Cutters-20090609_4731, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

The cork oak trunk or branch is cut laterally twice about two or three feet apart and then longditudinally between the two. This is done with a very sharp, small “headsman’s axe” and the cutter has to be careful not to cut the phloem layer beneath the cork that sustains the tree. The handle of the axe is then used to pry the bark away from the tree ….