I left the bark on the piece for my coffee table, but thought if it ever became a problem, I’d take it off. My understanding is that the bark is safe to keep on if the slab has been kiln dried. Air dried bark will have bugs. Since this is a gift, I’m taking the bark off from the beginning.
The bark was pretty stubborn on this piece. i’d heard that some folks find an angle grinder handy to do this. I found it helpful, but not as helpful as a more sophisticated tool I have.
The angle grinder was taking a long time on some of the thick bark, and this piece had pretty thick bark. I tried my dead blow mallet, but it was fairly ineffective, and then I thought of another solution.
When I was in Ghana last summer I had a craftsman make me a ebony mallet just like he used in his work to chisel figures. It weighs a ton. This thing was the bomb, knocked off big hunks. I then used the angle grinder to take off the remaining bark, and then my ROS with 60 grit paper to shape the edge a bit. I still need to finish this last step around the entire board.
After this step I need to cut the waterfall leg and make the jig for the hidden splines. Fun, fun.
-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson