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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found a very nice maple stick this past weekend with a root ball that is pretty punky. I have been reading about stabilized wood lately and thought this may be a good way to harden up the ball for a natural handle. Since I couldn't get the whole stick in a vacuum and there were some holes to fill, I decided to use casting resin. It is about the viscosity of nail polish so I made a "mold" out of paint grade masking tape and poured the resin on top of the ball.

When the resin cures, I will remove the tape and rasp / sand the resin into shape, then polish it. The resin is optically clear so you can see all the grain, color and detail. The first picture is of the resin just poured, the second, after it has sat long enough to de-gas (all the bubbles to rise out of the resin).

I think it is going to turn out real nice.
 

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Sounds a interesting project

you will have to give us a full evaluation of how it turns out .

I have made a lot of moulds In my time as my training was in glass and ceramics .so casting in a lot of materials was used . However I have never used resins but I have seen my friends work he casts models of dogs for firms ,he just makes the master moulds for them and leaves the production runs to them.

I know it can be shaped with rasps etc but it is hard and will soon ruin your rasps, but it can be polished up like glass so it will be interesting to see it finished .

I just hope that you don't find it to heavy for the stick but it dosnt look like you have used much so it may work well and the wood may absorb some so keep us informed as interested in your approach to it as well as the finish
 

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Thanks for the post.

I've been considering using casting resin. In particular for sycamore which often has large rotted chambers under clumps of side twigs. Or in the recent cedar I'm working, where the side branch knots are dry, cracked and crumbly. Was hesitant, because i've never worked w. casting resins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is my first experiment. The product I used is a two part epoxy resin and hardner mixed in equal parts. It is just a little more viscous than a thick nail polish. The instructions say the thinner it is poured, the longer it takes to cure. What was left in the cup was already set up, but is not cured. Curing time is 24 to 32 hours. What was left in the cup was about 1/2" thick, what is on the stick ranges from about 5/16" to about 3/16", and has skinned over, but has not set yet. It is crystal clear.

I think it is going to work out great, and it would be good for burying medallions and such set into sticks too. I had a couple of soft, rotted spots on top of the root ball I wanted to fill and it flows nicely into the shallow/soft spots. It also self levels well. Wherever you want to put it, you will have to figure out how to contain it until it sets. It was not difficult to build up a well for it with the tape and that can be pretty free form.
 

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I have some "curing" questions. You mentioned it taking 24-36 hours - at what temp? Also while curing does it give off an odor?

Would you mind showing/giving the casting resin manufacturer/source?

Am VERY interested in seeing the finished product - in stages, if you don't mind - step-by-step, including when you first remove the paint-grade making tape.

-neb
 

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Neb, the curing time listed in the directions says 24 to 72 hours at the ideal temperature of 75F. I poured it at 3:00 yesterday afternoon and just untaped it this morning; it's set up hard, but not completely cured. It is very low odor so using it in the house is not a problem if you can find a way to keep it positioned and still until it sets up.

I purchased the product from Amazon - picture below. There were many different products to choose from, my choice was semi-random. I chose it because of the final hardness(after complete curing), ease of use and price.

After it has cured, I will shape and polish it.
 

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That's a interesting project. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing it completed.
 

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I like spalted woods but you're right. Punkiness is an issue.

Should be a nice looking stick when you're done.

Rodney
 

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Interested too see how easy the stuff is to polish back up after sanding. I have a couple medallions and a couple National Park quarters I would like to set in a stick have been looking for the right product to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interested too see how easy the stuff is to polish back up after sanding. I have a couple medallions and a couple National Park quarters I would like to set in a stick have been looking for the right product to use.
If you formed your pocket so that the resin was contained within, polishing wouldn't be necessary. I used to do custom paint on bikes and always polished my clear coat. After wet sanding with 1500 grit I would hand polish with rubbing compound for a glass like finish. I'm hoping this will work the same. I hope to have a chance to work on it this weekend. There are some products that are supposed to be self doming but I can't advise on which ones are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Couldn't resist playing with it this morning. Pictures show initial work with the rasp. The brush you see is a file card to clean the rasp with - it has wires amongst the bristles. The debris brushed out easily - I cleaned the rasp each time it became loaded up. After shaping with the rasp I sanded starting with 150, then 320, 500, 1000, 1200 and finally with 1500. Once sanded, I hand polished with some final polishing compound on a rag.

I don't think the resin is completely cured and will polish again in a day or two - maybe after I put a finish on the rest of the stick. Overall, I am very pleased with the results. It was easy to work and I will definitely use this process again. I will post more pictures when it is completely finished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I gotta tell ya guys, this is coming out fanfreakingtastic! One application of tung oil finish and it is looking good. The thing oil had a great effect on the resin - it's almost back to the glass finish of the original pour.
 

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If your happywith the finish its that what counts .

isn't this a expensive way of completing a stick the cost of the resin must be pretty high .However if its what your after then its good and if its the completely natural look your after then you have succeeded. using a spalted wood does need hardening

has it effected the balance of the shank?

I take a different approach if the shank isnt good enougth then you shouldnt use it, and I don't have a problem getting shanks so I do have a advantage there, most of my work goes into the design and making of the topper and prefer a wildlife type topper as it makes it completely individual
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The shank is plenty strong - I put my whole weight on it and it had plenty left to go. It is spalted only to the degree that it has nice coloring. The root end, where it was in the ground was the only punky part and the resin gave the grip a very nice feel. The resin cost is relatively low - under $17 US and I have enough to to do many sticks. I used maybe a half ounce out of 16. The last picture was only with one coat of tung oil finish - more to go.
 

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Just a different style of stick. Mostly I see two styles of stick being used here in my area-the rustic style and the "aluminum walking aid".

The rustic style is by far the most popular of the wooden sticks that I see. I see far less of the traditional wooden crook handle or what I would call city sticks-think "Gentleman's walking stick". I don't think I've ever seen anyone using a thumb stick or a stick with a carved topper like what seems to be popular in Britian. I've never seen anyone using a shepard's crook either.

Hazel and other traditional woods grow here. I'm not sure why they're not more popular with stick makers. I made my first cane with a Hazel shank (bark on) and am very happy with the looks and how nice the wood was to work with.

Rodnogdog that's a great looking stick. I think you could use far less resin to seal and stabilize the grain. It seems like you ended up taking most of it off. The resin does look like it could have some fun uses though.

Wood turners like using spalted wood. Many use super glue or epoxy to strengthen the fibers in the punky areas as opposed to complete stabilization.

Rodney
 

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Have to agree about using a wood hardener/ stabiliser on a spalted wood and the wood does look good .People pay a premium price for spalted wood it does look good as a crook , but its just a different approach

a lot of influence on the style of stickmaking is due to your history and a lot of sticking started out with the hill shepards stuck in the hills during the harsh winters on the moors or hillside farms .so the shepards unable to get anywhere during the winters made crooks and alike .

But America developed in a different way and doesn't have the same history with stickmaking.and developed in a different way mostly with folk art

The staff goes back centuries both as a walking aid and a weapon and for carrying deer and game
 

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I am very suprised that the hazel grown in your area isnt used seems somewhat strange as its the most popular shank here

I also don't understand why people don't carve there toppers as folk art is popular over the pond but people seem to make more effort in sanding the shank and leaving it as it is
 
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