Trail Tools: Bark Peeling Tools

These are the most commonly used Bark Peeling Tools with tips on using them safely and effectively.

by Jim Schmid

January 01, 2004

Spud (Bark Spud/Peeling Spud)

Bark spuds remove bark from green logs that will be used in your trail project, slowing the decay process and giving the wood a longer life. The bark spuds have a 1- to 4-foot-long handle and a dished blade with three cutting edges. All three sides should be sharpened on the top side only. The blade slides between the bark and the wood. The best time of the year for removing bark is in the spring.

Safety tip: Push the cutting edge away from your body and keep hands and feet, as well as other workers, away from the front of the blade.

Draw Knife (Drawknife)

A draw knife is used to strip bark from small-diameter logs or poles for waterbars, turnpikes, and other timber work. Grasp it by both handles and pull the blade along the log toward yourself. A draw knife has handles at a right angle to the blade whereas a bark knife's handles are in line with the blade. Bark knives are meant only for smoothing rough bark-not removing it.

Safety tip: Draw knives are razor sharp, so use caution.

Adze (Carpenter Adze)

An adze is basically an axe with a curved blade that points inward at a right angle to the handle. It is used to finish (hew) beams and logs to form a flat surface-such as the walking surface of a native log bridge. An adze should be kept very sharp and used only for hewing. It should be handled very carefully and contact with the ground avoided. The blade should always be protected with a sheath.

Safety tip: Exercise caution so as not to cut your feet or shins. When standing on the log being hewed, the toe of your front foot should be elevated so that a glancing blow strikes the bottom of the sole of your boot. Only the back of the heel of the front foot should be resting on the log.

 

About the Author

During his career Jim Schmid served as South Carolina’s first State Trails Coordinator as well as working for the US Forest Service as a Trails Manager in AZ, ID, and FL and also had the pleasure of managing the Florida National Scenic Trail. Jim is a collector at heart. Check out his collection of trail quotes, terms, acronyms, sayings and more at jimstrailresources.wordpress.com. In addition to updating his website and writing book reviews for American Trails Jim enjoys traveling around the country riding rail-trails and mtn bike trails.

Contact: jamesfschmid@gmail.com

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