How to Remove Bark With a Pressure Washer


A powerful pressure washer can be used to strip the bark from wood in a matter of seconds. Bark is often removed from lumber prior to processing. Strong water streams sever the connection between the wood and the bark, without causing damage to the lumber. Hard and fibrous bark left on logs can increase wear on cutting blades and debris in the wood shop. Pressure washers save time and effort over hand removal of bark.

Things You'll Need

  • Steel splitting wedge or axe head
  • Heavy leather gloves
  • Goggles
  • Set up the pressure washer in an area with good drainage. Pressure washers that operate below 2,000 psi may have difficulty removing some bark. Start the motor to begin pressurizing the water reservoir.

  • Separate the edge of the bark from the wood all the way around one end of the log with a splitting wedge or axe head. Lift the first 2 inches of bark gently, without causing it to break. Leave the tool between the bark and the wood.

  • Adjust the spray nozzle on the pressure washer to a medium-range spray pattern. Slide the tip of the nozzle beside the wedge or axe head and between the bark and the wood. Cover your eyes with a pair of goggles.

  • Grip the edge of the bark with a glove-covered hand. Spray water from the pressure washer into the space beneath the bark as you pull upward. Slide the spraying nozzle forward to continue separating the strip of bark completely.

  • Spread the bark in the adjacent section with the wedge or axe head. Insert the spray nozzle into the gap. Peel away all the remaining strips of bark as you spray.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dry the stripped wood in the sun for an hour or more to evaporate the moisture on the surface.


  • "Handbook of Paper and Wood Packaging Technology: Cartons, Crates and Corrugated Board"; Diana Twede and Susan E.M. Selke; 2004
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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