I just joined the forum today after reading many posts. I live in northeast Georgia in the Appalachjian foothills. I'd like to start a walking stick today (the end of May) -- probably American Hornmbeam, sourwood, or dogwood. Can I cut the stick this time of year, shellac or wood glue the ends, and start the stick after it dries for a week or so in my basement workshop or outside in a covered area? I'd like to start soon but want to avoid the checking/cracking problem. I know these are great woods and very hard, so I'll make a very simple walking stick (no carving, just adjusting the diameter with a drawknife and then smoothing). I've read that a genera rule is a year of drying time per inch of stick diameter, but will I have to wait that long? Or could I start on these woods sooner? If not, can anyone recommend a wood that dries quickly so I could start soon after peeling the bark? I have the fever! Thanks for any advice you can give.