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I've just harvested a piece of a black walnut log from a recent pipeline Right Of Way on my property. I plan on cutting off the sapwood and making a hiking staff from the heartwood.
I am somewhat impatient and dont want to wait years for it to dry. Will it be ok if i cut of the sapwood now so it isn't so thick.

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Welcome Daniel,

I would go ahead and cut it. I would leave it a little longer and thicker than you want the finished stick to be. Also coat it with something. Anchorseal is a great product for that use but expensive. You can also use old latex paint, wax, or even shellac. They're not as good for the purpose but help and are cheaper. The idea is to slow down the drying so the whole stick dries more or less equally. If you don't coat at least the ends, the ends will dry faster and possibly split.

A safe rule of thumb is a year per inch of thickness but that also depends on the wood and the conditions it's stored in. It will most likely be ready sooner than that. Ideally you want it in a cool dry place with decent air flow.
 

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Your pictures didn't show for me on my end this morning. They're fine now. The log is smaller than I thought.

One other thing I forgot to mention. Split it down the pith. That will relieve a lot of any stresses in the wood as it dries. It will help prevent unwanted splitting. You may end up using some of the sapwood but I really don't see that as a problem. The contrast might look pretty good actually and there are always stains if you don't like the effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Its to late for that i already removed the sap wood. I will try to dry it
extra slow so it doesn't split.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a second piece that i can try splitting it down the middle and will use it as a back up.
Thanks for your help.
 

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You can coat the ends with paraffin wax. just melt some in a old pan and set the end in and pull it out. Sense you are removing the bark when you take it down to the heart wood I would follow one of Rodney's suggestions and coat the stick.
 

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I wrapped the ends in soaked leather so that when it dries it will hold it together and hopefully keep it from splitting. Not sure if this will help please share your opinion. Any insight will be appreciated.
Here is a picture after i cut off the sapwood and before i wrapped the ends.

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It is important it dry or cure it in as evenly as it can. If storing it on its side I would put 4 or5 pieces of scrap wood under it so air will flow around it. If standing to dry you may want to secure it to another dry straight board to mimnimze warping. You can never be sure a drying stick will not split or check at the end. You can just follow some of the things suggested and hope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I will put it on its side and put boards under it like you suggested, and put wax on the ends.
Thank you
 
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