De-Barking Maple Burls

      Tips for improving the labor-intensive process of getting bark off a maple burl log. December 11, 2007

I recently sawed two maple burl logs. The live surface of the logs were 50% spikes. I hand picked and chiseled the bark away. The trees were cut down this late spring and the bark wasn't stuck like winter growth. Two logs, one 14', the other 8', both about 16"-36" diameter. What is the best way to remove the bark? I assume powerwashing with about 5,000 PSI? I've tried powerwashing with 2,500 PSI, but it doesn't do very much at all.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor M:
I've dealt with a bit of that material. It seems to work best to let it dry (air, then kiln) and during that time it will tend to separate. This also serves to protect the outer edges. Then chisels and drawknives and even dentist tools work better.

From contributor R:
I tried several techniques to remove the bark from burl. They were cut in the spring, so the cambium layer was soft. My first try was using a pressure washer, no luck. Second attempt was using a framing hammer to strike the bark straight on. It flew off in chunks without breaking the points, but way too much work. Tried a small air impact tool (like the ones used to cut off mufflers) with a special hammer shaped tool. Didn't hit hard enough. Picked up a short air jack hammer at Harbor Freight. It only came with pointed chisels, so I cut the point off the chisel, and that effectively gave me a 1" diameter hammer head to strike the bark. It works fantastic. You can definitely stay on the trigger too long and damage the wood, but with a little practice you know when to stop. Followed that with the pressure washer and it came out sparkling clean. Certainly a lot cleaner than I was after pressure washing about 20 burls!

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article