Smoothing the brark on live edges

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Forum topic by descolada posted 11-24-2014 05:26 PM 914 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View descolada's profile


54 posts in 1798 days

11-24-2014 05:26 PM

I’m just starting to tackle my first live-edge project and I could use some help on this aspect. The walnut slab I’ll be turning into a coffee table has long rough sections of bark on it, and I’m not sure how to go about smoothing it without losing the character of the edge.

What tools do you prefer to smooth it? Sanding flaps on a drill? A disc in a grinder? Other?

Also, do you guys typically leave some of the bark on? Or smooth it down the the sapwood?


4 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1767 days

#1 posted 11-24-2014 06:06 PM

Hi Jesse,
It all depends on your choice; what the end result will look like. One of my latest project, I left the bark on the tail and sides of the gazelle table. The cow desk I made, also in my projects, all the bark was removed mostly with chisels and some of the stuck bark, with sander on grinder.


View bobro's profile


320 posts in 1310 days

#2 posted 11-24-2014 07:18 PM

Only ever done a couple live edge things, and left them live as they came from the sawyer, but what I saw West Coast pot smokers doing back in the day was flap sanding, chucked in an electric hand drill. Dust mask and plastic safety glasses probably a good idea.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View putty's profile


1189 posts in 1606 days

#3 posted 11-24-2014 07:54 PM

Hey Jesse, I made a wet bar top and backsplash out of Walnut with the bark. I used an 80 grit sanding wheel for my angle grinder to rough shape it. Once I had it shaped how I wanted it I then wadded up sand paper and scrubbed in the grooves of the bark. Here are some pics.!

Trees cut in the winter when dormant retain the bark.

Hope this helps!

-- Putty

View descolada's profile


54 posts in 1798 days

#4 posted 11-25-2014 06:28 AM

Thanks guys. Closer inspection shows that most of the bark has fallen off and is just there in a few patches. I’ll go the quick chisel clean up followed by sanding wheel approach. I believe this tree was cut in august.

Very nice counter top btw, if I wasn’t positive my wife and I would ruin it I’d seriously consider something similar.

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