Getting bark off Hazel (for walking stick)

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woodmunky

Forager
Oct 3, 2006
137
2
38
Surrey
Does anyone know the best way to remove bark from a Hazel stick? Have used a spoke shave before, but looking to see if there are any neat tricks that are potentially a little quicker.

Thanks,
Steve

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Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
270
70
SE Wales
Soak the stick for twenty four hours, or longer, and then use a heat gun whilst going at it gently with the knife or tool of your choice; the bark will mostly come of easily with this method. As a great side benefit of this way of doing it, the stick is also in the right condition to do any subtle bending or straightening that may be desirable.

This method has worked very well for me, and has the added plus of making it much easier to mitigate gouges and other damage to the wood underneath, giving a much more natural look to the finished stick and eliminating a good bit of sanding.
 

woodmunky

Forager
Oct 3, 2006
137
2
38
Surrey
Soak the stick for twenty four hours, or longer, and then use a heat gun whilst going at it gently with the knife or tool of your choice; the bark will mostly come of easily with this method. As a great side benefit of this way of doing it, the stick is also in the right condition to do any subtle bending or straightening that may be desirable.

This method has worked very well for me, and has the added plus of making it much easier to mitigate gouges and other damage to the wood underneath, giving a much more natural look to the finished stick and eliminating a good bit of sanding.
Will give that a go, thank you!

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,646
McBride, BC
When was the stick harvested?
The bark peels most easily from all sticks in the spring.
Just when woody growth begins again.
The newest very young wood is extremely soft so the bark pulls away most easily.
Any other time of the year or seasoned dry, removing bark is hard work with any tools.
 

woodmunky

Forager
Oct 3, 2006
137
2
38
Surrey
When was the stick harvested?
The bark peels most easily from all sticks in the spring.
Just when woody growth begins again.
The newest very young wood is extremely soft so the bark pulls away most easily.
Any other time of the year or seasoned dry, removing bark is hard work with any tools.
Very good advice, hadn't thought of varying when harvesting them, so that's good to know indeed!

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woodmunky

Forager
Oct 3, 2006
137
2
38
Surrey
Use a spoon knife, it will come off quickly and easily. Use an ordinary knife around any knots.
I do actually have a spoon knife, so will give that a go. On reflection, it would seem a better fit for the job! Thanks :)

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woodmunky

Forager
Oct 3, 2006
137
2
38
Surrey
When was the stick harvested?
The bark peels most easily from all sticks in the spring.
Just when woody growth begins again.
The newest very young wood is extremely soft so the bark pulls away most easily.
Any other time of the year or seasoned dry, removing bark is hard work with any tools.
Haven't harvested them yet, still trying to locate a landowner who'll let me.

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,646
McBride, BC
There is a rustic furniture shop down my street.
They make everything from staircase banisters and queen-size beds to walking sticks and canes.
They plan, to the day, when to harvest diamond willow in the spring. Should be soon, now here at 53N.
Then they work like hell to strip the bark from 5 cords (4' x 4' x 8') of willow which will be binned to dry for some years.
The bark comes off like banana peel! They use big screwdrivers to get under the bark to pull off long strips.
 
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woodmunky

Forager
Oct 3, 2006
137
2
38
Surrey
There is a rustic furniture shop down my street.
They make everything from staircase banisters and queen-size beds to walking sticks and canes.
They plan, to the day, when to harvest diamond willow in the spring. Should be soon, now here at 53N.
Then they work like hell to strip the bark from 5 cords (4' x 4' x 8') of willow which will be binned to dry for some years.
The bark comes off like banana peel! They use big screwdrivers to get under the bark to pull off long strips.
I'm certainly hoping I can get some over the coming weeks and try this; I'm really hoping I can get it to come off on strips, that would be ideal :) Thanks for the advice :)

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,646
McBride, BC
I have never been out with the furniture shop guys.
I suspect that they go for a drive to their "plot" and test a stem or two.
Then they wait. They work in swamps so they use quads and trailers and chain saws.
5 full cords is a lot of sticks and a mountain of bark peelings.

FWIW, my advice is to try stripping a pencil-thick twig or three.
Not very invasive but you will get some idea of when the bark starts "slipping."
Then you cut maybe 8' sticks. Don't bother to seal the ends. Expect some end-cracking.
Don't cook the sticks in a shed, they will dry, about 1" thickness per year.

Lots of woods go from cheese to bone when they dry.
If you have a notion to do any carving, working green fresh wood is really fun.
 
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woodmunky

Forager
Oct 3, 2006
137
2
38
Surrey
I have never been out with the furniture shop guys.
I suspect that they go for a drive to their "plot" and test a stem or two.
Then they wait. They work in swamps so they use quads and trailers and chain saws.
5 full cords is a lot of sticks and a mountain of bark peelings.

FWIW, my advice is to try stripping a pencil-thick twig or three.
Not very invasive but you will get some idea of when the bark starts "slipping."
Then you cut maybe 8' sticks. Don't bother to seal the ends. Expect some end-cracking.
Don't cook the sticks in a shed, they will dry, about 1" thickness per year.

Lots of woods go from cheese to bone when they dry.
If you have a notion to do any carving, working green fresh wood is really fun.
So much good advice there! Much appreciated :)

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Andy T

Full Member
Sep 8, 2010
899
27
Stoke on Trent.
I do actually have a spoon knife, so will give that a go. On reflection, it would seem a better fit for the job! Thanks :)

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Don't put the stick inside the spoon knife, keep it on the outside.
Looking from above it should be something like this.
O(
sorry best i could do ive made alot of staffs and this is the easiest way ive found.
 

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