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I have always been impressed with the great supplies of shanks of many different woods in the UK. Many go out and cut thier own. But I learned that In the UK many manage growth in the woods doing what they call coppicing, a term I had not heard untile yesterday. It is the cutting back of different wood growths so the will grow back .They use the cuttings for many things but it also makes for a great resorce for walking sticks. Thought some of you would also fined this interesting.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkRuMqVuJDE
 

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I think that given the abundance of mature forests here when European settlers first arrived that coppicing never became common here in the states.

Too many other resources available so there was no need. Building habits changed to fit what was available.

It is something to consider if you're a stickmaker with a bit of land though.

Rodney
 

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At one time, farmers in the Mid-West American states planted hedge rows of Osage-orange, a tough and thorny tree. They would prune them to the extent that the plants would remain multi-branched and dense, thereby keeping animals enclosed. Now, barbed wire and other modern fencing have caused the hedges to be ignored and removed. Pity! Osage-orange is a wonderful plant. Hard, tough, and colorful wood.
 

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that's not good as hedgerows encourage a diverse range of wild life

Farmers here are encouraged to replant hedge rows and some grants are available to do so. not only encourages wild life but it also offes some protection for crops as wind breaks etc.

coppicing is still common here it keeps plants and hedge rows healty and provides plenty of sticks and a useful source for hurdle makers (hurdles is a type of fence made from weaving hazel willow etc) still practised by people
 

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I have revisited where I have cut in previous years and looked at the where I made the cuts and in all cases between 2 and 4 new shoots are growing from the short stump left after cutting thus my cutting is promoting new growth and sustaining the mother stock.
 

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Closest thing you will find here in the US is an area which has been logged and the tree stumps have sprouts coming up from them.

There is a woodlot behind where I live that my late brother and a friend logged a few years ago. I should go check it out soon.
 

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I don't necessarily agree with some of the statements in that article. It does look like their focus is on commercially available species and canes so that may explain some of it.

Maple-even our softer western red maple- doesn't accept oil based stains well at all. Dyes are the way to go with it.

I've made a few sticks with cottonwood. It's strong and stiff along with being light. It's better for hiking sticks than canes though. The only drawback is it dents easily. It's on the soft side.

Birch -at least the birch around here- tends to be on the soft and comparatively weak side in my experience. It's also a lighter wood.

If you use birch for shanks I recommend a thicker shank than usual.

It would be nearly impossible to make a comprehensive list of all available species that make good sticks. A couple of my favorites aren't listed.

Rodney
 

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I nothing of your native species of wood but you surprised me when you say birch is a weak wood so it must be of a different variety , I just came across the article by chance so its always good to her a practical piont of view
 

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Western Red Maple and to a lesser extant white oak are the woods I tend to judge others by. I'd call maple a medium to hard wood. It has a closed (diffuse) grain structure that tends to not accept pigment based stains well. No pores to speak of for the pigment to get caught in.

Compared to maple the birch (here at least) is relatively soft and probably a little less dense. It could very well be that birch grown under different conditions is harder and tougher than what I'm used to.

Alder wasn't mentioned in the article but it has become one of my favorite woods for shanks. The saplings grow pretty straight and it has interesting bark. I don't think it's quite as strong as maple but it's close and works well.

I like maple for handles. It's hard enough to hold up well and there's a huge variety in figure and color plus the figured stuff offers some amazing chatoyance. It's a fun wood. The highly figured stuff does demand good sanding to look it's best. Every little flaw tends to stand out.

I'm beginning to have a good appreciation for ash too when I can get it. It's not nearly as easy for me to get as alder or maple though it is common around here.

Rodney
 

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I've found the same as Rodney to be true regarding birch vs. maple. Amongst the varieties of birch, though, I'd say yellow is sturdier than white. Plus, it has bark which rivals all the pictures I've seen of hazel found in the UK.

For root handle sticks, around here it's hard to beat ash. It might just be the growing conditions on my land: a few inches of leaf litter and soil then a foot of hard clay filled with rocks. The trees' tap roots grow sideways for a while until they get enough of a purchase in the clay to send out other roots. Makes for some really cool handles. Same with maples. Oaks seem to have tougher roots.

The alder around here I would rate just slightly below birch. Lovely bark, as you noted Rodney, but I don't find it as sturdy. And also hard to find a straight piece.
 

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Alder saplings grow like weeds here in disturbed soil like on the edges of logging roads. It's the saplings I like. I don't think I've found any decent alder branches yet.

Our red maple grows a lot of suckers from stumps. The suckers tend to be straight-or at least straight enough to steam straight-but I find the bark to be on the bland side.

Mature maple branches need to be peeled.

Rodney
 

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i must be pretty lucky with a decent supply of shanks only 10 mins away b car

bent shanks are never a problem as long as there's seasoned its easy enough to straighten them

I do get variation in colour of the shanks from brown to a tan colour but wish could get shanks from northeast Scotland and Wales nice markings on them.

But I get what I can and cant complain as hazel is perfect for stick making
 

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Decided to go for a walk through the area my late brother logged a while ago. Like you wrote, Rodney, tons of suckers growing up from the stumps. Maples, oaks, birches, beeches, all sending up shoots. I found a few which will make decent sticks in a couple of years and did some trimming on and around them so they'll look better when the time comes. Came back with 4 blanks (I know, bad time of year to cut but the good time happens to be during hunting season and root sticks could easily be mistaken for deer antlers) 2 yellow birch one maple and one oak.

The yellow birch here runs from slightly yellowish grey to bronze to golden yellow.

Found a few moose maple (aka striped maple) the other day. Interesting bark with grey and green stripes running along the length.
 

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Coppicing is virtually unknown in Australia. Getting decent shanks can be a challenge. I cut some of my sticks from Forest Oak suckers that grow very straight. I have access to a grove on a property in out in the bush. This may soon be gone as an open cut mine is slated for the area. I also have a access to a grove of poplars that make very nice sticks. I experimented with growing hazel out on the reserve behind my house with a view to coppicing. They have been in about 3 years and doing OK - it's a long term project, I know.
 
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