Should You Take Bark Off Firewood?


Taking bark off of firewood seems insane, but there’s a small community that choose to debark their wood. That brings up a major question. Why would anybody do all that work if there wasn’t a benefit? With that being said, should you take bark off firewood?

No I don’t recommend removing the bark from firewood that you plan on burning. There are a few benefits to removing bark, but the extra work isn’t worth it. I would only recommend removing bark if the log will be used for decorative purposes.

Why woul anybody bother debarking firewood? Continue reading to find out!

Should You Debark Wood Before Drying?

I would never tell anybody that they need to debark their wood. It’s a lot of work and doesn’t make much sense since you can burn wood with bark on it. Leaving the bark on is more wood that can be burned in the fire.

No I wouldn’t recommend removing the bark from your firewood. There are a few benefits to debarking wood that I’ll get into below, but it’s so much work. It might be a good idea for people with too much time on their hands, but I’d rather buy firewood and remove the bark covered logs than spend days/weeks removing my own bark for the slight benefit.

You’re better off spending that extra time cutting, splitting and stacking more firewood. In my humble opinion, it’s not worth all the extra effort. So why would anybody debark their firewood?

Why Do People Debark Firewood?

Let’s start off by saying, debarking wood is a pain in the butt! While I would never recommend removing the bark from wood there are guys that insist on doing it. Cutting, splitting, and stacking wood is hard enough. I can’t imagine trying to strip the bark off of the 4-6 cords(sometimes more) of wood I go through every winter.

So why would somebody remove bark from their logs. It usually boils down to three simple things. Removing the bark speeds up the seasoning process, improves burning efficiency, and reduces the mess bringing logs inside. They usually take the bark off and use it as light kindling to start their fires.

It Might Be Worth Removing Easy to Grab Bark

I wouldn’t recommend debarking all your wood, but it might be worth pulling off the loose pieces. Whether or not the bark is loose will depend on the tree. Larger logs and older trees might have bark that can be pulled off with your hand. Pull it off, toss it in a pile, and use it as kindling.

Since smaller logs come from young trees, they rarely have bark that’s falling off. You can remove the bark using a curved draw shave tool and Bark Spud, but that takes a lot of work. It’s not worth doing for logs that will go into the fire. Only makes sense for logs used for decorative purposes.

You Rarely Get Bark On Large Logs

Remember that when dealing with large logs there probably won’t be that much bark. None of the interior pieces will have bark and the bark on the outside edges is usually loose. They can get in the way while splitting so grab the loose pieces and toss them off to the side in a pile.

Look at all those pieces of wood in the picture above. There’s a little bark on a few of the edges, but other than that the sides are exposed. You might have to remove the bark from a few pieces, but it won’t be the entire pile.

It Speeds Up Seasoning

Removing the bark from wood will most likely speed up the seasoning process. The outside shell is there to protect the wood and trap moisture. It’s hard to say how much of a difference it will make, but removing the bark will obviously speed up the drying process. Plus you won’t have to worry about stacking wood with the bark up or down.

Honestly, it won’t make that much of a difference in properly stacked and seasoned wood. At the very most it will take a few weeks off the seasoning process. Your time would be better spent splitting and stacking more wood.

Improves Burning Efficiency

This is one of those things that I will leave up to your interpretation. Bark burns faster and hotter than traditional logs so burning it will change the consistency of the fire. Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing depends on your outlook.

A fire that burns hot will run through more wood, but it will put out a lot of heat. Plus the added bark is more fuel to go into the fire. It might be worth removing the bark if you need consistency(like for cooking), but it won’t be that much of a difference in the long run.

Less Of A Mess

Anybody that has a fireplace in their house knows how much of a mess bark can be. I don’t care how careful you are, the bark will fall be littered across your floor by the time you get to the fireplace. It’s caused countless arguments throughout the years between my wife and I. Removing the bark will reduce the mess that comes into the house.

Bark also produces lots of ash since it burns at such a high temperature. This isn’t that big of a deal while it’s attached to logs, but it can make a huge mess if you use it as kindling. It’s basically like lighting cardboard and newspapers on fire. You will have to regularly clean out your fireplace or wood burning stove.

Makes Great Kindling

I would never debark logs solely for kindling, but it’s an excellent firestarter. Bark lights fast and burns really hot. That’s perfect for starting fires when using bigger pieces of wood. You might want a few small pieces of firewood to maintain the fire, but bark is a nice start.

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