Bark Scraper From a Cheap Chisel




About: Growing up in a rural area in the East of England I've always been interested in nature and trees and eventually found myself building things from the wood I could find. This has led me to follow my passion ...

Using an axe and drawknife to peel bark from logs was getting tiresome so I decided to grab this huge but cheap chisel I had and turn it into a bark peeler/scraper/spud. The handle is made from pallet wood and in fact its a wood I don't think I've used before and can't identify it, so if you can help me out there I'd be very grateful!

There's some more detailed photos of the wood on my Facebook page

There's a video of the build to watch on my YouTube channel and more detailed instructions will follow below, hope you enjoy it!

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Step 1: Tools and Materials Needed


- Pencil, rule and combination square

- Hand plane or planer

- Clamps

- Glue spreader

- Hacksaw

- Brace or drill and 8mm bit (size dependent on the size of the chisel)

- Compass/dividers

- Wood saw (rip saw and tenon saw preferably)

- Hammer

- Mallet and chisel

- Spokeshave or knife to carve the handle (or maybe even a lathe)


- One length of pallet wood, preferably some kind of hardwood

- Glue

- A big chisel, preferably around 5cm (2") or more

- Strong metal pipe (or buy a nice brass ferrule!)

Step 2: Preparing the Chisel, the Wood and Gluing Up

Preparing the chisel was pretty simple in my case, it had a rubber handle which I just broke off using another chisel. You can find a chisel similar to the one I used here at this link - 2" Wood Chisel - Amazon . It is unfortunately not as cheap as the one I used but it was the cheapest 2" chisel I could find on Amazon.

I had a piece of hardwood pallet wood which was around 90cm (35 7/16") long and 7cm (2 3/4") wide. I set a combination square to half of its width and drew a line straight down the centre on both sides. I then cut straight down this line, flipping the board over every now and then to make sure I stayed on the centre of the line.

When I had my two halves I planed the faces flat that were to be glued together. I then got all of my clamps ready before I began the glue up to save any panicky situations. I really don't think you can clamp too much in this case as I really wanted to make sure that the handle was glued completely down its length with no (or very few) gaps.

Step 3: Planing the Handle and Finding the Centre

When the glue has dried I squared up the whole handle with a hand plane. I'm sure this would be more easily done with a jointer though. I then used the square to square off each end of the handle and cut them off with a small saw, in this case a tenon saw.

Drawing a cross on one side I found the centre point where the chisel would insert and pushed in with my pencil a little to create a small indent.

Step 4: Making and Attaching the Ferrule

I used a piece of conduit or metal pipe for my ferrule as its what I already had. If you want a nicer look I would suggest buying a decent ferrule or making one better than mine, which wouldn't be hard! I cut around 2cm (13/16") off the end of the pipe and filed it down a little to take the sharpness off. I then eyeballed it over the centre mark on the end of the wood and made a small pencil mark on the wood inside the pipe. Using the dividers I drew a circle slightly larger than the radius of the mark I made.

I used the brace and bit to drill into the centre mark just a fraction further than the chisel would go in. After that I made some very careful cuts with a tenon saw in a circle around the line where the ferrule would sit. I then used a chisel to chip away the excess and kept testing the ferrule and slicing away wood to get a nice tight fit.

When I was happy with the fit I got a club hammer and drove the ferrule onto the handle. Since it was forced onto the handle I just went with a friction fit but I suppose you could use some kind of glue or epoxy to add further strength if you wanted though I'm not sure its necessary.

Step 5: Rounding the Handle and Attaching the Chisel

I used a spokeshave to round the handle and kept testing the grip until I was satisfied with the thickness and smoothness. You could also do this with a knife and I'm sure you could do it on a lathe also. I just decided to go with a spokeshave as they're incredibly fun to use! and fast too. After I was satisfied with the thickness I sanded the handle down a little.

To insert the chisel I push it in a little with my hands and then placed the cutting edge on the floor. My shed floor is wooden so it didn't damage the chisel, if you have a concrete floor then place a piece of wood down first. I bashed the top of the handle with a wooden mallet until the chisel was fully seated inside.

Step 6: Use the Scraper!

I found the best way to use the scraper was to have the bevel down against the log and give firm strokes, doing some short, stabbing strokes when getting through tougher material. It was surprisingly effective and the handle felt wonderful in my hands. The only doubt I have is the longevity of the handle, since I'm using a wood I've never used before (and didn't identify) I don't know how well it will hold up, but we'll see!

Thank you for checking out my Instructable, if you'd like to give me some extra support and see additional photos and videos of my projects and shed experiences then please give my Facebook page a like.

Thanks a lot and I hope to catch you again soon.

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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Very early on in my adventures in woodworking I made my own froe out of scrap steel flat stock, so satisfying to make one's own tools. ☺

    4 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks for your reply. I thought about a leaf spring. Will try again.


    Reply 2 years ago

    It was a two- part affair, a cutoff piece of iron pipe for the socket and weld on some 1/4" thick X 12" long x 1-1/2" wide steel flat, it really worked a treat for many years. I have heard of fellows who can access a forge will use an old car leaf spring and wrap the eyelet around and forge weld it shut too. You do not need a "sharp" edge as you are actually splitting the work, so a blunt wedge shape is really preferred.

    Not mine, but what a froe looks like for those interested:


    Reply 2 years ago

    That sounds very cool indeed and yes, it is incredibly satisfying to make a thing that helps you do something! I fully agree.


    2 years ago

    Read this at first as "Back scraper from a cheap chisel" and thought this was brutal. Was pleasantly surprised :)

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Oh man, that sounds awful! Horrifying image in my head right now haha. Thanks a lot!