sized bowls,
    or even trying a medium sized taller vase ( which would present me with even more questions LOL)

    have spent hours trolling turning forums, even more hours watching training vids (beginner to intermediate)
    and more training vids ordered and awaiting shipment.........
    sure wish there was a place that held occasional classes near here ..........
    There's a club here, they meet 1st sat. of month @ Woodworkers Emporium,
    gonna attend next month and start to get networked with the local turners.........

    but, cheers to everyone who's taken the time to explain and point in the right direction :cool:
     
  20. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Odie, your comments reminded me of a safety concern. When we are spindle turning and creating a cylinder out of square stock using the SRG, the size of the wood is small enough that the speed of the lathe can be cranked up to make interrupted cutting smoother. However, a log is much larger diameter, heavier, and not quite balanced. All these things work together to put a pretty severe limitation on how high we can set the lathe speed until things are rounder and in balance -- in other words, we have to start off slow. Running slow means, of course that we have to be much more careful about interrupted cuts. Even the slightest lapse in paying attention to what is going on can and will result in a dandy catch regardless of the tool. If the tool happens to be an SRG, the consequences of a catch pose a very serious danger to you.
     

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