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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2 days ago I cut 6 forks from recently lopped branches - see pic.

I have stripped 2 of them with various knives and considerable difficulty, damaging the wood in places.

I now have the other 4 in a bucket of water as I guess that the bark will be harder to remove if it dries out.

Any advice about tools and methods would be much appreciated.

Regards,

Mike
 

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I use a sharp fixed blade knife with a short blade and a long handle.

Some kinds of tree have bark that peels off easily and some it's very firmly stuck and will never come off without carving into the wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
treeman - many thanks, that is very helpful. I fancy the drawknife for the straights, but in the crotch I am using a penknife with a relatively narrow blade and a rounded cutting end.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I use a sharp fixed blade knife with a short blade and a long handle.

Some kinds of tree have bark that peels off easily and some it's very firmly stuck and will never come off without carving into the wood.
Yes. For the crotch I seem to need a narrower blade with a very rounded cutting end.

Re "Some kinds of tree have bark that peels off easily and some it's very firmly stuck and will never come off without carving into the wood." . . . .

That describes my problem perfectly.

With the Walnut I used for my 1860 Victorian catapult, I could strip the bark with my thumb nails - but a deliberately "blunt scraper" knife with a rounded cutting end did the job without cutting into the wood. Great result.

With the 6 new, maybe rubbish-wood forks, "it's very firmly stuck and will never come off without carving into the wood." These are in water because I hope that this will soften the bark more than the wood. I may even try boiling water.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Prince of Paraprosdokians and Epistemophilia
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2 days ago I cut 6 forks from recently lopped branches - see pic.

I have stripped 2 of them with various knives and considerable difficulty, damaging the wood in places.

I now have the other 4 in a bucket of water as I guess that the bark will be harder to remove if it dries out.

Any advice about tools and methods would be much appreciated.

Regards,

Mike
As I have read, the best (easiest) time to strip off the bark is as soon as you cut the wood from the tree. The bark is like Saran Wrap, and will fight your later attempts.

Hope that helps.
 

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Prince of Paraprosdokians and Epistemophilia
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treeman - many thanks, that is very helpful. I fancy the drawknife for the straights, but in the crotch I am using a penknife with a relatively narrow blade and a rounded cutting end.

Mike
Be wery, wery careful using a penknife in the crotch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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I have been told to boil them. I am still yet to try it. Maybe after I get work caught up around here I will set up my big canning/soup pot and see.
I missed the window of peeling em fresh. I have a home made 2x4 carpenter bench... a carpenter's table... and a draw knife and spokeshave plus clamps.

The bench has stop block for push cutting or chiseling. The work table is essentially a big clamp for draw cutting... which is mostly what you will want to do.
 

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I have boiled green forks as part of another experiment. I noticed that as I started to strip them while still hot, the bark carved off like cheese. Bark on a winter cut fork sticks tighter than spring or summer cut ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have been told to boil them. I am still yet to try it. Maybe after I get work caught up around here I will set up my big canning/soup pot and see.
I missed the window of peeling em fresh. I have a home made 2x4 carpenter bench... a carpenter's table... and a draw knife and spokeshave plus clamps.

The bench has stop block for push cutting or chiseling. The work table is essentially a big clamp for draw cutting... which is mostly what you will want to do.
Now that is what I call a bench!

One way or another, I have enough tools. Maybe, with this stubborn latest lot, boiling may be well worth trying, to increase the difference in hardness between the wood and the bark. I think I'll try that. Sounds more fun too.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have boiled green forks as part of another experiment. I noticed that as I started to strip them while still hot, the bark carved off like cheese. Bark on a winter cut fork sticks tighter than spring or summer cut ones.
Boiling water and blunt knives (more like a thumb nail, that will not easily cut into the wood) sounds good to me. Maybe re-dipping the fork as I go along.

I'll update this thread when I have tried it. I can feel a fork strip coming on today! :)

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
After all the helpful advice here, I modified a small kitchen knife into my idea of a bark stripping knife. The blade has a sharp cutting straight, then a more "scraping" curve, then a rounded point that is more like a sharpened thumb nail, but avoiding the pain of using a thumb nail. I like it a lot.

Then I took my 4 remaining as-cut forks that are Sycamore or Norway Maple, depending on whom I ask, and a new Walnut as-cut fork that I found yesterday, and, one at a time, submerged them in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Wearing rubber gloves and applying the knife to each hot fork straight out of the water, I only had to use the knife to lift the bark at the thick end of the fork and it could then be pulled off like a tight-fitting leather jacket. In less than 2 minutes.

One photo shows an over-thick Sycamore/Norway Maple fork and the perfectly sized Walnut fork with their stripped bark - the Walnut bark came off cleanly in only 2 pieces, easier than the Sycamore/ Norway Maple, as I had expected from previous work done cold.

The surprise, apart from the ease and speed of stripping, was the golden green colour of the Walnut (photo 3) which, from cold, strips white. A staining from the boiling, I guess. I don't know yet how deep or durable this colour is.

An enjoyable and revealing experiment, about to become standard practice for me.

Mike
 

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