Bark & Steel




Introduction: Bark & Steel

About: Come spend some time in the shop. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and professional computer geek in Northern California. I guess my projects will vary widely, and I have no clue what I plan to make next...

This knife handle is made from Ponderosa Pine Bark. The patterns in the material are spectacular with flecks of black and gold.

Tools & Supplies:

Vacuum Pump
Stabilizing Chamber
Stabilizing Resin

Drill: Stationary or handheld
1/4" drill bit
Blue Painters tape (better have lots)
Epoxy Resin
Rubber Gloves
Resin Mixing
Cups Mixing sticks

Shaping & Finishing:
Belt Sander
120 grit Sandpaper
Wipe-On Poly

Step 1: Stabilizing Pine Bark

A viewer sent me out a couple of pieces of Ponderosa Pine from a tree that had to be removed at his work. It was dead standing but the bark was so thick and interesting he hoped it could be used for a project.

As it was delivered it was too flaky and fragile to be worked. But I have a system for stabilizing wood and thought I would give it try with bark.

Stabilizing resin is a bit of a strange animal and quite different than casting resin. What happens is that we submerge the material in a special resin, so that no bark is cresting above the liquid.

Since the bark is prone to float given its low weight. (314 grams as we started) I use a large weight I made to hold it under the liquid.

I then turn on my vacuum pump and draw all air out of the chamber. Including all the air inside the bark. This a time-consuming process as the bark is a very porous material. For a block of wood this size, it takes about 4 hours to complete.

11 1/2 hours. Yep. Almost 1/2 a day to remove all the air from the bark. I then release the vacuum.

As the pressure in the pot equalizes the resin rushes into all the p