Saturday, February 14, 2009
Hard work on hardwood.
Before I was so rudely interrupted by the tractor getting bogged down across the gravel bar, I had worked on removing the bark from the hardwood timbers to allow them to dry more quickly. Here you can see the top two logs before I began working on them, plus underneath a Sweet Gum timber I stripped a few weeks ago.
This is the draw knife I am using. It has a 13 inch blade which you pull back towards you at an angle to allow for a nice slicing action to cut into the cambian (cambium) layer between the bark and the wood, and when it works right neatly pull off the bark.
After about an hour I had between a quarter and a third of the Black Walnut bark off, and as you can see some of the bark removed from the hickory next to it.
The black walnut bark is quite thick in places and stripping it is slow going, but will be very satisfying to see every time I look up in my home. All of the hardwoods have reasonably thick bark which can be difficult to remove, though I will say that the hickory stripped nicely. In another half hour I had done about a third of the total bark of the hickory. After a few experimental pulls on other timbers, I called it day deciding that two hours of pulling on the draw knife was plenty for me.
I will admit that my desire to not cut down living trees has helped in some cases with regard to the bark. Many of the old cedar snags I have harvested either already have their bark off, else have bark that can be very easily peeled with just my hands. The pine and the cedars which have not aged that long both strip much more easily than the hardwoods, provided that there are not a lot of branches as is often the case with cedars.