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Looks like you have a great find there, think you will find its better to let shanks season naturally with the bark on it will reduce the chances of splitting the wood more. But i never remove the bark from my shanks diffrent approach to amaericans but if it works for you do it .A lot of hard woods are to heavy for hiking poles but may make good walking stics as they do have the strengh in the wood .

The shanks i use are about 1 to 1.2.5`inches in diameter and are usuall y made to armpit height as used for hiking so this does affect the weight and a lot of ladies use them.I have never made a walking stick or cane as you call them .I have found more call for hiking poles and know a lot of ramblers and walkersit also gives me the chance to carve more..

Hazel and blackthornash and chestnut ,ash are most popular here but like most people you use what you have access to just enjoy doing it
 
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