Spuds are a traditional log peeling tool. You can buy them from companies like The Log Home Store, Schroeder Log Home Supply, and Peavey Mfg. Co.. The average price is $40 + shipping. The good news is that you can build your own spuds for as little as $5 each. Building your own homemade bark peeling spud is very easy, and they work just as good if not better than store bought spuds.
Here’s a $40 store bought spud:
You can make your own spuds for as little as $2 each, and if you’re building a log home you’ll want a bunch of spuds on hand. That’s because you can often get fellow Association members to help peel all your logs, provided that you supply the spuds — just like an Amish style barn raising.
Here are some instructions that show several different methods of making inexpensive and effective log peeling spuds:
Materials needed: length of steel pipe, single bit axe head (or leaf spring).
Tools needed: sawzall, welder, torch, hammer, drill.
The metal pipe is going to be your handle. It should be about 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter, just use whichever size feels comfortable in your hand, and between 48″ to 52″ long.
You can use an old volleyball standard, some exhaust pipe, schedule 40 pipe, just about any old pipe will work. Look for pipe at junk stores, garage sales, flea markets, et cetera. Some people use electrical conduit or fence posts (both very cheap), but be careful because welding galvanized metal creates a small amount of toxic fumes which should not be inhaled.
Use the sawz-all to cut about 1/2″ straight into the pipe, approximately 2″ up from the end.
Then make an angled cut from the end of the pipe back toward the first cut.
You’re going to create a sloped ‘tang’ that extends forward from the end of the pipe — with a ‘shoulder’ at the end that will act as a solid stop for the blade to butt up against.
Now get a single bit axe head. Look for these at garage sales, estate sales, junk stores, and flea markets. You want to buy axes with broken handles, because they often cost just a buck or two. An old axe head will make a perfect blade for your bark peeling spud.
Set the axe head on the angled tang that you cut on the end of the pipe. Make sure you like the angle. If it looks good to you, then tack weld it in place. Having a bit of an angle makes peeling easier.
Next fillet weld the axe head to the handle, but don’t weld the very end of the handle.
Once you have done that, heat the curved end of the tang with a torch.
Then hammer the pipe down till it meets the axe head and fillet weld that area.
You are making a bull-nose, so the end of the pipe won’t snag against bark as you peel logs.
Now you have a finished spud. Solid, functional and inexpensive. One of these spuds cost $40, and the other one cost about $5 — both work great.
A variation of the above spud uses an old leaf spring instead of an axe head. You can sometimes find leaf springs for around $5 at a ‘pick and pull’ junk yard, and a single leaf spring can yield blades for up to ten spuds.
To make a leaf spring spud, just cut the end off a single leaf and weld it onto the metal handle. That section of spring will be the blade, instead of an axe head.
Note that the leaf spring might need a bit of sharpening to get a decent knife edge on it. And it’s better to use a truck’s leaf spring rather than a car’s, because truck springs are generally wider and thus work better.
Making spuds with wooden handles is similar to making spuds with metal handles. The difference is that the blade is welded onto a short length of pipe, which is then bolted to a wooden handle.
Post hole digger handles work great for making log peeling spuds. They are usually just the right length, have the holes pre-drilled, don’t taper too much at the end, and match the diameter of 1 1/2″ pipe. A new post hole handle costs about $10, but you can often find used post hole diggers at a flea market for about $5 (which would yield two handles).
If you don’t have a welder you can still make a spud. Just bolt the shortest leaf spring onto a metal handle. You might want to flatten the end of the metal handle before you drill and bolt on the blade (to prevent it from catching on the log as you peel bark).
And that’s all there is to it, you now know several ways to make sturdy, effective and very inexpensive log peeling spuds.