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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I make alot of slingshots. I finished 6 last night and will finish another 10 by tomorrow night.
I make all kinds but lately I have become an admirer of bark-on naturals. Now don't get me wrong, I really like a well made/carved natural, but there is something about a bark-on catty that feels and looks cool. In addition to looking and feeling organic the advantage is, of course, that making them with the bark on is much quicker and you can choose the fork on the spot according to the size of the band needed or the shape of your hand or any other characteristics you desire. [If I need the fork quickly I wrap the ends with latex as though I am putting on bands (it helps to keep them from splitting) then I throw it over the hot air duct.]
I cut them to length with a saw, carve them with a knife, sand them in 7 stages down to 600 grit and buff to a high gloss using a polishing wheel and whiteing. Any exposed wood is brought to a high gloss.
I see mostly bark-off slingshots on the site. How do others feel about bark?
 

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I think the right fork would look superb with the bark on, but the random nature of grain, especially spalting could mean natures gifts stay hidden forever.

I recently cut 3 Oak forks from a very dead branch and all of them would look nice as they are, but like I mentioned above there is mould growing through the grain! Imagine what they will look like once dry?? Spalted Oak!!, to leave the bark on would be shame.

Not to say it can't look stunning still with it on though
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a couple of spalted boxwood forks I'm waiting on for inspiration before I begin carving. They will definately be bark off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Boxwood is my favorite wood to work with. Back in the days I used to make knives I would use it for the handles. With the amazing hardness and tight grain there is nothing better to work with. Unfortunately it's hard to find unless you're willing to cut down someones hedge. I'm always looking though.
Winnie
 

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"Crafter"
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I just sold my one of spalted fork to a fella in the USA I was proud as punch finding such a gem, regards to bark on or off I believe when you first begin sizing and shaping in your mind the question answers itself plus some natural forks the bark just falls off almost.
 

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Those that yield my firmest grip (and better shooting) all have the bark on ! I have several of my most accurate shooters that famed Blue Skeen made for me -ALL have their original "hides", and Blue (not too shabby of a marksman himself) likes to build all his naturals this way. Just last week he sent me a superb little model, with not only the bark remaining, but also the greenish ,mold looking "lichens" still in place to provide a most unique looking slingshot!
 

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I've made a number of bark on or partial bark on it really depends on how they feel for me.
 

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Philly
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Half on, half off Grasshopper.
Philly
 

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Half on, half off Grasshopper.
Philly
Like this? this was my only natural with bark nice enough to leave on. it also happens to be really hard to shoot.
 

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Philly
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Careful Pop, you sit on that it could be painfull. LOL
Philly
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Philly, they say a good walking stick should have a bit of a cudgel about it. If you miss with the catty you could run up an poke the target.
 

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I think that some of the best wood is the stuff you leave as found, with bark on, and put away for a year or so,
to dry naturally. Once dry, take a palm sander, or sandpaper to it, and sand the outer bark away leaving some of the
underbark and sapwood contrasting each other. That is one of my favorite ways to work with some wood.
 
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I don't do bark, but of course I also don't do any grit higher than 200 either. I imagine 'bark on or off' is an aesthetic choice from one maker/shooter to the next.
 

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Super Genius
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i love bark on designs... it just seems right on some naturals... i'm working on one right now that i left the bark on in a pattern that i think looks much better than i could adorn without keeping it...
 

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This is all a matter of taste. But I have never worked on a fork made of Oak, Ash, or Beech that looked better with the bark on.
 
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