De-Barking Logs Before Sawing

Simple thoughts on how and why to remove bark from logs before sawing (or not). November 3, 2010

Has anyone here used a log debarker that fits on the end of a chainsaw? I see where Hud-son sells them for $165. I just got a mill and was wondering if they are worth the trouble. Also if you have used one do you try to debark the whole log before you put it on the deck or after just down the cutting line?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor J:
I bought one eight years ago and used it for about six months. It would wear you out before even started cutting on the mill. I then bought a pressure washer and have not looked back since, although I do not use the washer much either now. Stainless steel wire brush and a gas powered weed blower it what I use the most now, out in the field. If I am at home the compressor works the best. I hope you do not have to go through the same thing I went through to figure out simple is always better.

From the original questioner:
So you just use the blower. I'll try that if I get a dirty log. I cut my first logs today, the mill is great! I'm thinking I could cut and not get into a rush around 600 or 700 feet a day with just me. I'm looking forward to learning more and start getting some customers.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
One important reason why we use a debarker is to get rid of the sand and grit and small rocks that are in the bark (from harvesting operations). A power washer will clean the bark quite well. We still have some bark on, which might fall off in processing, but most of the loose bark is washed off. Larger mills debark to remove bark so that their chips are clean (bark-free) which is what pulp companies want. Some mills debark because they can market the bark as landscape mulch (in bulk or by the pickup load or even bagged) and make a few extra dollars.

From contributor R:
We don't debark any of our logs (as none of them are skidded) and don't run in to much trouble. Sure you may get a little better blade life, but with bandmills, blades arenít too expensive and I think productivity has more value than spending a bunch of time and money trying to debark logs. I think timber framers call them a spud, but it's basically a sharpshooter (shovel) with the concave face being used to shave/scrape the bark off of logs. I've had good luck knocking heavy loose bark of with a shovel. Once you get it down to a cant, it's a nonissue. Long story short, if you have the equipment to pick up logs as opposed to skidding them, debarking may not be much of an issue.

From contributor O:
I mounted a hydraulic motor on a sliding guide vertically with a piece of chain saw chain mounted in a machined groove in the edge of a 6" disc. The disc is on the same plane as the band blade. It cuts a1/4" groove in the bark. It is spring loaded, but you still have to put hand pressure on the slide so it will follow the taper of the log.