Log Building Tools - Debarking Spuds and Drawknives

| 11/21/2011 1:26:17 PM

This is the beginning of a series discussing tools used in the process of log building.  Of course, a lot of these tools can be used for many other applications, but log building will be the main focus.  I’ll be interspersing these tool articles with others that share with you our restoration project of a 1903 log home and other related log home topics.

Transforming a pile of raw logs covered with bark into material that is ready to scribe, cut and stack can be approached several ways.  Your choice will be based on how much time you have, how you want the end result to look and when the wood was cut.

 Example of a Peavey Brand Debarking Spud or Peeling Spud 

The most common method is to use a debarking or peeling spud and drawknife combination.  A debarking spud is a tool that removes the bulk of the bark by prying it off.  These tools are available in short- or long-handled versions and the blade can be from 2 to 6 inches wide.  The blades can be straight or curved.  The blades on these tools don’t really need to be very sharp, as their main job is to try to get under the bark layer on the log and pry it off.  Spuds work best on non-winter-cut wood.  When logs are cut in the winter, there is no sap flowing so it is generally harder to remove the bark and peel them. 

Although many professional log peelers use only a drawknife and a chainsaw and/or grinder for knots, using the spud before you begin to use the drawknife will save you time and energy in the long run and save sharpening time on your drawknife blade.  Many logs are skidded over rough terrain and this can embed dirt and bits of rock in the bark.  Trying to peel logs like this with only a drawknife will result in, at best, a very dull blade, or at worst, a damaged blade that will be difficult or impossible to repair.

 Example of a drawknife resting on a skip peeled pole 

Jelina Vance
11/21/2011 11:46:36 PM

very good article, great information, looking forward to the next one..thank you

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