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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hailing from Colorado Springs...

I've been using a stick I purchased 10 years ago in a souvenir shop on top of Trailridge Road and finally decided to make my own stick. A small grove of aspen saplings popped up overnight in my backyard, so I went out and cut one down, peeled the bark off, and have been working on it for the last month in my spare time. I cut the branches off as close to the trunk as possible and then used a wood rasp and sandpaper to make them flush with the trunk. In addition, I filed/sanded the top to be rounded, somewhat like a broom handle.

What I am wondering is, what will happen if I leave the unsanded parts unsanded? I like the natural look and feel of the wood that has been untouched, but I wonder how tung oil will penetrate it and what sort of contrast I might see between the unsanded and the sanded parts of the stick.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 

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Welcome. Aspens are one of my favorite trees. Tung oil finish has been discussed here before a few times. I've been using tung oil lately on all my sticks and love the finish its leaving. I actually like it better than Danish. Here is a link to a thread that has some info.

http://walkingstickforum.com/topic/1022-tung-oil-question/?hl=tung
 

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I haven't worked w. aspen, but have worked some other poplar. Fast growing trees tend to soak up finishes much more readily that denser slow growth woods. The oil should penetrate both the sanded and unsanded wood. I've used tung mostly on sanded wood, but have also used it over well seasoned bark. In both cases, after several coats, the finish is semi-glossy. As is the case w. many finishes, the oil tends to "pop" the grain figure. When I've used it over bark, the bark ends up looking rougher. I would suppose natural irregularities in in sanded wood to become more pronounced.

Tung does take time to dry, and each successive coat has taken longer in my experience. Typically, I let the sticks dry under bright warm sunlight.
 

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Welcome Athanasius.

I have used oil over bark on maple, cherry and oak with good results, it darkens the piece considerably and makes for a great looking piece..

A word of caution however. From your original post it sounds as though you have been working the stick "green".

You will find most of the users on this site let their sticks dry a minimum of 6 months to a year to allow the wood to dry and shrink. All wood is susceptible to end checking/cracking as the wood dries. I would hate to see you make yourself a beautiful stick then have it crack. I have learned the hard way that you cannot rush the drying process unless you have kiln.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
MJC4,

Thanks for your advice. I'm fairly "green" when it comes to working green wood since most of the wood I've ever worked came from a store. However, I'm curious about the impact of an oil finish on wood that has been drying for about a month. Would not the oil seal in some of the remaining moisture and prevent cracking? Or would sealing in the moisture be detrimental to the stick? Or perhaps does the dried oil allow moisture to escape?
 
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