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Folks,

I have access to a fair amount of cedar and am wondering when is the best time to strip the bark. There seems to be multiple opinions on when to do this, specifically as it relates to the "seasoning" of the stick. Forgive me of this is a most basic question, but I am totally new to this.
 

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As you noted there are many opinions. My expearance and choice is to leave the bark until the stick is well seasoned.
 

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It has been my experience that dry bark sands or peels off much easier than green.
 

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Thanks everyone, I'll follow that guidance. Also, I'm up on Ontario, Canada right now and will find some decent sticks to season until I come back next year. The maple here is abundant to say the least!
 

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Hello again Snprdog.

In my very brief experience as a Sticker I've been retaught the old adage, "Patience is a virtue" several times over.

Too often have I returned home after collecting one or several "Prized" specimens and proceeded to strip the bark immediately only to find it had "exploded" from the inside out a day or two later. The best advice I can muster is, if you have any exceptional pieces, either in form or wood type, wait. Work on another piece for the time being and come back to them at a later time.

Best of luck to ya.
 

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It seems to me that not removing the bark allows the stick to dry more slowly. It reduces the danger of having cracks in the end if you additionally cover its ends with a plastic bag or wax. On the other hand it may be a hard job to remove the bark when its dry.

In the end I do believe that there are so many factors: the kind of wood, its state of dryness/wetness, tools you use. Unfortunately I do not have any experiences with cedar at all, the region where I live mostly offers fir, beech, birch and hazel.
 

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Ther are differences of opinion about removing bark ,its the one that works for you is best to use. Some types of woods will split easer than others it depends on the wood and the conditions its stored under.

Birch and beech make good sticks but tend to be on the heavy side.Hazel is the one most favoured by english stick makers ,its light, strong and flexiable.I would think 95% of my sticks are made from it..The advantage of this shank or stick is that you dont need to remove the bark , i never do. .I never cover the ends in wax just let them dry naturally, but i always try to cut them longer than i need so if there is any splitting you can cut it out.

I have approx 100 seasoning in my garage now ,i cut them last march i think and there isnt any sign of them splitting.

Best time to harvest the shanks is when the sap is falling

The bark on hazel has a wide range of colours depending upon the growing conditions ,from a dark brown to a light brown and has interesting patterens and colours mixed in it.

All you need do when you want to use it is a quick clean down with sandpaper just a quick wipe dont sand it back, then give it several coats of oil such as danish oil.

Also holly, chestnut and ash makes good shanks you should be able to find them locally to you to.

As for cedar our american friends have more experiance of that type i have never used it
 

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Snprdog,

I just started making walking sticks this year, too. The closest I have worked to Cedar is Juniper, which is sometimes called cedar. I chose some dead branches (standing deadwood has been kept off the ground, so water and fungi have a very small chance to invade the dead wood) to cut off a living tree. Deadwood is nice to start with, as it has been "seasoning on the tree". My juniper sticks were already shedding their bark naturally, so I finished stripping the bark to make my sticks.

I have gathered quite a few green sticks this spring, those I leave the bark on. I cut them long, then mark the cuts with a 'Sharpie" pen with the species and year. I cut all small branches about 2" (5 cm) from the main branch, and coat all cuts with melted paraffin wax, dipping when I can, a cheap paintbrush when I can't dip. Then I store them to cure. We'll see if this is an effective strategy in another year and a half!

I have stripped Elm and Chokecherry while green, successfully. They strip the outer and middle bark quite easily. Then I have used a knife to "Back scrape" the inner bark completely off of last years ring of growth. This worked very well in early to mid-spring. The core was already dry from winter, and didn't crack or check very much at all. I have found that doing this in late spring and after is not effective, however. Evidently, the trees moisture migrates into the old core as it warms, and takes a long time to dry again, causing the splitting and checking.

I'm still experimenting, but having Fun!
 
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