Log Skinning Tools

Written by shane grey
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Log Skinning Tools
Dressed logs become building materials, such as fence posts and rails. (log fence image by David Sexton from Fotolia.com)

Skinning begins the timber dressing process, which transforms the raw material of the forest into useful building materials, such as posts, beams, boards and shingles. Log skinning tools, both manual and motor driven, employ sharpened blades to remove bark and surface knots from felled trees. Whether you're building a log cabin or creating rustic furniture, become familiar with log skinning tools and choose the ones that suit the scope of your project.

Draw Knife

This traditional woodworking tool removes layers of bark and flesh from logs. Straight handles protrude perpendicularly from each end of the draw knife's slightly curved blade. To use a draw knife, the lumber worker straddles or stands over a log, hooks the tool's sharpened blade beneath a portion of bark or flesh and draws the tool toward his body.

Spud Bar

Similar in appearance to a crowbar, this heavy-duty skinning tool removes stubborn bark and knots from a log's surface. The spud bar, also called a "spudding tool," is forged as a single piece of metal. One or both ends of the tool feature spade-like or hooked edges. A lumber worker forces the bar beneath the tree's bark and pushes the tool around the log's circumference to remove material in large peels.


The adze roughly skins and shapes a felled tree. Like an axe, this tool's roughly wedge-shaped blade rests at the end of a long handle. The adze's most unusual characteristic is the position of its blade: the adze blade rests on a plane perpendicular to its handle, unlike the parallel position of an axe blade. To use an adze, the lumber worker typically stands aside or atop a log and swings and hooks the tool beneath the log's surface layers to remove substantial chunks of material.

Chain Saw

The chain saw not only cuts logs to length, but, equipped with attachments produced by innovative tool manufacturers, acts as a debarking and planing tool. Log skinning attachments mount to a chain saw's bar and employ the force of its spinning chain to rotate a series of sharpened blades. These attachments typically appear as cubes. Once attached to a chain saw, the cube's bottom surface is pushed across a log to remove bark and smooth a log's surface.

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