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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellas, I have a few shanks drying that I am looking forward to trying to turn into sticks, the thing is, they aren't your run of the mill species such as Hazel, Ash, Chestnut etc. I have Birch, Sycamore, Cherry, Hawthorn and Holly. I was wondering if anyone else has tried to use an unusual timber and either it was a great success or a complete failure? I look forward to hearing some of your experiences. Thanks. N.
 

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I haven't used birch yet. But I have used sycamore and cherry. The sycamore can be a little difficult. The grain tends to be twisty, and if the particular piece grew quickly, it may be rather springy. I've used holly in other wood working projects, and would expect it to be excellent. I've not tried hawthorne, but it is a very durable wood, and should make a very strong stick.

So far, I haven't found any kind of wood that is a complete failure, just individual pieces that were too thin or crooked. Sometimes unexpected flaws, like large knots that weaken the shaft. I have used cedar, but have avoided pine because of the chance there might be pitch pockets in the wood that will never dry.

Mainly, the issue is w. carving. Some woods are very hard, ash and hawthorn qualify, and getting them to a shape you like can be difficult. Other species, cedar and yew in my experience, can have long grain that tears out easily. For me, its just a matter of how hard I want to work.
 

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I love black cherry have made several sticks from it and smaller carvings. Have made 1 stick from birch & Santa carvings. Have made several smaller Santa carvings from sycamore also, bark left on makes for unique look.. I have been unable to find any sycamore straight enough over a long enough length to make a stick. Have had no experience with Hawthorn or Holly. Would like to try both.

The 1st pic is a Santa from sycamore and the second is a Santa from river birch. Last 2 pics a are river birch stick. Birch is a bit "chippy" to carve but slow small cuts can get it done with decent results
 

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the finish on the stick is stunning, detail on the trout is great with the water snail.. it was made from one piece of horn ?

lot work very nicely finished

I have only stripped the bark of hawthorn which gave a white colour but love the grain on the holly.

Since getting interested in stick making I am amazed at the quality of work done by people in there sheds and gives some idea of the standards people have achieved .

and looking at people who enter shows it certainly makes you realize the standards you should aim for .

Great piece of work. .So hope to see some of your work at shows during the year
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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THE BEST STICK I HAVE EVER SEEN

I was going to ask Stickie where is his Trout stick.This stick was shown in competition about 10 years ago and I fell in love with it right away. It has been awarded best in show by me and many other stick show judges a real show stopper. When you see these carved rams horn sticks they take so much time to make. The holly shank would take 2-3 days work then maybe a week or more for the horn carving. These carvings are carved out of the horn and not glued on as some people think,Would look nice in my collection. Dave
 

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Great looking stick! I love the snail.

Why do you start with a large diameter holly blank?

I'm guessing i use more unusual species than not when compared to what's available in Britain. I think we all just use what's locally available with some species preferred over others.

Cherry should make a great shank. I've used flowering plum which is quite similar and I have some cherry drying.

Rodney
 

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the more I see of horn on sticks I wonder if I would be able to do the quality items I have seen .Not only does the quality show so well the range of carvings you see are much wider and never a me to product . There seems to be much more effort I the design it makes the work stand out more and shows both the imagination and the artistry of the maker moving beyond whats called craft.
 

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the more I see of horn on sticks I wonder if I would be able to do the quality items I have seen .Not only does the quality show so well the range of carvings you see are much wider and never a me to product . There seems to be much more effort I the design it makes the work stand out more and shows both the imagination and the artistry of the maker moving beyond whats called craft.
don't sell yourself short cobalt. From what I've seen of your work you are miles ahead of where I can only hope to be someday!
 

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I have used Hawthorne and have done it with bark on just dressing the area of the thorns. the stick was topped with a cardigan handle and was made for a friend, unfortunately took no pictures of it.

Thank's to Stickie for his shank progression pic's and also loved the trout'n'Snail stick.
 

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"Why use large diameter Holly"

If you take holly of shank size & strip you will only get a white coloured shank. The idea of using a large diameter is by taking this down to shank size you expose the grain in the heartwood. This also works well on blackthorne
 
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