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Some of my favorite sticks have resulted from the decision to leave some of a dark inner bark that contrasts with the sapwood. I've done this when the contrast is attractive and when those patches of inner bark seem to adhere well to the sapwood.

I'm getting down to the fine sanding on a red cedar stick from my brother's place in east Texas. He and his wife both wanted sticks made from cedar saplings there. I'm now working on his wife's stick. The 1 1/2" to 2" diameter stick cured in my garage for several years.

The inner bark has that characteristic reddish brown cedar color, and of course the sapwood has a yellowish tint. In this instance, most of the inner bark is coming off easily, and in some instances too easily. There is a complete gradation between bark that is stuck fairly well and bark that just flakes off with the touch. Aesthetically, to me the optimal choice would be to remove all the bark that flakes off easily but stop sanding a bit before I get to bark that is really stuck to the sapwood.

I'm really happy with the dozens of sticks that I've finished with (usually three coats of) 100% tung oil. But the last stick that I finished was with WATCO Danish oil, and that turned out nicely too. I don't know enough about the chemistry of these products and how they bond with wood, but I'm guessing that the varnish component of the Danish oil, when it soaks through some inner bark and into the sapwood a bit would be more likely to add some adhesion between the bark and the sapwood. I'm guessing that 100% tung oil may not do that. This is all based on intuition, not on experience, tests and comparisons, or science.

What say you, 100% tung oil, or Danish oil?

Thanks!
 

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I am a big fan of young oil on clear wood. But experience with oil over bark have not been very good. The Danish oil seems to work well on sticks. Sticks with bark or pieces of bark seem to shed that bark quicker. My guess is the straight oil softens the natural adhesion bark to the sapwood.
 

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I have had good luck slathering on several coats of satin urethane. Light 220 sanding between coats to remove anything raised and buffing the final coat down with a brown paper grocery bag or piece of old blue jeans. So far, knock wood, the inner bark left on seems very secure.

On a paper birch Santa piece that I left the flaky bark on I "tightened" it up by taking carpenters glue thinned down with water to about the consistency of milk then painting the glue over the bark. After thoroughly dry I was able to carve Santa on the piece and the bark didn't peel. Finished it with poly and so far its held up great.
 

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I just use Danish oil on all my shanks even the very few I stripped the bark of .and always have been pleased with the finish.

I just use a soft cloth to apply it with and seem to get the best results from applying several thin coats over a period of a couple of weeks.

As I usually paint my toppers I just give these a coat of vanish prior to fitting them and as of yet never done anything else. as the results have always pretty good.

I don't like using a polyurethane finish on the shanks when the coats build up it does give s good finish but after a while of use the shanks get chipped and water ingress occurs and if there not dried it can turn black leaving a unsightly mark which is difficult to remove without a lot of sanding. It also lifts the bark on hazel sometimes again leaving a black mark.

I think applying Danish oil with a brush doesn't seem to work so well as to much oil is applied in one go and takes longer to dry and often seems to leave a sticky film
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm convinced. I was leaning towards Danish oil, especially after my last stick. I'm ready for the first application tomorrow after the epoxy behind the copper ferrule cures.
 

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I even treat all the croquet clubs mallets with Danish oil to protect them treating both the heads and shafts .It bring back some of the qualities of the wood

the woods are African hardwood and American ash .

Apparently American ash has better qualities than English ash having a slightly tighter grain making it slightly stronger?

After all knocking a 1pound croquet ball full length of a croquet lawn needs something strong and they last for years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice looking stick. It will look great with the finish on it. See you have a jawhorse vise. My favoret tool. I use it for in the shop and all kinds of jobs around the house.
Yes, I gambled on the Jawhorse, and it has been well worth the money. I had built some work benches with sticks in mind, and the Jawhorse makes them nearly obsolete, except for deciding which segment of a curvy stick best represents the "axis" of the stick for the purpose of the ferrule and tip. So far, the several dozen sticks I've made have all been finished with tung oil, except for the last with Danish oil. Both bring out the grain and the colors well, and both seem to be easy to touch up without extensive sanding and refinishing. If a stick will be used out in the brush, it's going to be scratched and scuffed, so the friend or family member doesn't need to be looking at a big refinishing job. I save little jars, and generally give the recipient a bit of the oil for touch-up, as well as replacement tips.
 

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My understanding is Danish oil is basically a thin varnish. I like the stuff. It penetrates well. Many Tung oil finishes are similar unless they say 100% Tung oil on them.

Boiled linseed oil is another good choice.

Cobalt is absolutely right about polyurathane. Once it's been cracked open water will get in and stain the wood plus it's not as easy to touch up.

I very rarely if ever use polyurathane for anything anymore. I prefer shellac or traditional varnishes for work that gets a film finish.

Which finish to use depends on the stick. For hiking poles that will see hard use an oil finish is ideal. It will protect the wood and is easy to touch up if needed.

I might choose a film finish for a more formal gentleman's walking stick like what was in style in the Victorian era.

Rodney
 

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I looked into a saw horse never used one , but I have a solid workbench with what you call a vise and its solid takes large pieces and when using a mallet and chisel think there better.

Several of you use flexi tools one of my friends use them for carving ,but most of the blokes at the stickmaking club don't like them as they cant be used with a mallet..It probably depends on yous style of stickmaking also I think there overpriced here. Thats probably due to import taxes etc.
 

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I looked into a saw horse never used one , but I have a solid workbench with what you call a vise and its solid takes large pieces and when using a mallet and chisel think there better.

Several of you use flexi tools one of my friends use them for carving ,but most of the blokes at the stick making club don't like them as they cant be used with a mallet..It probably depends on yous style of stickmaking also I think there overpriced here. Thats probably due to import taxes etc.
The Jaw horse is just so versatile. It will hold about any thing around a house. Cutting or carving logs to planing doors, setting post, . Flex cut Mallet tools were a real disappointment. They did not hold up to the mallet. Their palm tools are good tools and retain a edge well. I use them for many years. But switched to Drake palm tools.When I discovered them. Made by Drake knives in Washington State. But my daughter is still using the flex cuts. My family was always saying they did not know what to get me for Xmas, Birthdays and so on. I gave my wife a list of Drake tools. They were cheaper than a nice shirt. With 4 daughters it I had a nice set in just a few years. And they did not have to worry what to get me. Everyone was happy. But now I am back to socks shirts and ties. All of which are wonderful!!!!
 
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