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Author Topic: Using Cork Bark  (Read 402 times)

Offline dwbullock

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Using Cork Bark
« on: May 04, 2021, 02:29:45 PM »
I finally found some cork bark at a local pet store some time ago.  Immediately stuck it on a shelf where I forgot it until this week.  I was going to try to make some cliffs and various hills, as many people have before.

But I'm reading where I need to clean it.  Obviously.  But the interwebz seem to offer 176 different ways to clean it, depending upon whether you want it for terrain, tarantulas, geckos, newts, coasters, handles for your frying pans, etc.

For those who have used cork bark, how did you clean it/sterilize it?  Again, been in my basement for 6+ months, and nothing has started growing.  No critters.  Obviously a good scraping of the inside is planned, but do I boil it, microwave it, freeze it, cook it?  And if I do any of these things, will my wife kill me for putting wood in her otherwise food-friendly kitchen appliances to 'kill bugs?'  Will a simple slathering of PVA glue over top of it seal it enough to avoid having to get into a domestic dispute about the validity of baking cork?

Offline FreakyFenton

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Re: Using Cork Bark
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2021, 02:37:13 PM »
I recently got some offcuts from a hedge, but I would use the same for collected bark out of a forest. Usually I put them on a baking tray, put the oven to 50°Celsius and then put a wooden spoon in the door to avoid it becoming too hot (i.e. stuff burning), that then for a good 20 minutes sometimes, less, sometimes more. Definitely check regularly though.

I hope that helped!

Offline Hu Rhu

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Re: Using Cork Bark
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2021, 04:29:11 PM »
I don't do anything to prepare it except use a spray primer, unless it is very dirty when a stiff brush should do the job.  If you bought it in a pet store you shouldn't need to do anything to it.

Offline OSHIROmodels

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Re: Using Cork Bark
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2021, 05:32:59 PM »
I’ve never bothered and not had a problem.

As mentioned, a good scrub with a brush helps clean them up.

Offline Fitz

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Re: Using Cork Bark
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2021, 08:38:19 PM »
If you put it in a low oven at 80 degrees C or more for an hour or so, that will kill pretty much any organisms lurking in there. The scorching temperature for stuff like bark is fairly high, so you've got quite a bit of leeway.

Offline SotF

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Re: Using Cork Bark
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2021, 02:07:02 AM »
Yeah, I tend to put wood stuff in the oven wrapped in foil and bake it for a while. Works rather well for it.

A lot of the pet store stuff is already sterilized before sale though with a chemical method that you might want to rinse it as well because some of the stuff can cause oddities with some sprays when priming it or sealing it up before painting. Do so before putting it in the oven because of those same chemicals.

Offline dwbullock

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Re: Using Cork Bark
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2021, 01:42:11 PM »
I've taken the plunge and just cut it up as is - if my house is infested with three eyed cork weevils, I'm telling the wife it's all your fault.

Scraped it pretty well first, but figured if it's been in a bag in my basement for over six months, anything that was going to grow would have already grown.

Offline Major_Gilbear

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Re: Using Cork Bark
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2021, 01:57:26 PM »
"Clean" is subjective, as the bark is a natural product, and it depends on where you got it from and what you're going to do with it.

If it's from a pet store, chances are very good that there are no insects or anything dangerous in the bark pieces. However, it's faintly possible that they might over time leak some resin or grow a bit of mould over the long time that they are attached to your models' bases or scenery.

From a modelling perspective, a gentle bake for 20-30 mins in a 80-100C oven on a tray will be enough to dry them out fully, and you should then let them cool somewhere dry (like the airing cupboard) before bagging/boxing them up.

If you find the bark on a walk or in the garden, then I would sterilize it first; drop it in a bowl with a squirt of bleach and a drop of dishwashing detergent, along with a kettle of boiling water. Leave it to soak until the water's cold, and then rinse it off under the tap with a soft brush. Finally, let it dry overnight and then put it in the oven for a short bake as above.

I'd agree from your description that yours is probably fine as-is, but I thought I'd still reply anyway in case it's helpful to somebody else in future. :)


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