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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hullo! Just joined because I have a question I can;t sem to find information on hardly anywhere. I need to know a bit a bout green wood. I used to make walking sticks a long time ago and am trying to start again but last time I had acces to predried wood I was using (did not know it was pre dried at the time because I didnt know wood had to dry..) and this time I tried to chop my own down, and only after cutting it to size did I learn about having to dry the wood... SO! My questions are:

Does anyone know how likely they are to experience checking and what I can do to prevent it? They are Hickry saplings ranging from a half inch to an inch and a half in diameter, rouchly 4 to 6 fett tall,

Is checking a significant problem with walking sticks? Is it likely to cause structural problems, or likely to be noticeable?

I read somewhere that if I sand it now it will leave the grain more pronounced when it dries, is this true?

And finally, checking and what not occurs when it dries so what if I were to go ahead and oil it, would that fix things or would it cause a different set of issues? And if the latter, how long do I need to let them dry minimum before I work on them?

Thank you in advance for the help.
 

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Welcome!

Hickory doesn't grow here so I can't answer some of your more specific questions.

In general I cut my sticks long. Any checking is more likely to happen at the ends due to they dry faster. If you've already cut to final length you can try coating the ends to slow down the drying (and checking) as they cure.

A safe rule of thumb for drying your own sticks is a year per inch of thickness. Sometimes you can get away with working them sooner. One of my canes kept moving after I shaped the handle so it's a little wavy in places because I didn't wait long enough.

Small checks aren't likely to cause any structural issues. Deeper ones can. Take it on an individual basis. They will most likely be noticeable. How to treat the cosmetic ones is a matter of personal taste.

Peeling green wood speeds up the drying process. It can lead to more checking. After the wood is dry to the touch you can try oiling it. It might help slow the drying down some.

Sometimes you can get away with working green wood. It will move and shrink a little as it dries but it isn't always a problem. Chair makers used to use green wood because it would tighten up the joints as it shrank.

I hope this helps,

Rodney
 

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sorry know nothing about the woods your using

but the rule of thumb is leave for a year per inch of wood just as rodney has stated you can always use a meter to check the miosture content
 

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If money isn't an object, Woodcraft and probably others sell a product that replaces the water within the cellular structure, so the advertisers say. Several years ago, I soaked green sticks in a 6" dia. PVC tube in this expensive Pentacryl for a month or so, and never experienced checking or cracking afterwards.

Otherwise, I've dealt with cracks as a natural phenomenon that can be ignored or filled with epoxy or wood filler prior to sanding and finishing.

Unless your wife allows you a generous budget for such things, I'd avoid the Pentacryl solution. However, I'd use it again if I acquired an incredible specimen that was green and likely to crack due to shrinkage.

Vance
 

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Welcome to the forums Dracone.

I have hickory,oak, maple, ash, red bud, cotton wood, sassafras, aspen, birch and a cpl other species of woods I can't identify in various stages of seasoning kicking around in my garage. As a general rule I can work the "harder" of the hardwoods after about a year of dry time.( hickory, oak, ash) The species of trees that grow quickly (soft maples, cotton wood, sassafras, birch) seem to absorb more water, hence the quicker growth. and they take a bit longer to dry. They also seem more susceptible to warpage or cracking Also as I carve some woods into "toppers" I cut those into about 12" to 18" pieces. Generally the smaller pieces are dry enough to carve in about six months.

Also you can speed the drying process a bit by storing sticks in a warm area such as the utility room or the basement. I have heard of some folks drying sticks in the attic. As I have enough seasoned wood to work, I choose to leave the bulk of mine in the garage and let nature takes it course.

If you can't wait perhaps you can work a couple wet while you wait on the rest to season.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, I appreciate the help, I think that answers my questions. Its unfortunate that it takes so long to dry and will likely crack though :/ Id never had to worry about it before and figured even if it had to dry it would take like a week or two not a year.
 

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Moisture meters are pretty affordable these days and take out the guesswork, a reading around 15% is deemed dry, I dip ends of new cit shanks in melted candle wax and store horizontal in garage roof.
 

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One thing that wasn't mentioned, it's better to cut your sticks in the winter when the sap is down. The stick will be a little drier to start with.
 
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