1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Is there a good reason to de-bark wood before burning?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by dave11, Oct 2, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,126
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Silliest thing I've heard of (so far today). If the bark did fall off, I'd pick it up and throw it in the fire - those are free btu's going to waste. Actually, that is usually my October and most of November wood - pieces of bark, chips from around the splitter and scraggly pieces of wood which can't be stacked. If the bark was wet, I'd just burn some other wood. Bark is like a sponge and will soak up water - but just like a sponge, it dries out pretty quick, too.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,746
    Loc:
    Central Sands, Wisconsin
    If there is bark on the tree when I cut it (many I cut don't have bark on them anyway), and if the bark is still on it after sitting in a stack for five years, and even if the bark falls off in my wood box in the house, it still goes right in the stove with all the rest. Don't know if burning bark is right or wrong, and I've never heard of purposely not burning it, but that's how I do it.
  3. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny
    Some of you wish you could've tasted the meat that was cooked over bark this summer. :p
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,643
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I took the bark off of all pieces I could, even using a small pry bar and brushed off each piece before bringing into the garage to stack (about 4-5 cords), for the last two years.
    It takes a lot of time. I did find some little ants under bark. I don't recall much carpenter ant action under the bark, but maybe.
    Again, very tedious. Then you have to do something with the bark.
  5. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    604
    Loc:
    Western PA
    It seems a few folks at least here are doing the same. There seem to be a few definite advantages, such as eliminating most insects, faster drying, and easier lighting. Beyond that, it might lead to less creosote in the chimney. Too bad there's not a quick and easy way to debark the stubborn ones.
  6. Avitare

    Avitare New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Northern Lower Michigan
    new to the forum

    I cut the logs to length in the spring and split months later (next years + wood)

    The bark falls right off (Maple) and the Ash seems to stay put. Years ago I tried burning the dried pile of bark and confirmed the statement of a lot of ash and not much heat.

    be warm
    tc
  7. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,287
    Loc:
    Just South of Portland, OR
    I don't spend much time thinking about bark, much less removing it. Total waste of time.
  8. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,798
    Loc:
    Shelton, WA
    No
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,643
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I'm just doing it 'cause I'm bringing it into the garage and I figure I might find some bugs.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan

    Welcome to the forum tc.

    The bark of ash usually does stay on but once the ash borer gets ahold of it, the bark falls right off. I had a big pile of it last spring after splitting. Seems I'd split a log and the bark just came off without touching it again. Weird, but the insects do lots of damage.
  11. Birdman1

    Birdman1 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    Jersey Shore
    Don't burn bark !!!!!!!

    It's worse than pine, you will go blind, your hair will fall out, but grow on your palms

    and you could have a chimney fire or a chiminea fire if you burn it outside.

    Maybe Fiskars will make a wood debarker (with shin guards )soon and save us from the evil bark.




    I"m gonna go run and hide now :cheese:
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,348
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    You say it in jest but there is some truth to it. It really depends on species and how the wood is stacked/stored. When stacking outdoors I noticed that if it was stacked bark side down that rain often got trapped between the bark and the wood. The wood then can soak up that rain slowing the drying process and creating habitat for insects. Wood stacked bark side up might shield more from the rain if the bark is intact but having no bark is better than loose bark.

    Since I eventually store my wood in a shed the bark is as dry as can be and bark of the Ash tree is not bad. Birch bark, on the other hand, is really bad stuff, particularly the thick stuff on larger rounds. I strip it off since half of it comes off anyway when you split and more of would come away as it dries. Taking it off right away helps the wood dry faster and if Fiskars made a bark peeler I would stand in line to buy one.
  13. Ratman

    Ratman Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    458
    Loc:
    Bedford, NH
    Goal:No bark in the Temple = Naked Wood

    Rules: Remove as much bark from each piece whenever possible.

    PROCESS:
    First handling (buck, split, stack) of wet wood will retain most of the bark.
    Second and possibly final (final = 1 year minimum) handling of the wood should be a process where you use a tool if necessary to remove as much bark as possible.


    BENEFITS:
    Burns cleaner: most ash is created from the bark not the wood itself.

    Dries quicker: most moisture is contained in the bark, which also acts as a barrier, preventing the rest of the wood from drying.

    Less mess: there's no broken-off bark and dirt to clean up!

    More storage: without the bark the quantity of wood provided will be 5% to 7% greater per cord.

    Better kindling: pieces that may break-off are burnable wood, not just bark.
  14. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,156
    Loc:
    N Illinois
    I scrape off every last bit of bark ...... yea right. Seems like a waste of time for my application with a boiler in a shed outside. When bringing wood into the fireplace I bang the pieces together to knock off the loose stuff and make a little less mess in the house. Some woods like box elder alot falls off at the splitter I save a little for kindling sometimes but throw the majority in the burn pile or the compost pile. I tried burning it a few years ago but it just did not seem to produce a whole lot for the effort.
  15. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    565
    Loc:
    Central NJ
    I do not take it off and if it falls off I burn it in my EPA stove no less !
    I must be a rebel :)
  16. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,348
    Loc:
    Bend, OR
    I don't pay any attention to bark. I let the bark fall where it may. Makes a nice ground cover to keep me out of the dirt in my splitting areas. If a split still has bark clinging to it when it's time to go into the stove, then into the stove goes the split, bark and all. It's all fuel. By the time I burn anything, it's about as seasoned as it's ever gonna get in the dry high desert of central Oregon. Rick
  17. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,473
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    Try puttying and sealing all the cracks and checks on the ends and see if you get overnite burns.
  18. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,520
    Loc:
    Virginia
    I'll strip bark during splitting if it looks like it wants to come off, or is already wet underneath. I don't have a woodshed so my outdoor stacks can get wet and I've found bark does hold water longer than bare wood. But if it stays on tioght and doesn't look wet, I leave it on.

    I use a machette to strip it off. Generally I slide it underneath and pop the bark off rather than whacking at it. Works well for me.
  19. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,862
    Loc:
    NNJ
    After I take off the bark, I usually take my random orbit sander and sand off the roughest / uneven areas of the splits. They prevent me from loading my racks and stove most efficiently.
  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,348
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    A sander is too slow. I take off major protrusions with a hatchet. Back when I was using tarps, it saved them from getting chafed and the wood stacks more stable. Ja, they do pack into the stove better too but the irregular shapes are OK for daytime burning.
  21. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny


    Sander is too slow and a hatchet is too caveman.
    Oberve the proper final steps for proper firewood.

    Attached Files:

  22. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,348
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    Back in my youth, I scrounged a lot of culled Birch from the local plywood mill. Same as your pic except they were more than 4 feet long. IMHO that is how all Birch should be processed.

    Where I work we have huge dry debarkers for the chains that feed the mill. It does a really good job of taking off the bark which we burn in our biomass boiler but for home use, the wood has too many slivers for bare hands.
  23. Ratman

    Ratman Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    458
    Loc:
    Bedford, NH
    I like this...
    Good job!
  24. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny
    Nothing like a good "I'm more anal than you" competition but some of you guys are getting hard to beat.
    Kenny Chaos
  25. JoeyD

    JoeyD Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    516
    Loc:
    South Jersey
    I have almost all red oak and the bark can be up to 3/4" thick on some of the bigger rounds. I don't have a woodshed and only top cover, and I'm working on three years ahead so my wood will be exposed to the elements a long time. With red oak bugs seem to like living under the bark so I strip it off with my splitter if it is thick. If it doesn't pop off easily I leave it. The thinner stuff doesn't seem to be a problem.

    Now with all that said I've only been burning one year and might change my ways over time. ;-P
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page