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Beech bark container

Beech bark is quite an unusual choice of bark to work with; and probably not the best material in terms of durability. This article details an experimental container I made many years ago just for fun. As you will see it's not exactly primitive with the use of wood glue etc. but nether the less it was a nice object when done.

I was walking through the woods and came across a fallen branch from a Beech Tree. It had been there some time and had dried out. The bark had come away from the wood in curved sheets The bark is hard and fairly strong like board when dry.

Cutting the bark...

The bark can be cut easily with a saw across the grain.


To cut it length ways I find that scoring it repeatedly all the way through works well. The bark is a little too brittle to saw along the grain.
You can always test your cutting methods on some spare bark. I also found that it was really easy to drill neat holes just with the tip of a knife.


To start select a piece of bark with a good curve in it (like a gutter) Then cut this into a length from which you can make the sides of the container.

You can lightly shave off the outer dark bark with your knife to reveal the orangey blown inner bark.


The prepared bark blank ready for the next step


Cut two side pieces of an equal length. Then glue them together with strong wood glue like so:

(It would have been nice to use some kind of primitive glue such as Spruce or Pine resin, although this was just going to be an item for use in the home, as you will see in the further stages; this is not exactly a primitive project...)

I used masking tape to hold the sides tightly together.


Once the glue is fully dry you can make the base and lid.

Start by carving a plank of wood (I used Ash wood)
Draw round the Base of the container onto the plank of wood Cut the shape out and sand to the exact size
do the same for the top part of the lid.


To make the part of the lid which inserts into the container you will need to do the same again but draw around the inside of the container. This part needs to be a snug fit (not too loose and not so big that it will split the container)



Glue the two parts of the lid together      


Stick the base on and leave the whole thing to dry.

You can oil the bark and wood to bring out the colour and grain. I just used veg oil, mineral oil is best.

And there you have it!

Smaller versions could be made for match boxes and all kinds of possible uses.

Have fun!