Tree bark is like human skin in that it forms a protective layer for the tree. It is the outermost layer of the tree's roots and stems and it generally consists of inner and outer bark. The inner bark is the living part of the bark and helps sap move from the leaves throughout the tree. If you wish to remove the bark of your tree, only remove the outer bark, and use the proper tools so that you don't damage the tree. According to the National Trails Training Partnership, spring is the best time to remove bark from a tree.
A bark spud is specifically designed to remove a tree's bark and is characterized by a deep scoop blade that looks similar to an ice cream scoop. It has three cutting sides that get under the bark and remove it by carefully sliding the blade between the wood and the bark. According to the National Trails Training Partnership website, the handle of the tool is usually wooden and between 1 and 4 feet long. This website recommends that you keep your hands, feet and other people away from the cutting blade.
A wood chisel has a rectangular blade that is flat on the bottom and beveled on the back. Generally, the blade of this tool is slightly sharp so that it can dig into the wood. You position the chisel between the wood and the tree and slightly push down, angling towards the exterior of the tree. Avoid chiseling into the tree. While you can do this by hand, a mallet makes the work easier. The handles of chisels are either wood or coated metal.
A mallet is like a hammer except that the head is usually round or square and fatter. Use a soft-faced carpenter's mallet along with a chisel to break the bark off the tree. Hold the chisel in one hand with the head sandwiched between a piece of bark and the tree. Lightly hammer the head of the mallet on the rear of the handle. Only remove small chunks of bark at a time.
A draw knife has two handles slightly angled outwards and a long, serrated blade in the middle. According to the National Trails Training Partnership, it is for stripping bark off poles and logs. Grasp the tool with both hands and pull it downwards for an upright tree or towards you for a tree on the ground.