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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Found a website by a guy who makes bows and sells staves for making bows. The link is shown, and a few of his comments that may be applicable to working the wood for a walking stick or a slingshot.

http://www.osagestaves.com/

There are many good books on making bows and we recommend you please read what you can before you work the Osage Orange.Al Herrin's book "CHEROKEE BOWS AND ARROWS" is one of the best.Jim Hamm,Dean Torges,and Paul Comstock are other authors of great books of archery.

...WARNING!...WARNING!...WARNING!...WARNING!...

The Osage is a wood that tests the patience of your character.It is the King of bow woods and it knows it.If you have made Bows before but not from Osage Orange this will be a new experience...THIS WOOD CAN TEST YOUR SKILLS AND THE SKILLS YOU THINK YOU HAVE!...There is no guarantee that you will be successful on your first try with the Osage Orange.Many have had more than one attempt to get the Osage Bow built to their liking.It is a very hard wood and can also be hard to work.

Osage Orange loves to grow twisted,crooked,and full of limbs.Finding good quality Bow Staves is very diffucult.Getting a straight Stave,excellent growth ring pattern and few limb knots is very time consuming and even then getting all three wood issues at the same time is rare.All of our Osage Staves are carefully selected as best we can to help provide you good wood.We try to match the Osage Stave to you by asking many questions about your Bowmaking experience.We want you to have a pleasant Bowmaking experience.

But once you master it and become one with the wood you have then reached one of the highest levels of bow making.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
HOWEVER - these are staves that have been cut, and you would have to turn them. Sorry, I didn't think of that immediately!

Found a website by a guy who makes bows and sells staves for making bows. The link is shown, and a few of his comments that may be applicable to working the wood for a walking stick or a slingshot.

http://www.osagestaves.com/

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A coworker says she might have some on her place. She just called her son-in-law who lives across the road and he said he thought so. He's going to look for one I can cut on, if I'll make him a slingshot. Pretty good deal, I'd say. He was joking, but I will make him one. Now, if I can just get a good fork for a slingshot and a good straight limb for a walking stick! Fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Found a website by a guy who makes bows and sells staves for making bows. The link is shown, and a few of his comments that may be applicable to working the wood for a walking stick or a slingshot. http://www.osagestaves.com/]http://www.osagestaves.com/
I called the guy. These staves that are made for bows are around $200.

He seemed very knowledgable, a 68 year old guy with years of experience. He said that Bois D'arc branches will shrink by inches and most often split a lot as they dry and shrink. He recommends letting them dry for a couple of years. I hope I have that long.

I think I will find a local source of fence posts and see if they carry Bois D'arc or Locust.
 

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Interesting! I didn't know that you had to dry them for that long. I'll bet that if you had a long vacuum chamber you could pull enough stabilizer into it to keep it from shrinking too much.
 

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Typically, the rule of thumb is 1 year of drying time for 1 inch of wood thickness. I think Osage Orange must be unique regarding that. Strange, since it is such a hard wood....
 

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Man, I have hundreds of those monsters on my property. They will kill both you and your chainsaw if you try to cut down a big one. I had to cut one about 2 feet in diameter at the trunk when the power company came to run electricity to my home. It took 3 days and 4 chainsaw blades to cut up and pile it away from the right of way. I looked like I had fought with a bobcat after I was through.

I love the wood though. Its hard and dense so it carves well. Finishes out nicely too. I have made some wood spirit walking sticks from it in the past by carving the face through the sapwood into the yellow heartwood. Makes for some interesting features. I recently made a cedar cane with osage orange spacers and endcaps. It really was a nice contrast to the colors. There are a couple of photos of this one in my gallery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just found a website for a Yates Center, Kansas company that sells bois d'arc fence posts.

http://www.smithpostyard1989.com/index/history

My concern is that as I recall from 50 yrars ago a lot of those very hard and durable posts had big cracks. I emailed them to ask whether I could hand pick 20 or so posts.

============================================================================================
We specialize in providing the agricultural community with hedge corral post, rail fences, barn poles, horse fence, farm fence, buffalo fence, game fence, elk fence, gate post, grape vineyard post, and stockades. Barbed wire fence is our biggest seller.

Hedge Post & Poles

Hedge is a type of tree also called (bodark) or (Osage Orange). The early settlers originally planted rows of Hedge tress close together every 40 to 80 acres for property line markers and for the use as a natural fence. The hedge tree is cut into post that are not treated or peeled so they have the bark on them. As the hedge wood ages it gets harder for natural longevity from rotting. Hedge wood is durable in all types of soil; even the wettest of soils will not cause rotting for generations to come.

HEDGE POST SIZES - Other sizes can be ordered!
Diameter Length
1 ½ to 6 inch 6 ½ Foot
3 to 12 inch 7 Foot
3 to 12 inch 8 Foot
3 to 12 inch 9 Foot
4 to 12 inch 10 Foot
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I finally reached Mr. Smith by telephone. The number on his website is his home phone. His son runs the "post yard" when he isn't in class (he is attending college).

It is a three hour drive, each way. Mr. Smith will sell me posts for a couple of bucks each, so my fuel will cost far more than the posts.

It will be worth the trip to see whether I can find bois d'arc posts that aren't as cracked as I remember them being as a kid. I am usually lucky, so I could hit the jackpot with sticks for kids, grandkids, and a few old Marines.
 

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I finally reached Mr. Smith by telephone. The number on his website is his home phone. His son runs the "post yard" when he isn't in class (he is attending college).
It is a three hour drive, each way. Mr. Smith will sell me posts for a couple of bucks each, so my fuel will cost far more than the posts.
It will be worth the trip to see whether I can find bois d'arc posts that aren't as cracked as I remember them being as a kid. I am usually lucky, so I could hit the jackpot with sticks for kids, grandkids, and a few old Marines.
CAS...did you ever make the trip? Yates Center would probably be a couple of hrs away for me. I remember cutting & burning hedge apple as a young man. Did he say how long some of his wood has been cut? It might be worth it to save all the hard work of cutting it and it sure would be a bonus not to have to let it dry a couple of yrs! What would you look for to find the oldest cut lots of wood?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No, work, grandkids, and family weekends have kept me from what amounts to an overnight trip.

Every Bois D'Arc post I ever had as a kid was thoroughly dried, cracked some, but hard as a rock.

I still want to go but don't know when.
 

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No, work, grandkids, and family weekends have kept me from what amounts to an overnight trip.
Every Bois D'Arc post I ever had as a kid was thoroughly dried, cracked some, but hard as a rock.
I still want to go but don't know when.
CAS, since you found the listing and if you don't object, I may call and try and make a run in the next couple of wks. I may have a long weekend over July 4th.

I get to Tulsa from time to time on the job. Would love to offer to buy you a coffee sometime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
CAS, since you found the listing and if you don't object, I may call and try and make a run in the next couple of wks. I may have a long weekend over July 4th.
I get to Tulsa from time to time on the job. Would love to offer to buy you a coffee sometime.
That would be a huge favor to me, as your eyes would either save me an unnecessary road trip, or confirm the source. The father answers the (home) phone. He said his son manages the post yard when he is not in class (college kid). Sounds like a part time, small operation, visits by appointment more or less.

If ever you visit Tulsa, don't hesitate to call. I'd enjoy visiting over coffee.
 

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CAS, since you found the listing and if you don't object, I may call and try and make a run in the next couple of wks. I may have a long weekend over July 4th.
I get to Tulsa from time to time on the job. Would love to offer to buy you a coffee sometime.
That would be a huge favor to me, as your eyes would either save me an unnecessary road trip, or confirm the source. The father answers the (home) phone. He said his son manages the post yard when he is not in class (college kid). Sounds like a part time, small operation, visits by appointment more or less.
If ever you visit Tulsa, don't hesitate to call. I'd enjoy visiting over coffee.
Thanks CAS! This short work week has turned out to be busier than I thought so I won't have the time on Friday as I first thought. I've kept the link to his website and I will try to combine it with a trip to Wichita soon. I'm sure we all would be most interested in the 1-1/2 to 6" dia x 6-1/2' lengths category?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
CAS -- ever make any progress on this project?
Some. I didn't go to the post yard in Kansas. I paid way to much for a kiln-dried Osage stave from an outfit that sells them to bow makers for $200. They sold me a less than perfect stave for $75 plus shipping to Tulsa. It's plenty good for a good stick.

I've been sidetracked on several projects. One, making a cane for the husband of a co-worker who is going to have first one foot and then the other operated on. Another, for a 1st ANGLICO Marine who wants a hiking stick, and who has had several rounds of radiation and chemo for pancreatic cancer. I'm not good enough, and I'm not interested in selling sticks, but this Marine kept offering to buy one. Then I found out from a Marine who served with him about the cancer, and so I feel I must complete this on an oak stick I found with some vine things on it.

So, the Bois D'Arc / Osage Orange stave..............

I've taken a draw knife to it some. The wood is still reddish brown and orange. It has not yet grayed and hardened like a rock. The grain is very coarse, and so I can remove a lot quickly, however I will have to be very cautious once the diameter gets down. The knots split out badly. The stave is probably a quarter of a post that was split, either before or after the kiln drying. And so it has three angular edges separating two flat sides and one curved side (the exterior). I think I can get back onto this in a few weeks, although I have some travel planned soon.

I'm not planning to be aggressive on this once the size is close to what I want. Probably the orbital sander with 40 grit pads will have to take it down to near final dimensions. I'm just very surprised at how different the appearance is, in terms of color and grain, as compared to the old Bois D'Arc posts that we used to use for building fence.
 
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