thanks guys, this comes in handy!!
Get a draw knife if you are doing more than just casual whittling
I've been using a linoleum knife to de-bark acacia branches
I realize this thread is old, but I just tried using a new vegetable peeler and it worked (somewhat frighteningly) well. You do have the issue of taking off a layer of wood too, depending on how thick the bark is, but it peeled a consistent depth into the wood, cut through a few small knots and didn't shred the wood. I think once I sand it, it will look pretty good. The branch is about an inch and a half thick and the bark was gray and sort of boring, which is why I wanted it off. The peeler also makes it pretty easy to get around smaller branch bits and into crevices.
Spring is probably the best time to cut trees for bark removal when the new sap is flowing.
Drawknife , axe, or something like a barking spud works best. Lightly chop a line down the trunk and peel the bark away.
Thanks Bryan, I'll be chopping this weekend. I'm in the northeast so right now is probably optimal.
There's an old tool called a "spud," which is similar to a spade, only with a sharpened end. They'd use these to peel off the bark.
They probably worked better for trunks than thin branches, though.
Maybe you could fashion something like a drawknife, but duller so it wouldn't cut into the sapwood...
That may work, possibly with more of a curve on the blade. I'll give it a try.
When it's green and fresh off the tree. But then you get checking because it drys too fast.
Does the project NEED the bark removed? Sawmills just cut threw the bark, couldn't you do the same?
Depends on the thickness of the bark and thickness of the branch. Fruit trees, I'd just use a pocket knife to rough off the bark. Something like a bigger piece of oak, leave it on or use a drawknife.
I'm sure that your right about doing it when the wood is green, I've also heard that the time of year when you cut makes a difference as well. I use branches about the size of your wrist and I'm not sure if checking would matter much as long as I let it dry out completely before using it. I've been using branches with the bark on for a while now and it's fine, just going for a different look and feel to the finished piece. Thanks for the info.
Right ,I thought that would do it ,too, but it doesn't finish out as smoothly as I would like. ( Unless it's my lack of finesse with the drawknife.) I'm trying to get a nice smooth , clean, finish-- pretty much as if you just peeled the bark off like a banana. Ultimately I want to use these pieces of wood to make rustic furniture with. Thanks for the input.