How to Peel Logs

  1. To remove bark from a log, secure the log on both sides with a clamp or our Log Lock. Remember that if the end will be made into a tenon, you don’t need to peel the last few inches.
  2. Take your Draw Knife and, alongside the log, stand over it enough to get a straight line with the stoke and not stand awkwardly. You should be comfortable.
  3. Start at the far end of the log, with the blade positioned at about a 30-degree angle. A lesser angle will slip and not remove the bark, but too much will result in too much wood being removed. ‘Draw’ the knife toward you and the nearest point of the log, applying even pressure with both hands.

Applying  a “Clean Peel”

A clean peel is peeling off all the bark on the log. If too much or little bark is peeled, you will end up with a chunky-looking log or a log that looks like it has just been scraped. A good clean peel removes all the bark, not the wood underneath.

  1. Pull using enough downward pressure to get past the bark and into the wood but not so much to dig into the wood and leave a sort of ‘ditch.’ You want the log to remain as round as possible.
  2. After peeling the top section of the log, reset it in the clamps and repeat for the other sections of bark until you have rotated the log completely and your peel is complete.

Applying a “Skip Peel

The skip peel is our trademark peel technique, leaving behind strips of bark to give a unique style. As you peel the bark and a small bit of wood underneath, think of how ‘heavy’ you want the peel to be, heavier being small strips of bark left and lighter being larger patches of bark left behind.

  1. Using the same draw knife angle and technique as above, choose areas of the log to peel; applying shorter and longer strokes leaves behind different shapes of bark on the log.
  2. Remember, this is ‘your art,’ so you can choose any pattern. Apply peels to larger areas of bark and see the resulting look. Take shorter strokes to leave larger strips of bark and longer ones to leave smaller strips.
  3. You will need to experiment and practice your technique. Don’t be frustrated; sometimes, you’ll remove too much and end up needing to use the log for firewood in your wood stove! You can always take off more but can’t put it back. Start small, and you can always fine-tune your intended look.

Regardless of which technique you choose, it’s important to wear protective gloves and eye gear while removing the bark from your log to avoid injury.