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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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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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