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What do you prefer to finish your sticks with and why?

  • varnish

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • teak oil

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • other (please specify in your reply)

    Votes: 2 66.7%
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Any wood and even some non-woods (the woody stalks of some plants like yucca come to mind) can be used but I definitely prefer hardwoods. The woods you use are going to vary by your region and what you have available. Around here I use alder, maple, oak, hazel and holly among others. Alder and maple are probably the most easily available.

I use saplings and limbs for my shanks. There's been many good sticks made starting with boards too. I prefer sticks because with them you're assured the grain (growth rings) run from top to bottom and they're already round. I also like the natural character of sticks and mostly like varieties where I can leave the bark on them. Another advantage with sticks is I get them for free other than time and gas spent harvesting them. The disadvantage of sticks is they're green. They need to be seasoned for about a year before I can use them.

With lumber look for clear, straight stock with the grain running from end to end for maximum strength.

I prefer natural oil finishes over film finishes though I've also used shellac. Boiled linseed oil and 100% Tung oil are both good. They're easy to wipe on with a rag and penetrate the wood some. They're also durable and easy to touch up if needed.

I tend to stay away from polyurethane finishes these days though others use them with success.

You're probably going to get as many different responses as there are makers. We all have our own ways of doing things and there is no one right answer.

Rodney
 

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I use whatever wood looks good from what's available. Around here that's generally ash,oak,maple and some apple. Hardwood vs soft is something I've never really thought about. Like I said, whatever I have. The finish,for me, depends on the use. Dedicated walkers usually get a polyurethane or similar, while my shillelaghs get an oil treatment. But I do use a ferrule on my sticks. It keeps the tip from mushrooming and helps prevent moisture from creeping back in.
 

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most stick makers use local wood its whatever you can get. as long as the wood seasoned . I mostly use hazel, chestnut ,ash, blackthorn its a favourite here but there are many varieties of wood to use .I don't remove the bark of my shanks as there is no need to and you can get a wide variety of colours on hazel which enhances the shank. but I always fix a brass ferule on the bottom using epoxy resin it seals the shank and protects it. Also put a rubber ferule on top of it so when used on pavements etc it doesn't slip.. The are ice attachment available here (U.K.) assume you can get the same fixtures there ,there foldable so you can put them upright when you don't need them.

As for finish there are many ways people have there own favourite I use Danish oil it buffs upwell after quite a few coats and doesn't chip like a varnish which cause water ingress and spoils the shank . But each to there own.
 

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I thank you for your replies. It might seem trivial in that the answers are somewhat obvious but I really wanted to see some more experienced insight to confirm my suspicions.

I read through each of your responses 3 times. The value in all the different responses is that I learned something different from all of them and no one is wrong :) Thanks for affirming my tendency towards the sapling and oil Rodney.

I read many times about the tung oil but when I got to the hardware store I noticed the tung oil there said it was only for interior finishes so I got some teak oil that said it was good for interior/exterior and that the Teak oil was resistant to UV rays. I noticed that on the teak oil container it warned of the spontaneous combustion rag warning. In it's application and finish is Teak oil the same type of product as linseed oil or is the spontaneous combustion rag warning the only similarity?

Is there a certain type of Tung oil that is for exterior applications?

I look forward to using this Teak Oil on the next batch of sticks but I do love the look of that spar varnish on the first set of sticks. Especially on the bottom 12" of the sticks that I left the bark on, that looks real sharp.

Up until now I was stuck on the nose high walking stick. Now I think I'd be pretty comfortable with a lard cured shillelagh. Wish I knew how to pronounce that word :) I will also make a point of fitting Ferrules.

And lastly I love the notion of leaving the bark on. That's be a fine looking shaft. Thanks for that one Cobalt.

Many thanks to you all,

Pete
 

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Hi Pete I always use tung /Tru oil to finish my shanks it is primarily a gunstock oil and is never tacky to the touch when dry. Def add a ferrule to the bottom - can be bought rubber ones as used on many shop bought walking sticks, ornamental brass/copper ones, over here in the UK thay are also made from rams horn, nylon used in pen making and even copper pipe.
 

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Theres no nead to think that you need a extior oil or vanish finish on shanks there only out when you go out ,its not as if there outdoors 24-7 ,After all most people give the shank quite a few coats then occasionaly give them a quick wipe over with oil a few times during there life span. There ususlly stored inside somewhere . So personally it dosnt matter. what you do..As for ferules as gloops said thers loads of chioces but for looks and quality I like rams horn, probably doesn't last as long but you can replace them. Its like everything in life its just personal taste .

my personnel favourite is a rams horn crook , I haven't got one yet but intend to make my own when I get tooled up to make one , but interested in waterfowl toppers so tend to make more of them as there is a huge variety of species .

I would have thought water fowl toppers would go well in the states & Canada as decoy carving over the pond is a big industry for hunters.as well as dog breeds.

by the way Danish oil is combustible .I store mine in a glass sealed jar in a cool place but not for long don't want to risk a fire to much combustible material around and would be devastated to loss my tools
 

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Any oil based finish is capable of spontaneous combustion. Follow proper safety procedures.

I just said earlier in this thread that I prefer hardwood shanks with the bark on. I'm currently making a cane with a turned yew shank. There are exceptions to every rule.

Rodney
 
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