Sassafras is one of my faves. Smells good when working with it, carves clean, takes oils well with out blotch, and the red inner bark is beautiful as is the heartwood. Aspen makes a great stick as well and I too also enjoy using butternut, beautiful grain when finished in oils.
Whatever I can sneak into a neighbor's yard and get - neighbors that don't have dogs anyway. LOL No, but that is a good question and I've enjoyed seeing the responses. MJC4 was kind enough to alert me to aspen (which is a local species for me) and I'm enjoying a cache of that for this winter. I was able to find a lot of it already dry enough (albeit with splits) to work with right away. It's carvable to an extent, light but strong, and feels good to the hand when sanded and finished. But I'm a newbie too at this point and so far I'm just doing locally resourced, natural-looking sticks.
Like a couple of the others say, I don't think I could pick just one. Kind of depends on which characteristics I'm looking for. For straightness, generally ash or maple. For looks (bark), yellow birch. For looks (wood) apple, cherry, or any kind of burl. For sturdiness, hawthorn or hornbeam. These are just generalities, of course.
Hello, it's been a very long time since I've been here. One of my favorites is diamond willow. However, I think my favorite is Paulownia. It grows straight, it's pretty light weight, very strong and carves pretty well.
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