Bark Walls - Harvesting Poplar Bark

Medium
It is getting closer to the only time of year that you can successfully harvest Poplar Bark(Mid May - end of June, here in Maine). I took a few pics of the process last year and thought I would share. The bark can be worth more then the lumber if you can locate an outlet for it in your area. Poplar bark can be used for paneling, siding, shingles etc etc. To see more of our Treehouses go to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/timberstoneadventures
This Must be done in the Spring. Mid May - the end of June is the best time here in Maine.
As you can see the entire bark will come free from the tree - larger trees like this one, will produce panels in excess of 5' in length when opened up.
The tree is scribed lengthwise with a chainsaw - only through the bark to ensure that you can still mill the log. Here I am using a regular flat pry bar (that's slightly curved) to separate the bark - moving up and down the piece as I go. They do sell specific tools for this job if you prefer. If you catch it at just the right time - the bark will almost fall off by itself.
This pic demonstrates that you can do the entire tree length - without cutting the tree to lengths beforehand. I have found that removing the bark in lengths less then 8 feet are not to difficult (shorter the better/easier though).
1. Have a pallet (or similar) ready, as well as several concrete blocks and spare boards or pieces of plywood. You will have to place each piece on pallets, then plywood/boards, then the concrete blocks to weigh them down, before the next sheet is place on top of that - and the process is repeated.
2. If you have a use for them in your own project - you must immediately attach them to your walls - literally right after they come off the tree. In 30 mins time the membrane/skin on the inside of the bark will dry out - and make it nearly impossible to apply, as it gets very stiff, very fast. Also, they will shrink as they dry overtime(about 2 weeks time if inside) - this will reveal some vertical separations in the panels as well. There is plywood - painted black -behind the panels in the following pics. The painted black plywood will hide the cracks/separations as it dries out. And finally, I should mention that this is not easy and requires atleast 2 people - I fastened it to the walls with grey screws (lots of them!). If you buy the right colored screws, they blend in a way not to be seen.
To see more of our Treehouses go to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/timberstoneadventures
To see more of our Treehouses go to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/timberstoneadventures
To see more of our Treehouses go to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/timberstoneadventures
To see more of our Treehouses go to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/timberstoneadventures
To see more of our Treehouses go to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/timberstoneadventures
To see more of our Treehouses go to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/timberstoneadventures
To see more of our Treehouses go to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/timberstoneadventures

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Jeri Walker Jeri Walker on Feb 22, 2016
    What kind of trees are these? Maybe I missed you posting it. Great job and I never knew you could remove the bark like that. Love it

  • Mary Hill Mary Hill on Feb 22, 2016
    It look fantastic but how do you keep it clean?

  • Pamela Thompson Pamela Thompson on Mar 29, 2016
    What about bugs on the bark? Is there any thing you can use to be sure you are killing the bugs without hurting the bark?

Comments

Join the conversation

2 of 39 comments
Next