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It's after Labor Day and my daughter along with most kids is back in school. For all practical purposes Summer is over and Fall is here. I've started getting things ready for the rainy season here in western Washington. It's right around the corner, in fact we're running late for our first big rain of Fall.

Stick collecting season is fast approaching and I want to have space for new sticks ready.

I'm going through my sticks from last year, I'm trying to thin out the ones I know I won't use and do some rough prep work on the ones I want to keep so they take up less room in my shop. Thinning out the bad ones is the hardest part. I try to keep everything.

My rough prep includes trimming excess length off the ends of my dried limbs (I still leave them a little long so I can adjust the final size later), trimming the little stubs of limbs that I left when I trimmed them the first time after picking them, and steaming the sticks that need it (Run-on sentence anyone?). I steam my sticks outside so I want to steam and straighten them while I still have good weather. This process thins out a few more - I tend to break some while I'm trying to straighten them. I hate it when I lose one I had high hopes for. I broke a black locust one that I found earlier this week.

It looks like I'll be going into 2019 with plenty of good blanks that are ready and will have a new supply drying for the next year. I think last year at this time I had under 10 good blanks I could use. I'm finally getting to the point where I want to be with my stick inventory.

If you are only making a few sticks for family and friends you don't need many. I do recommend collecting more than you plan on using though. Not only is stick making addictive, picking a few extra lets you pick and choose what you want to work on.

One thing I'm noticing is I need to be more selective on my sticks' sizes. I collected way too many little ones last year. They're good for smaller, more dainty lady's canes but I really don't make a lot of those(some, but not many). Maybe I'll make a go-no go gauge to bring with me so I'll know for sure before I cut. I also collected too many that just aren't going to straighten out enough and don't have enough character to be called rustic. Those ones are getting cut up to fire my grill.
 

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Some handy tips, there, Rodney. I tend to literally use a rule of thumb for shank size. My thumb is an inch wide at the knuckle. If the thick end of a potential shank is the size of my thumb or smaller, I pass on cutting it. I'll get it next year or the year after.

We finally might have broken out of the horrible heat and humidity we've had all summer long. (Long range forecast says low 80s end of next week but no humidity) Might have to venture out into the shop again soon.

Speaking of rustic, had two more sales on Etsy. The hawthorn cane which looked kind of like an antler tine and the really crooked ash cane. I'm thinking I should lean more towards the rustic type since 4 of my 5 sales were that style (and the 5th had a natural looking handle)
 

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Congrats on your sales!

I just don't have much luck finding good root sticks like that.

I'm just about done straightening what I can and tossing the ones that aren't going to work out. I'm learning more with every batch. Some woods are much more cooperative than others. I had some that were either cherry or a plum. I didn't have much success with most of them. I also have some black walnut suckers that don't like to bend either.
 

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Thanks. While collecting blanks last year, I came across another ash which is very similar in shape to the crooked stick.

I think I have good luck in finding the root sticks because of the soil here: there isn't much of it. There is a shallow layer of topsoil over hard blue clay which makes for some interesting shapes. Not to mention a few places where exposed roots are everywhere. I've collected 20+/- of them and they're drying in my garage
 
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