last updated on : 11.08.2012 - Select Items Listed Your Satisfaction And Value Guaranteed
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Copyright:  Mike Sillett


1. Intro
2. Equipment
3. Procedure

Title photo: A dowel of Common / Great Mullein pith.
A pith dowel from Common / Great Mullein ( Verbascum thapsus ).

3. Procedure

Out in the field cut the stems in lengths that you feel is manageable to get home. However, once home and ready to remove the bark it is much easier to do so with portions of stem around 5 or 6 inches.

photo of a Great Mullein stem being cut to manageable length.
Cutting the stem to an easy to work with length.

Use your pocket knife to get just a small strip starting to separate.
Depending on the thickness of the bark you will be able to learn real fast what width is best to start the separation with.
Put the knife blade right at the pith/bark junction and push down with a little twisting, jerky motion. Once you get a good separation started remove the knife and lift the bark away from the pith slowly allowing it to separate itself from the pith.

After you get the piece of bark to start separating DON'T cut with the knife. Use it only to pry the bark away. AND BE CAREFUL! One slip of the knife and you can have a gash in your holding hand.

photo showing the initial cut into the bark prior to separating it from the pith.
A knife is used to start the bark separation process.

Before you know it - bang - it will peel right off. Then start another strip the same way. Always making sure not to do a real wide strip.
It works easy if the strips being removed remain on the smaller side.

photo showing a narrow strip of bark that has been removed from a portion of mullein stem.
The first bark strip has been peeled from the pith.

You will note that as the bark is peeled away the surface of the pith will be rough appearing. It is because the pith surface mimics the manner of growth like it is under the bark that was peeled.

photo of a mullein pith section with all bark removed.
Although this pith dowel has a rough looking surface, that roughness is all 'pith'.
The pith surface conforms exactly to the undersurface of the bark that was peeled.

Here are 6 lengths of pith. Cutting to length at home and stripping the bark took approximately a half hour.
These 6 will provide me with enough material to make plenty of fishing floats and bass popping bugs.

photo of 6 lengths of mullein pith.
These are all 'pith'.
Just a little fine tuning with sandpaper and they will look good.

Just a little fine tuning with some sandpaper and the pith dowel looks ready to go.

photo of a mullein pith dowel all smoothed down.
Here it is, voilĂ !
It looks like a strong stick but it is all pith.

Stay tuned. I am going to make some waggler style fishing floats this winter and then put them on here when done.

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