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  • Walking Sticks

    To All,
    A friend at work asked today what kind of branch or tree should he use to carve a walking stick from. He has tried to harvest carving material from a ravine near his home with mixed results. He said his best samples came from branches he pull from under water in a breaver damm. He wants to select some small trees in the woods for projects this winter. Please help me come up with an some intelligent answer.
    Ah chip
    PS: We live in central ILL.

  • #2
    Re: Walking Sticks

    I think the real answer is in how the stick is treated after it is harvested. There are those who will disagree with this, but I like to leave the bark on and seel both ends (elmer's glue works good because you can carry the bottle with you to the woods and seal it immediately). Put the sticks in a good warm dry place until next year and then go ahead and carve away. The quick alternative is to cut one stick and carve it green. You are lucky where your at because youll get a good cold winter and can get sticks when the sap is down which helps. As for type of wood anything light and strong should work unless its just for decoration than your choice. My favorite stick was make for a pruning off a plum tree behind the house. A few small cracks and knots add character (a little crooked doesn't hurt either). Anyhow, that's my thoughts for what they're worth.

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    • #3

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      • #4
        Re: Walking Sticks

        I have recently started carving walking sticks and am presently using both diamond willow (dried) and maple (green).
        Both have given me very good results.

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        • #5
          Re: Walking Sticks

          Branches off a large tree do not work as well for walking sticks as does the main trunk of a sapling.

          ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???

          Don't ask me why, that's just the way it is. :P

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          • #6
            Re: Walking Sticks

            I have made sticks from diamond willow, basswood, alder, aspen/poplar, birch, maple, and even oak. I also prefer saplings and get my best results from them. I have peeld and carved both green and seasoned sticks and can say that I prefer to cut the sticks long, peel, and carve them ASAP. The cracks that sometimes develop just give the stick 'character'.

            Good whittlin, Cliff
            http://www.geocities.com/cliffordpar...ffsSticks.html

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            • #7
              Re: Walking Sticks

              I haven't tried stick carving yet but was wondering how thick a sapling are you using? If you peel it and then carve into it how thick should you leave the uncarved core? Don

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              • #8
                Re: Walking Sticks

                I have used diamond willow, aspen,sassafras,hickory, maple and birch. The only one that is hard to carve is hickory.
                I use melted parrafin wax on both ends and stack them for several weeks and then peel the bark off. Then let them dry for several months.
                I have carved walking staffs for Eagle Scouts and Boy Scout leaders. The boys who make Eagle Scout from our Troop gets an Eagle topped walking staff. Some of these have been up to 4 inches in diameter and 5 to 6 foot long.
                Personally I like the diamond willow as it tend to finish prettier than the reat, then sassafras with it reddish out wood going into a yelloeish inter wood. Of course it graws in abundance in the Ozarks around our lake house.

                You will probably find many different ways to prepare, dry and finish the sticks and I believe all to be correct.

                Ken
                Safety first, then enjoy carving! Ken Caney, Ks

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                • #9
                  Re: Walking Sticks

                  I'm doing someting wrong, I haven't been able to carve one that walks yet???

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                  • #10
                    Re: Walking Sticks

                    Tulip Poplar is fairy easy to find, at least in Indiana, so it should be there too. I have had very good experience with the saplings, even if they only cure for a few weeks, they carve well and don't split or check nearly as much as most woods. I do a lot of stick carving using the tulip poplar, and have never had one that was unusable. Along with all the other advice of course
                    I also like carving plum branches from my back fields, they are hard, but look great.

                    Donna
                    Indiana USA&&http://pyrogite.tripod.com

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                    • #11
                      Re: Walking Sticks

                      oops...double posted...
                      Indiana USA&&http://pyrogite.tripod.com

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                      • #12
                        Re: Walking Sticks

                        For a real hard-working walking stick, hickory is hard to beat. Cut down 1-1/2' to 2' saplings in the winter or early spring before the sap rises. I usually season them for at least a year but maybe I am just lazy. I also put a 1' piece of copper tubing on the end to prevent splitting. I like marine grade spar polyeurethane with UV block. I was told by a real veteran walker/hiker that he prefers a staff with a slight bow in it as it flexes and acts like a shock absorber...just personal taste, I guess.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Walking Sticks

                          Whatever wood you decide to use, be sure to leave the bark on it and seal the ends with glue, parrafin or shellac. I've cut quite a bit of osage orange to make selbows and I take off the bark down to the heart wood but, I put two coats of shellac on the bare wood. If you don't coat it or leave the bark on, it wil crack from moisture loss. The ends are especially bad about cracking even when coated, so cut you wood extra long.

                          My vote goes to sassafras. Easy found, fairly strong looks good, easy carved and it even smells good!
                          Take care,&&Butch &&&&I know there's a carving somewhere in all that extra wood!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Walking Sticks

                            OK, it's time for a real newbie style question. I have some sticks for carving. What do you do with the bark? How do you finish the stick at the end? Inquiring minds want to know!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Walking Sticks


                              [quote author=FatEddy link=board=General&num=1035494416&start=0# 8 date=01/10/03 at 08:07:50]
                              I'm doing someting wrong, I haven't been able to carve one that walks yet???
                              [/quote]
                              Don't worry about it! Crawling sticks are still in vogue

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