Technique 3

wet shell cortex stripping


One of four documented methods for bark removal, in Fiji and Tonga the outer bark (cortex) was scraped off the pre-soaked bast (inner bark, secondary phloem) with the same bivalve shell used to strip the whole bark from the woody trunk. Veys notes that this has been recently replaced in Tonga with a dry pulling method similar to that used in Eastern Polynesia. The moistness of the bark is an important factor in preparing the trees: A drier whole bark strips more easily from the sticks, while a moister bast is easier to separate from the outer bark. Several early sources emphasise that, once a stick was cut, its outer bark should be removed within 24 hours.


  • Veys, F.W. (2017: 35). Unwrapping Tongan barkcloth: encounters, creativity and female agency. London, New York: Bloomsbury



Entry created on 28 August 2020