While planning September’s fence building project last summer, I decided early on to try and use materials cut from the property, and knew I’d need tools to peel logs. I didn’t know exactly what I’d be up against, so I bought an 8-inch drawknife and a short-handled bark spud, thinking what one couldn’t handle the other maybe could.
They were the perfect tools. I got lucky, really, getting one of each, as the drawknife couldn’t get into the flutes of the cedar logs like the bark spud did, and using the spud alone would have been murderously slow. But together, between Skidder and I, we peeled logs like we’d been doing it our whole lives with those two tools. I was very pleased with how they worked out.
Was it hard work? Depends on what you consider to be “hard,” but yes, we worked up a sweat. Was it slow work? Again, it depends on what you compare it to. We caught on pretty quickly and learned how to position the logs against a sturdy picnic table, and let the tools do most of the work instead of our backs. The last couple of rails I peeled went much faster than the first two. We weren’t putting up hundreds of feet of fence, so peeling the logs and rails by hand wasn’t a show-stopper for the limited amount of time we had; I’d say it was neither slow nor fast – just right.
Alene and Bobby got back from their trip to Oklahoma two days before we left, so Alene came out to the shop one morning to watch me finish peeling the last of the rails. By this time I was getting pretty handy with my little drawknife, and thought I was working along at a pretty good clip with very little wasted effort, but I guess that’s all relative, as her only comment was, “You’d think there would be an easier way to do that.”
I just smiled and kept peeling.