The goal when making log furniture is to create a work of art by hand crafting each log.
At Mountain Time Chairs, creation of the art form comes from the type of wood used, beetle kill pine, the chosen design used in creating an Adirondack chair form, and the finishing touches of the log in both the peeling method and stain choice.
Here we will review the peeling methods to remove bark and reveal the natural beauty of the wood. underneath. All peeling techniques used by Mountain Time Chairs are applied with a traditional drawknife, allowing the craftsman to create exactly the look they intend.
With any peeling technique first follow these steps to prepare the log.
Don’t forget to wear protective eyewear!
- Secure the log on both sides with a bench clamp, leaving enough diameter above the clamp top so you don’t hit the clamp when peeling over the ends of the log. Remember that if the end will be made into a tenon, you don’t need to peel the last few inches.
- After ensuring your drawknife is sharp, stand alongside the log standing over it enough to get a straight line with the stoke and not be standing in an awkward position…you should be comfortable.
- Start at the far end of the log, with the blade positioned at about a 30 degree angle. A lesser angle will just slip and not remove the bark, but too much will result in too much wood being removed. ‘Draw’ the knife toward you and the nearest point of the log, applying even pressure with both hands.
Applying a “Clean Peel”
A clean peel is peeling off all the bark on the log. If too much or little bark is peeled, you will end up with a chunky looking log, or a log that looks like it has just been scraped. A good clean peel completely removes all the bark, but not the wood underneath.
- Pull using enough downward pressure to get past the bark and into the wood, but not so much to dig into the wood and leave a sort of ‘ditch’ . You want the log to remain as round as possiible.
- After peeling the top section of the log, reset it in the clamps and repeat for the other sections of bark until you have rotated the log completely and your peel is complete.
Applying a “Skip Peel
The skip peel is our trademark peel technique, leaving behind strips of bark to give a unique style. As you peel the bark and small bit of wood underneath, think of how ‘heavy’ you want the peel to be, heavier being small strips of bark left, and lighter being larger patches of bark left behind.
- Using the same draw knife angle and technique as above, choose areas of the log to peel, applying shorter and longer strokes you leave behind different shapes of bark on the log.
- Remember this is ‘Your’ art, so you can choose any pattern you want. Apply peels to larger areas of bark and see the resulting look. Take shorter strokes to leave larger strips of bark, and longer ones to leave smaller strips.
- You will need to experiment and practice your technique. Don’t be frustrated, sometimes you’ll remove too much and end up needing to use the log for firewood in your wood stove! You can always take off more, but you can’t put it back. Start small and you can always fine tune your intended look.
This information is available to you from Mountain Time Chairs. See our video series on “How to Build and Care for