Drying green wood - remove the bark?

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Forum topic by Elizabeth posted 09-16-2011 11:16 PM 25341 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Elizabeth's profile


823 posts in 4481 days

09-16-2011 11:16 PM

I’ve got several chunks of freshly cut maple that I got when someone in town was cutting down their tree. I have about six pieces, 2-3 feet long and ranging from 3 inches to about 10 inches in diameter. I’ve sealed the ends but I am wondering whether it would be better to remove the bark now or after it has dried?

I am also thinking of building a log-resawing jig for my bandsaw and giving resawing a try, and from what I’ve read it’s a good idea to remove the bark before doing that to avoid dirt and grit getting in the blade. I haven’t decided whether to do the resawing now or once it’s dried a while. So I suppose my question really is – when is the best time to remove the bark on a log destined for resawing, and how will it affect drying time?

11 replies so far

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 09-16-2011 11:47 PM

In general I think slower drying is always better because you get less checking, but some woods will discolor if dried too slowly. What’s keeping you from sawing it now? Just a jig? Or not knowing what size to saw it?
I’ve got the same question really – I have 6 really nice 10” cherry logs that are just a bit too heavy to hoist up to the band saw. I’ve left the bark on them. If I could somehow just cut them in half lengthwise…

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View Elizabeth's profile


823 posts in 4481 days

#2 posted 09-16-2011 11:52 PM

Partly the jig, and partly because my bandsaw is slightly disassembled as I have some new Carter guides to put on, but I haven’t got the space to work on that because I’m putting in a dust collection system and the ducting pieces are everywhere while I drill the holes in the ceiling beams…etc etc. Delays within delays… I’m hoping to get somewhere on the ducting this weekend.

I’ve found a nice site with some jig plans on it here:

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 3818 days

#3 posted 09-17-2011 02:00 AM

I forgot to mention – my logs are indoors in a nice dry place. Since yours are pretty small I assume they are indoors too. cr1 is absolutely right. Logs outdoors will get bugs under the bark in a surprisingly short time – especially if they are on the ground.

I’ve looked at plans like that and wondered how useful spending a lot of time on a re-usable jig is. All you want to do is get one flat side – doesn’t even have to be cut through the middle. You could just take a slab off one side. Then use the flat side as a reference. So all you need is way to hold the log steady while you get that first cut to create a reference side. The problem is there’s so much variability in log diameter and length you can spend a lot of time building a jig to allow for that. So I’m thinking single use jig. What ever you do here’s a tip: Your small boards you can just put in the attic. The daytime heat and nighttime cool will “kiln-dry” your boards in about a month!

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View higtron's profile


282 posts in 4014 days

#4 posted 09-17-2011 02:38 AM

MoshupTrail I had the same dillema wanted to cut some logs in half, and than cut them int lumber. What I did was made a sled for my band saw that rode in the miter slot screwed a few screws through the sled from the back side of the sled the screws helped hold the log so it didn’t slide back on the sled, and used a couple wedges to keep the log from rolling. Now I was cutting logs about 4’ long, But if I was going to cut longer logs I would put some kind of infeed outfeed suport. Elizabeth I agree that you should take the bark off.

-- A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3813 days

#5 posted 09-17-2011 02:49 AM

Your logs will saw much better green and without bark.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Elizabeth's profile


823 posts in 4481 days

#6 posted 09-17-2011 02:59 AM

Thanks guys! Sounds like some debarking is in my near future. And Moshup, that’s a great tip about the attic – I’ll try it!

View jlvelasco's profile


2 posts in 3781 days

#7 posted 09-18-2011 03:21 AM

I’ll bite. Which tool is best for debarking? I just orderd the Carter jig, it has a length capability of 27”. I’m new to the re-saw game but i’m game. I just picked up a Rikon 14” used off the Craigs list for 500.00 and am very happy so far. Now to set up the 220 in the garage and we can see how it all works. I also found a 37-350 DL-20 Jointer, any thoughts on this jointer. Sorry to hijack the thread.


View dannyfixit's profile


17 posts in 3972 days

#8 posted 09-18-2011 03:33 AM

Let me go against some of the “grain” here on debarking. My experience has been to not debark and allow the wood to dry slowly. I had some large branches from an old pear tree that I played in when growing up. After my Dad died, the wind broke it badly and it had to come down. Quickly, I salvaged some of the largest branches and cut them as long as I could get them. Being novice back then, I stripped bark from one log. HUGE check (aka cavern) opened up in it within short order. Fortunately, it was the only one I messed up. Being inside a dry garage, they all dried without checking, in spite of the wood being very twisted and stressed.

Since then, I have managed to slice them up into boards ready to be used. The badly checked on I have kept and plan to rout out the gaping crevasse and decorate with something like purpleheart.

-- - Follow your passion...

View MOJOE's profile


571 posts in 4606 days

#9 posted 09-18-2011 04:24 AM

I’ve dried with bark on and off….all logs were placed in the garage for drying. Had decent luck with both approaches. Also, I read somewhere that logs initially cut through the pith will not check much at all, due to some of the internal stresses being relieved….gave it a try and had wonderful results (pith moved a little, but all remaining lumber was great). Lastly, I went back and forth for a long time trying to decide on what jig or sled to build for slabbing up my logs…..ended up building a very simple fence that I clamp to the bandsaw table. To get the initial 2 flat sides, I just screw the log to a slightly oversized piece of 1/2” ply with a miter slot runner….once 2 flats are cut, I adjust my fence for drift and go-to-town.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

View EPJartisan's profile


1123 posts in 4463 days

#10 posted 09-25-2011 09:27 PM

I read each piece of wood for drying. I am a firm believer that each tree.. each board.. requires inspection.
Things I look at:
1) are there bugs.. first and foremost because I keep my wood indoor near lots of other wood. I decided if the piece needs to stay outdoors with insect spray.. or inside without bark.
2) Kind of wood. Dogwood can dry with bark and is easier to remove later.. Oak no so much.. really this is determined by the Cambium layer of the wood species. In oak it turns to a hard glue… Maple is okay either way.
3) Shape of the wood ~ disks get stacked and the bark comes off, logs get rip cut to pith and left to dry, what I can re-saw green bf I do that asap.
4) Size of wood ~ large disks will completely check to uselessness unless cut to relieve stress… Long logs get sliced in half, small chunks just sit around untouched
5) the state of the wood ~ fungus needs to be stabilized asap.. rot needs to be cleaned out asap.. and if there is rot inside.. get the bark of ASAP or the checking will be horrible.

I don;t use most wood I find for almost a year.. longer if possible.. I try to get wood into a usable shape as soon as I can.. and I read each wood for usefulness, also for tension and compression movement. and sort and mark them on date, from where, and figuring notes. ~ e

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Elizabeth's profile


823 posts in 4481 days

#11 posted 09-25-2011 10:06 PM

Thanks EP! This post is really useful and I’m sure I’ll refer to it often.

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