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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It;s really nothing new for me but I haven't posted any sticks here for a while so I thought I'd share this one.

I do like how the colors turned out.

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The handle is western red maple with holly, bubinga and pacific madrone for spacers. The shank is alder with a really rough, almost prickly texture.

Here's a fun one. The last picture shows a wound in the bark. The wound happened before the stick was harvested by me but it didn't have a chance to grow over before I cut the stick. I don't mind grown over wounds, I actually like them. This one isn't grown over though.

Because I didn't cause the damage I decided to call it character and use the stick. If I had caused it, I probably wouldn't have used it.

Flaw or character? Where do you draw the line?
 

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Great job. The stick looks very nice. As a newbie to stick making, i hope to make such sticks someday. I personally would not consider the wound a flaw but character. As long as the wound does not compromise the integrity of the finished product who is to say this stick i better or worse then anyother? Its all a matter of personal taste and opinion.
 

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Great work Rodney. As far as the look of the wound on the shank, I like the look, it's personal preference. I am not big on sticks that are too "clean". As most of what I make are hiking staffs with carved wood spirits, animals or birds I like sticks with a few knots or other "imperfections". That type of stick has a natural/ woodsy look and feel.
 

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Nice stick Rodney! That maple handle has some great grain in it. The alder shank is quite a color departure from the deep reds and oranges your sticks usually have. When I was out collecting last fall I came across an alder with a deep green hue to it. A bit small but I remember where it is.

As for flaw or character, I tend to agree with you. If it's something I did (and can't fix with some touch up coloring) I'll ditch it. If it was that way when I found it, I'll consider whether or not it adds to the overall look of the stick. I have a few somewhere which have over-grown scars from where bucks rubbed the tree to shed their velvet in the fall. With one, I drilled holes up either side and threaded a boot lace up it. Kind of made it look like the stick was bursting open and the lace was holding it together. Like a size 6 corset on a size 10 lady.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys. The wound was right on the border of being acceptable for me. My wife and daughter both think it's fine. I prefer wounds to be grown over.

My alder sticks when I pick them are green. The bark changes color as the stick dries out. The finished color and texture tends to be a surprise.The maple suckers I use are either red or green when they're fresh and dry to red. Hazel and ash don't seem to change much. Vine maple starts out either orange or a vivid green depending on how much sun it gets and dries to a golden orange color.

The color changes do make things more interesting. What you see when you pick them isn't always what you get when the stick dries out.
 

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That's interesting. I've never really noticed much by way of color change. The cambium goes from green to brown/red, of course, but not so much on the outer bark. Depending on the species, I notice a dulling of the surface as it dries, but not color change. It could be where they were growing, I suppose. The potential alder shanks I mentioned were in some fairly thick woods and were suckers off a reddish main trunk which had begun to lean quite severely. Do you find the bark on your alder shanks develop a rippled texture as they dry? I've only done a few bits of alder and seems like the bark dries to have a texture like corduroy or a rippled potato chip. The dogwood shanks I have did the same thing. Maybe it was the time of year I cut them and they were really juicy.

Of course, I think I go for slightly larger shanks than you. Most of the maple I go for has already developed its grey bark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I wonder if we're talking about two different species of alder. Our alder has a greyish, smooth bark on mature trees.

The alder does get a bit wrinkly looking at times when it dries. The texture is as variable as the colors. I haven't found anything here that matches the variability of British hazel though.
 

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Could be, since we're on opposite sides of the country. The alders here don't really become trees as such. More of a very large shrub, if anything. Biggest one I've ever seen was maybe 4 inches diameter. The bark sounds about the same, though.

I found one growing in the former hayfield where the gf and I live. I thought it was something different so I dug it up. It has the most amazing bright red foliage, especially on new growth. I thought maybe it was from a seed a passing bird might have dropped after eating berries from some sort of ornamental plant. But it was just an alder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ours are commercially harvested when they're mature. I just looked it up. Alnus Rubra is the commercial alder here in WA. We also have mountain alder. It grows on rocky slopes at higher elevations and doesn't get big.
 
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