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De-barking small branches?

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Forum topic by georgeet posted 156 days ago 547 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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georgeet

2 posts in 156 days


156 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: bark bark removal tumblers

Am using small branches, twigs for an art project and de-barking with vegetable peelers which is tedious and slow. Looking online I saw some tree de-barking tumblers so I built a parts tumbler w/ pvc pipe that takes 5’ branches. Everything works fine except I cannot find a cutting media that works on bark. Tried various rust removal media (ceramic, resin) and broken glass, none had any much effect on bark wet or dry.
Anyone have any ideas about cutting media or am I on the wrong track?
The wood I am using is too small for pressure washers — they cut through the wood.
George


11 replies so far

View MalcolmLaurel's profile

MalcolmLaurel

210 posts in 258 days


#1 posted 156 days ago

What size (diameter) branches and what kind of wood are you talking about? I’ve been wondering about pressure washers myself, but I haven’t tried them yet. The owner of the local hardware store / tool rental says I can bring in a couple of pieces to try their rental units to see if it works before renting one, but I’m waiting for warmer weather.

I work mostly with mountain laurel. Until recently I used a knife to scrape the bark off. I did try a sandblaster once, it worked well but left a rough texture on the wood (http://lumberjocks.com/projects/93762). The best thing I’ve found so far is a set of cabinet scrapers in conjunction with knives and a couple of homemade scrapers. But yes, it’s tedious and slow, though probably better than a vegetable peeler.

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com https://www.etsy.com/shop/MalcolmLaurel

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georgeet

2 posts in 156 days


#2 posted 155 days ago

Sizes run from pencil to 1-1/2 in. diameter. Wood is a mix of linden, willow, cottonwood and whatever else I pick up. I live in an urban area so there isn’t anywhere I can go and pick my wood. Also using bamboo which has to be sanded to accept paint so the tumbler may work for that.

Do you burnish the scrapers or just use them as is? I have six peelers and they work pretty well without too much effort for most wood. I may try steaming bark off, but then it has to dry out again.
Very nice lamps you’re making.

George Everet Thompson, http://georgeverethompson.com

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MalcolmLaurel

210 posts in 258 days


#3 posted 155 days ago

The scrapers definitely have to be burnished; it’s the burr formed by burnishing that does the work.

The peeler is an interesting idea that I’ll have to try, but mountain laurel has a reddish inner bark has a convoluted shape with hollows that a straight tool won’t get into.

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com https://www.etsy.com/shop/MalcolmLaurel

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

244 posts in 1717 days


#4 posted 155 days ago

I would use a drawknife. It is kind of like a super sized vegetable peeler that you pull with both hands. You can tilt the angle to change how deep it bites into the bark. You will want a clamp to hold the far end as you peel the end closest to you. Then turn it around to peel the other end.

-- Steve

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MalcolmLaurel

210 posts in 258 days


#5 posted 155 days ago

I use a drawknife for larger logs, but it’s useless for the small pieces the OP is talking about, and equally useless for the small twisty pieces I usually work with. A spokeshave might work for straight pieces.

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com https://www.etsy.com/shop/MalcolmLaurel

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MalcolmLaurel

210 posts in 258 days


#6 posted 154 days ago

Today I went to my local hardware store / tool rental with a scrap of mountain laurel branch about 1” diameter. The owner brought out a rental pressure washer (2700 psi, gas powered), fired it up, and hit the branch.

Wow.

It took the bark off easy as can be, leaving the wood underneath clean and smooth. The flaky outer bark just flew off, while the reddish inner bark tool a little longer but still came off. It did take long enough to remove the inner bark that I don’t think a lower pressure unit would do it. I don’t know how it would work on softer woods, though, it might chew up the wood underneath (laurel is very hard).

I didn’t rent it today because it’s too cold and miserable outside to spend a day playing with water, but I sure will… just have to decide whether to rent one for $90/day or buy one for $600. Leaning toward the latter, I’m sure my wife will find lots of other things for me to do with it!

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com https://www.etsy.com/shop/MalcolmLaurel

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Handtooler

1075 posts in 767 days


#7 posted 154 days ago

The muskrats sure do a number on the branches of my fish attracting brush pile under my dock. Clean as a whistle. They particularly like poplar, pecan, hedge, and magnolia. Smiles.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View MalcolmLaurel's profile

MalcolmLaurel

210 posts in 258 days


#8 posted 154 days ago

Yeah, beaver dams are also a great source for nice straight debarked walking sticks…

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com https://www.etsy.com/shop/MalcolmLaurel

View WebErika's profile

WebErika

104 posts in 164 days


#9 posted 154 days ago

You should actually be able to get a decent pressure washer for half that price? My gas powered one (which if I recollect correctly, is also 2700psi, too lazy to go out and look) was only $300 from HD. I LOVE it. You definately just want to buy one :)

I’ve got a friend who has made some awesome furniture from logs after pressure washing the bark right off. Looks so pretty!

-- Have a happy day!

View mrjinx007's profile

mrjinx007

1376 posts in 402 days


#10 posted 153 days ago

If the wood is green, peel or make a cut on two sides of the branch; ensuring the cuts penetrates the entire thickness of bark. Either let them sit in the sun for a few days or bake them in the oven for several hours. As the wood shrinks, the bark will pop right out.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View MalcolmLaurel's profile

MalcolmLaurel

210 posts in 258 days


#11 posted 147 days ago

I went out this morning to the big orange store and bought a 2700 psi Homelite pressure washer. Would have preferred to buy from the local guy but his were too expensive. Spent a couple of hours this afternoon blasting off bark for a couple of table projects. It’s still tedious, but not as tedious as scraping!

Before:

After (still wet):

I’m going to have to work out a better way of holding the wood while I work on it, though.

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com https://www.etsy.com/shop/MalcolmLaurel

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