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I am always on the look out for stick making materials. Remember awhile back I found the 1 1/8" and 1 1/4" dia. X 3' red oak dowels at the big box lumber yards to use as cane shanks, well I've found another one. Same big box store has 1 1/4" X 6' or 8' wooden closet poles. The 6' goes for $5 and the 8' I think were $7. I believe they are poplar. U have to roll them on the floor to check for straightness but for the most part they are good. No bark removal and a minimum of sanding required before stain or paints. I found them at Menards. I suppose Home Depot or Lowes would carry them as well.,
 

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I always keep my eyes open for similar things. The biggest and strongest pre-made I've found are hickory arms for post hole diggers. Rather expensive. I've seen a few straight hickory shafts for sledgehammers.

A few months back I noticed the the Habitat for Humanity "Re-Store" shops around me always have stair ballusters. Often there are plain square or round cross sections. One batch I looked at a few days ago were rectangular cross section pieces of oak. Usually really cheap, .25 - .50 apiece. The big downside is that they are rarely longer than 36", and would need a handle extension for most adult males. There are also all manner of odds and ends of lumber. Noticed a bin of those "doll heads" norson uses.

If any off you have some of those places near you, stop by every now and again. It is very much a mixed bag, depends a lot on whatever happened to be donated. They may have everything from antique pianos, to restaurant grade wall mountable microwave ovens, to shelves full of industrial cleaners, to racks full of brand new blinds that unfortunately have no mounting brackets.
 

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I often look out for oddments that I think would make a good topper, junk shops are ideal for it.

over here the types of wood available are different and most stickmakers don't remove the bark but use it to enhance the stick.

blackthorn and hazel are very popular because the bark dosnt come of the shank easily ,but would remove it on something like hawthorn.

The problem with using a manufactured large size dowel it that its not tapered and it needs a slight taper on it to enhance its appearance and a natural shank will have a taper on it.

the bark on hazel varies in colour tremendously depend on its growing conditions and climate same probably occurs with your natural woods .You can get anything from a crackle glazed look /pinkish tints to a rich chocolate brown all look great when oiled .

The ones I harvest are pretty common and most of the area are the same much prefer hazel that grown in Wales with its pinkish tint and those grown on the west coast of Scotland with the crackle glaze look to them.

but like most stickmakers I am a scavenger and would consider most woods
 

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Appreciated that this is an old thread but being new to the game and wanting to make a few sticks for a friend I'm intending to recycle a common, in the UK, household item - the wooden curtain pole! I have one about 22mm and one about 28mm, one will make a cane and the other a staff for a friend's father and both will give me good practice in carving toppers.

Waste not want not as they used to say.
 

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The curtain poles will probably be pine its not a great material for stick making ,Wouldn't recommend them for walking sticks A natural tapered stick makes amuch nicer shank

You would be better of gettig one of the shanks normally used in stickmaking., such as hazel , ash . There will be a stick making club somewhere around you. I would ask there for a supplier .There are plenty of suppliers for any material needed for stick making in the UK.
 

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I'm with cobalt. A shank looks better with a taper. Also, if you are using dowel stock make sure the grain runs continuously from one end to the other. If it runs out the sides it's more likely to break.

Rodney
 

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Thanks for the heads up. At the moment they are covered in either painted or stained finishes so they need a bit of investigating.

I take it then that pine is not recommended for making handles from such as a cardigan pattern, even if the grain runs the length of the handle?
 
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