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Earlier this year I picked up a piece of wood (willow) from the side of the canal that looked ideal for a walking stick.I stripped the bark from it,sanded it & moulded the handle with a wire brush attachment on an angle grinder.I then charred some areas with a blowtorch & waxed the whole thing.I was quite pleased with the result.

I've since read that sticks should be 'seasoned' for about a year before being worked on.Also that willow is not recommended for walking sticks/canes and that bark should be left on.I find willow extremely easy to work when wet & looks better stripped.

I've collected loads more & several are in various stages of construction.None have been left to dry for any significant length of time.My daughter wanted one made & painted pink which I've done.

Am I going to experience any problems with these as they age?

Should bark be off or on?
 

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Sticks that have not cured or seasoned are more likely to crack or split as they dry out. If the stick moister level is high the paint or any finish may have issues also. I am not sure what Willows you have in the UK. But you should be able to fine information on the willow in your area. You have a number of stickmakers clubs or guilds in the UK. I would encourage you to visit one of their meetings or shows.These groups are great are great places to learn.
 

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No experience with willow myself but I've seen some lovely examples of peeled willow walking sticks right here. As for seasoning. The stick may have been there for awhile and I've always found the year plus to be more of a guideline. I usually only go a few months if I harvest in late fall or winter. And remember, a found stick is going to have less moisture than one just cut. But on the other hand... We are in near drought conditions in my area so I believe a cut stick in that condition will take a lot less time compared to one in a wet season, but I may be wrong about that. Anyway I'm rambling. Nice sticks!
 

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Hi , have not made a willow shank but I have a couple of length seasoning, see a quote from Prestige Walking Sticks blog

"Willow walking sticks - willow is plentiful especially in wet ground. it produces straight shafts of goof length, but the bark and the wood are characterless and cut walking sticks are "whippy". In a world which seemed to contain an increasing number of disposable items, willow is the equivalent where walking sticks are concerned."

I can appreciate the Whippy part as most willow tend to be on the thin side, the shanks I have cut are about 20 to 25 mm in dia, will let you know when I use them.
 

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I have a couple willow blanks but I haven't worked with them yet. The bark on mine is pretty nondescript. I do believe the whippy aspect from what I've seen with mine. I would recommend a little thicker blank than what you might use for other woods if you're using willow.

If your sticks haven't cracked yet they probably wont. The second picture looks like it could be a spaniel's head with just a little work.

Rodney
 

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I think bark on or off is a stylistic issue. It seems more of the English sticks shown on the forum have bark on, but they tend to be woods that are uncommon here in the States, and the bark itself is quite attractive. Most of the hand made sticks I see around me are almost all bark off, stained, varnished, sometimes painted or w. wood burned designs.

In general, any wood that grows quickly in watery soils tend to be fairly soft, w. long fibrous grain. There are lots of variables. If I like working a particular type of wood, such as sycamore, before I start I jab the stick into the ground, as if I was falling forward. If the stick flexes more than a little, I tend to set it aside.
 
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