How to debark a tree

Written by andrea stein
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How to debark a tree
Debark a tree to make lumbar for fence posts and other purposes. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Removing tree bark is a necessary step when making wood posts or fence rails out of lumbar, and also removes moisture from the bark that allows insects to thrive. Renting a debarking machine can be costly. Save cash by peeling off the bark yourself. The removal may take some effort, but a basic tool, like a steel trowel, should help you complete the process.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chainsaw or hand saw
  • Steel trowel

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    Debarking a Tree

  1. 1

    Hold the hand saw or chainsaw at a downward angle and cut the tree trunk. Make an upward angled cut below the first cut to create a notch in the trunk. Relocate to the opposite side of the tree and make an even cut level to the middle of the notch on the other side.

  2. 2

    Cut into the tree until only approximately 1/10th of the tree's diameter remains between the two cuts. Retreat to a clear distance and wait until the tree has landed.

  3. 3

    Use the chainsaw or handsaw to cut off the limbs of the fallen tree. Attempt to cut the limbs as flush to the trunk as possible.

  4. 4

    Move to the base of the trunk, or log. Insert the end of the steel trowel between the cambium layer of the log and the bark.

  5. 5

    Lift the steel trowel handle up to separate the bark from the log. Once a section of bark separates you can pull it free with your hands and set it aside. Repeat this process along the length of the log, starting at the base of the log and working your way up to remove all the bark.

Tips and warnings

  • Enlist a helper to hold the log while you debark it. This will prevent the log from rolling and causing possible injury.
  • Always wear safety gloves when working with hand or power tools to prevent injury.

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