Walking Stick Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
One morning last week I went on a stick search - looking for potential cane shanks - and brought home three - tree specie uncertain - but maybe Sugar Maple, for they were laying on the ground near a Sugar Maple tree. However, I have no way to establish if any of them fell from that tree nor how long they had been laying there.

Before bringing limbs/branches/sticks home I almost always give them my own personalized tensile strength test - holding the top, I jab the narrow end into the ground. If it wobbles, shakes, rattles or rolls it doesn't quality and I toss it aside. Canes must be solid.

This stick qualified, so I brought it home, and put it inside my "look at these later" bin in the garage. Early Sunday morning, three days ago right now, the temp fell to single digits . . . and that is key information.

Several other things caught my eye about this stick. A lot of the bark was loose or had rotted and fallen away - good! Bark removal task done? GREAT! And I noticed some very interesting "critter tracks" on the bare spots. Hmmmmm. The next day, I took this stick, plus the other two, to my miter saw to cut it to a usable length and decided 40" would work. (Pic 1)

Last evening I brought it inside to attempt removing the rest of the bark, using my 1/4" wood chisel just by working it under the loose bark. (I had my recliner and lap fully covered with an old blanket.) But first I wanted to capture a close-up - (Pic 2) - of those very intriguing (to me) critter tracks.

Working my way toward the smaller end of the stick is a "union" section where two smaller limbs once lived. Note the before and after pics 3 and 4 - then 5 and 6.

Those markings appear to be almost Oriental - I really wondered what could have made those tracks in the shank of the stick just below the bark. And further, did the critter cause the bark - normally attached to the shank - to die and fall off or did the bark expire (I have such a way with words) because it was laying on the ground for 6-7 years, etc. Again, I have no way of knowing.

Then it happened. I've been doing this stick-cleaning-preserving-fun-stuff for more than three years and this is a first. As I pried up one section of bark with my wood chisel a small insect - approximately the same size as a grain of rice - came crawling out. I'm color blind but I'm guessing it was brown or red - not black or white. <that's a joke!> I SHOULD have taken a picture but had smashed it into the stick before that possibility crossed my mind.

Now this. Had I left that piece laying on the ground, or out beside my garage, those sub-zero temps probably would have slain that little critter. Right?

Further, there may be other little rice/sized/brown/red critters residing there.

Out in the garage.

(In the event you guys did not capture the full implication, I'm not doing any more "rotten bark removal" inside the house. Got that? I kinda like being married.)

If any of you wanna take a stab at identifying the tree specie and/or the little critter, help yourself. I've already told you more than I truly know.

I'll check back later.

Thanx
-neb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I had difficulty uploading the pictures in numerical order so will make another attempt here

Sorry

Added: This is driving me batty.

Will attempt later.

I need more sleep....maybe that will help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
969 Posts
Haven't the faintest idea what might have made the tracks. As far as getting the wood ID, if it is sugar maple, aka rock maple, the heart wood should still be quite hard. I've done both sugar maple sticks and red maple, and the differences was rally large.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I sprayed the large end with just water and using a paper towel washed most of the silt/dirt away. I'm believing that perhaps even paint thinner would work but I want to leave those tracks, if at all possible. In my humble opinion that should result in an outstanding cane.

And I'm beginning to not care very much about the tree nor insect specie.

:cool:

-neb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
I picked up an oak stick with the same sort of tracks. I'm not sure if the bugs infest dead wood or infest live wood and kill the branch in the process. Being this far apart I don't even know if they're the same bug. I think the tracks are in what would be the cambium layer. I know that the material was soft and came off quickly when I started sanding, leaving the intact oak underneath. I'm not sure if you will be able to save the tracks or not. Maybe seal the stick with shellac to harden things up before you start sanding?

On a more practical side: If you have a chest freezer, you can put the stick in there a couple weeks. It should finish any remaining live bugs off.

Rodney
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
497 Posts
The freezer may or may not kill the bugs. They may just go into hibernation. Heat will certainly kill them. If you could create some kind of a small solar kiln out of plastic sheeting . . . . .
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top