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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 94 year old geologist friend in southern Oklahoma, who no longer goes on geological field trips, but who remains active for his age. His local geological society advises that he would likely use a walking stick. This man has mentored and aided countless students over the years, and led more outstanding field trips than anyone I know.

My brother recently brought me some eastern red cedar from his acreage in east Texas. The vine-impacted base will become the top. I've just begun to sand, and the more I sand the more red heartwood is exposed. I'll post some pics of the early stage of this stick. Unfortunately, it will be a while before I can pick this up again, due to travel and an eye surgery.

Question: I have some dark red granules that are used for inlaying. I'm considering using this in the groove where the vine once resided, and possibly in some of the larger wormholes. What do you think?

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Unless the groove will be in the grip area and uncomfortable to hold I would leave it alone.

I'm not sure about the worm holes. The worms around here tend to be more hungry than artistic.

Do you have any stones from one of his field trips? Might make a nice inlay if you do.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unless the groove will be in the grip area and uncomfortable to hold I would leave it alone.

I'm not sure about the worm holes. The worms around here tend to be more hungry than artistic.

Do you have any stones from one of his field trips? Might make a nice inlay if you do.

Rodney
This gentleman is the only person in southern Oklahoma who has such good relationships with the area ranchers that he can arrange field trip access to some world-class fossil collecting sites. I am the worst fossil collector in the world. Kids will spot a good fossil practically at my feet. However, there is a specific rare trilobite that occurs at a place known as White Mound, and I'm working with the Univ. of Okla. to try to locate a suitable specimen. Another of my senior geologist friends made that recommendation as well. He's the one with the fine turquoise stone embedded on top.

Great idea Rodney. I'm actively pursuing it! Thanks!
 

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When finished that's going to be a good looking stick.
 
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Nice little twist on that one, tend to agree with Rodney I would leave the groove "Au Natural" it's colour and surrounding area will look good when finish applied and polishrd. Is there any possibility that woodworm or eggs are still in the shank, if so it may be worth steamin the shank to kill them off, I believe they cant survive above 45 deg C.
 

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It seems there is a bit of spalting in that stick. Are you sure it is sound enough? I only ask because cedar is marginally strong as it is. Otherwise, I agree with Randy, nice looking stick! I think the inlay might be an idea if it doesn't rub your hand wrong. Maybe top it off with epoxy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This will be the 9th or 10th stick I've made from the eastern red cedar found at my brother's place in east Texas. All have had some degree of spalting, worm holes, and some shrinkage cracks, but the previous sticks for family members have lasted for 3-5 years so far, and still look good.

I just visited Woodcraft and spoke with a gentleman who likes to do inlay work, and of course he wants to sell me product. In any case, I bought some red and some red-brown inlay material, and plan to experiment with it on some scraps to see how it would look. The red-brown is simply a mixture of their bright red and their brown. If the red is too bright and the red-brown is too brown, I'll mix in proportions of more red to attempt to complement the red-brown heartwood. I have some old red cedar scraps to experiment on.

Today another old friend called me and reminded me of a tale I told him. The future recipient of this stick led many geological field trips. On one, Bob and I were discussing our respective wars, and Bob mentioned that when WWII ended, he didn't know it. The reason was that he was assigned to march a platoon of German prisoners back to the Rhine. I said to Bob, "your M-1 had an eight round clip, why didn't the Germans rush you and then escape?" Bob laughed and said they were pretty hungry and just wanted to get to where they could have a warm meal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The insert for the tip went in perfectly with this stick!

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The hole for the trilobite drilled nicely.

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The trilobite set in nicely such that if the stick is dropped on a flat surface it shouldn't break.

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When the epoxy clears, this guy will look nice. The red heartwood ring around the trilobite sets it off nicely.

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Nice looking stick. When you coat it, do you use min wax or formsbys or something like that? Also when you enlay, do you like epoxy or e6000?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nice looking stick. When you coat it, do you use min wax or formsbys or something like that? Also when you enlay, do you like epoxy or e6000?
I just applied a sealer coat of 50/50 mineral spirits and gloss marine spar varnish. I'll probably apply a second sealer coat, since this is soaking in quickly. Then I plan to do three coats of the varnish.

I used the Formsby's decades ago on some projects and liked it. But it's actually not tung oil, and when I started making sticks I wanted to try 100% tung oil, as it would be easy to touch up scuffs. I liked the tung oil, but it's a dull finish. Then I tried Danish oil on a few sticks. It's not as dull as the tung oil but still similar. Then I began to use marine spar varnish, a high quality one from my local paint store. I started with satin, after a few sticks moved to semi-gloss, and finally went to gloss. The sediment in the satin and semi-gloss obscures the natural wood grain and textures somewhat. Currently I'm using the gloss marine spar varnish on sticks.

I'll probably go back to the other finishes, depending on the stick. It's personal preference, of course. The varnish really made the red heartwood and the grain pop. I'll take some photos in a week when this is (hopefully) done. If I don't complete the project by the 12th, I'll be restricted from dusty environments for at least two weeks, which would preclude sanding. I think I have time to apply all the coats with a day or two of curing time.
 

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Great looking stick! That trilobite was the perfect touch. I'm sure your friend will cherish that stick for many years to come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've applied two sealer coats of 50/50 marine spar varnish and mineral spirits. These pics are after one finish coat of the varnish. The second finish coat is now drying. I'm debating whether to apply a third finish coat, as it looks well protected now.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That looks absolutely great!
I'm sure your friend will love it.
Rodney
Thank you Rodney. Fortunately for me, nature's inherent beauty suffices to produce great-looking sticks and other things. This was an immensely enjoyable project.

Vance
 

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That's a nice stick and the Trilobite makes it unique, your friend should be well pleased and proud to take it for a walk, well done
 

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Looks realy nice CAS14. Well done.
 
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