Bark on or bark off, opinions needed

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Project by Monte Pittman posted 11-19-2012 11:50 AM 1665 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am normally not in favor of leaving the bark on the edge of the slabs. However on the slabs I used for the legs on this bench seems very solid and I like the look of it. So should I leave it or take it off?

After the success with the Ash benches this summer I thought I would try to catch some lightning again. Found a couple more old dead Ash trees that were just crying out to be benches. Should have enough for about 3 benches.

It’s 54 inches long, about 36 tall and 24 deep.

So far I only have Danish oil on it. Comments encouraged.

Thanks for looking

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

19 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2580 days

#1 posted 11-19-2012 12:22 PM

Nice looking bench. The only thing about leaving the bark on is that it IS going to fall/wear off at some point. In other words, pieces will crumble off of it. But, I have taken a soft brass bristle bush to edges before and just get it to where its pretty solid and that will work….well it will work better than nothing being done. I am sure there is a way to “coat” the bark with something like poly that may even do a better job of stabilizing the bark but my experience doesnt go beyod the brass brush. LOL

Now..I like the look of the bark on it. I think if you took any off, I would take it off of the front of the legs and leave it on the back.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Roger's profile


20949 posts in 2976 days

#2 posted 11-19-2012 02:13 PM

I like the looks with bark on, but, it looks gr8 either way. My only concern with the bark on, is, will it eventually fall off, and if so, it’ll still look fine. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2952 days

#3 posted 11-19-2012 02:24 PM

Monte I’m with the other guys, it will come off on it’s own eventualy, probably regardless of what you
may do.
Like Roger I think “it’ll still look fine”
And it does look mighty fine right now..

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View TexPenn's profile


459 posts in 3860 days

#4 posted 11-19-2012 02:42 PM

Bugs live under the bark. I would remove it for sure!

-- Ted, TX or PA

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2348 days

#5 posted 11-19-2012 03:15 PM

That is a strong built, alright.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3475 days

#6 posted 11-19-2012 03:18 PM

monte, if you take mineral spirits and fully soak the ares that have bark you should be able to kill any creatures living in there, i personally like the bark left on sometimes, and im a fan of that…so you know how i feel, i think it adds a real picture for the piece, it lets people see the whole phase of the you now get to decide, it sure is beautiful wood that is for sure…....grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Ken90712's profile


17592 posts in 3361 days

#7 posted 11-19-2012 04:46 PM

Nice job, a real beauty!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View inchanga's profile


117 posts in 2285 days

#8 posted 11-19-2012 05:28 PM

Unfortunately the bark is almost certain to deteriorate, powder and fall off eventually spoiling the look of the piece. I would remove it and finsh the piece accordingly. I am rapidly becoming a fan of live edge work, each piece is unique and shows the beauty of the wood. Nice job.

-- chris, north wales

View YoungWilly's profile


101 posts in 2241 days

#9 posted 11-19-2012 05:54 PM

I would keep the bark… but only if it’s not too much trouble to try to preserve the bark. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any methods to do so. In the end, it’s up to you. But it’s still a very nice bench, with or without the bark!

-- -- Measure twice, cut once; why, did the wood grow?

View bowtie's profile


990 posts in 2518 days

#10 posted 11-19-2012 06:18 PM

I like the look of bark but as already stated it harbors bugs. I’ve sawed trees immediately after felling them and found bugs. I guess the little recyclers are just waiting for the tree to die !!!
Great lookin bench.

-- bowtie,.....jus passin thru....

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2346 days

#11 posted 11-19-2012 09:55 PM

What did you use to make the slabs?

Very nice and neat bench!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Mip's profile


453 posts in 2250 days

#12 posted 11-19-2012 11:59 PM

As I tell my dog when he sees an intruder, bark on! As noted with some of the other comments, I think the bark will come off eventually. It will look great even after the bark comes off, not for awhile, though. The legs, are they made from a bookmatched crotch piece? If so, that is good detailing with the lumber.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2360 days

#13 posted 11-20-2012 12:25 AM

Nice grain/color, especially in pix 4 ! If the bark is wanting to stay on, I think I would leave it on.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Doe's profile


1416 posts in 3002 days

#14 posted 11-20-2012 12:28 AM

Bark on, and treat the wood to help prevent it from falling off.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2862 days

#15 posted 11-20-2012 02:06 AM

I’d remove the bark for all the above stated reasons: bugs,decay, etc. If it ALL stayed on or ALL fell off at the same time it would look OK but I think it will look bad when sections of bark begin to lift off. I like to remove the bark and then “texture” the sapwood beneath it with a wire wheel. Looks nice and removes all the bugs, eggs, and surface decay. Nice bench of really nice wood.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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