How to Peel Birch Bark

Written by andrea stein
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Peel Birch Bark
Peeling back birch bark will let you use the wood for projects. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The birch tree is a type of tree that grows in the northern hemisphere that is characterised by its white or silver bark. Peeled birch wood can be used in birch baskets, canoes and other projects. Peeling birch bark may sound daunting, but its a relatively simple task, and a few tools like an axe and hammer should help the job go smoothly.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Chain saw
  • Permanent marker
  • Tape measure
  • Machete
  • Axe
  • Hammer or mallet

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Use a chain saw to cut down the birch tree. Be sure to retreat a safe distance before the tree begins to fall.

  2. 2

    Use a measuring tape to measure 6 inches from each end of the fallen birch tree. Use a permanent marker to mark the measurement. Cut along the measurements with the chainsaw to remove the ends of the tree.

  3. 3

    Position a machete on one end of the birch tree along the top centre. Push the machete in so it penetrates the bark by 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Move the machete back and forth so the cut extends across the full length of birch tree.

  4. 4

    Position an axe blade at a 20-degree angle at the edge of the cut. Push the axe into the cut. Tap on the back of the axe blade with a mallet or hammer. Pull out the axe to free it from the wood. Position it directly beneath the previous axe cut. Tap the axe again with the mallet or hammer. Continue repeating this step until you reach the opposite end of the tree.

  5. 5

    Move back to the other end of the tree. Take hold of the edge of the birch tree bark, which should be slightly separated from the tree. Lift up and back to peel off the park. Continue to peel until the bark is removed. Roll the birch tree slightly to one side in order to reach the part of the tree resting against the ground.

Tips and warnings

  • Enlist a friend to help you cut and peel the other side of the tree as you work on one side to make the job go faster and smoother.
  • Always wear safety goggles and gloves when working with hand tools and power tools.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.