Bark Edge - Help?

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Forum topic by tyskkvinna posted 12-17-2012 03:17 PM 9944 views 2 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1310 posts in 3162 days

12-17-2012 03:17 PM

I have been asked to make some ornaments from logs – it will basically just a slice of log, with a hole for the ribbon (and some engraving but that’s not important to the question). The customer is very insistent that the pieces have the full bark around the edge… they will be able 2-3” dia.

How do I keep the bark in-tact? I work with bark regularly but it is in smaller pieces. I’ve found that when it is a full ring, it tends to kind of dry against the wood and fall off.

These are not Christmas ornaments, so I am not under a crazy time crunch.

I am not 100% sure what kind of wood I will use but it is likely that I will use Maple.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

17 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17719 posts in 3182 days

#1 posted 12-17-2012 03:22 PM

I wonder if you could soak it in CA glue to ensure adhesion? Kind of thinking out loud here, no real life experience in doing such as thing.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29973 posts in 2514 days

#2 posted 12-17-2012 03:26 PM

Type of wood makes a difference. Some types of wood simply don’t hold their bark well. As long as they aren’t going to be banged around a lot, I have had decent luck with my finishes holding it in place. Of I get a loose spot I glue it.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3479 days

#3 posted 12-17-2012 03:28 PM

if this is coming from an already dried log then the bark might want to come off when you cut it, what if you tightly wrap surran wrap around it and cut your slices, then you can see if you need to add some glue to hold it on or maybe it will stay on by itself, using hot glue might be a quick way to hold it on…well good luck…i hope it works.

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21536 posts in 3281 days

#4 posted 12-17-2012 03:42 PM

Hi Lis. When a log dries, it shrinks and gets smaller than the bark and the bark falls off. I don’t know what the final product can look like, but it see that if you want to keep the bark on the log, you might need to put an adhesive between the bark and the log. maybe and epoxy soak might do it. I think maple bark will stay on better than oak or some other real thick bark trees.
Grizz’s idea of the saran wrap will work to hold it in place during cutting, but after you take off the wrap, you’re going to need an adhesive to keep it there….............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3026 days

#5 posted 12-17-2012 03:58 PM

Would a film of polyurethane help in two ways—slow/inhibit moisture loss, and encapsulate the two unlike materials? LIke Chris, I’m thinking out loud. Or typing out loud. Something.

For some reason I see shrub type material here: lilac for example.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 4167 days

#6 posted 12-17-2012 04:16 PM

When turning natural edge bowls etc… it is a common practice to soak the bark with thin CA glue. I have used this method many times with great success. You do need to be careful during the turning process and ensure that you only cut from the bark toward the wood never outward toward the bark. I hope this helps….


-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View a1Jim's profile


117276 posts in 3753 days

#7 posted 12-17-2012 04:22 PM

I’ve heard it has to do when the wood is harvested .The woods that hold there bark best are harvested in the winter.
This makes sense to me because of what Jim Jakosh said. Wood will be wetter inside when it’s not dormant .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3162 days

#8 posted 12-17-2012 06:55 PM

Hmmm – I was hoping to do it with some logs I already have (that are maple). I want the final product to have kind of a matte finish—wonder if I can do that with epoxy?! Worth trying! That would certainly keep the whole thing sturdy when it’s done.

I really dislike CA glue and try to avoid it for anything other than glueing small pieces together … but I will give it a shot too.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View a1Jim's profile


117276 posts in 3753 days

#9 posted 12-17-2012 07:13 PM

Try soaking it in a wood conditioner for a couple days. I know Charles Neil’s blotch control will firm softer punkie wood if you soak it and let it dry out well .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View CharlesNeil's profile


2454 posts in 4046 days

#10 posted 12-17-2012 07:52 PM

use the epoxy pour on, you must encapsulate it , or the bark will come off, this will give you a high gloss finish, then sand it smooth and using a spray can of satin lacquer, that will give you the sheen I have done alot of these and this is the only way I have found to keep the bark on.

thin the first coat of epoxy about 30% with acetone., brush it on , soaking the wood, it wont be pretty, then after this is dry (about 24 hours) sand and do a 2nd coat full strength .

This may help

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2462 days

#11 posted 12-17-2012 08:26 PM

A small walnut tree holds bark well, but the bark isn’t very thick. If you find a branch that is straight and the right diameter, just cut it with a chainsaw and see if the bark holds tight. All of it will fall off eventually though.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4180 posts in 2410 days

#12 posted 12-19-2012 01:24 AM

The only product I know that reliably keeps wood from shrinking is polyethylene glycol. It’s not pricy and can be reused and will handle very large chunks of logs (4 ft dia and up). Thin slices of small dia like you mentioned won’t take long, maybe a couple weeks soaking. The PEG works by capillary action replacing the moisture in the log with its own cells which are essentially plastic. Then when that process is complete (you can’t tell by looking, only experience-your own or someone else) you can dry the log slices and they will not shrink. The bark will tend to stay on if it was firmly attached at the start. You have essentially created a piece of plastic that looks like wood. You can machine it, finish it, and be confident that it won’t move unexpectedly.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL Now there's a face that would stop a clock! And seriously mess with small watches.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3162 days

#13 posted 12-19-2012 01:46 AM

AWESOME!!! Thank you! I will check that out. I am patient, don’t mind waiting while it soaks.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2530 days

#14 posted 12-19-2012 02:11 AM

super glue should work

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4180 posts in 2410 days

#15 posted 12-19-2012 02:51 AM

The log slices HAVE to be stabilized for success. Some are naturally pretty stable, but none enough to keep the bark on when the slice splits. I’ve never seen glue keep a log slice from “pie cutting” splits, which tears the bark off because they don’t move at the same rate. Trees whose live edge will stay on a board indefinitely will shed their bark quickly from a log slice. Whole different action. I agree with TCC that glue can be successful in holding bark on a live edge of a board, but not on a log slice.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL Now there's a face that would stop a clock! And seriously mess with small watches.

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