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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, for those of you that straighten the sticks that you use for canes and staffs, what do I need to look for in a heat gun. I just looked at several on the Web, and seems there's quite a variety... Not just brands, but one temperature, dual Temps, variable Temps. There are also different amp machines, etc. Are there any specifics that I need to look for? Thanks!
 

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Moro,

Can't help out on the heat gun. I am interested to see what responses you get.

I have tried straightening sticks with steam and been mostly unsuccessful.

First I wrapped the area that had the hook with wet towels and heated with a propane torch. That pretty much just scorched the towels, and my butt when the wife saw them!

Next I got out my propane fish fryer pot, filled it with water and got it boiling. I then put the stick over the steaming pot. It seemed to work till I got too rammy and over bent the sticks to the breaking point. I then gave up on trying to straighten sticks.

After a bit more research I've come to the conclusion that I need to build a steam box for the sticks, add a lid on the pot to trap the steam and some kinda pipe or duct to get the steam from the pot to the box. That is way too much messing around for me at this point.

The way I see it now, if mother nature put a kink in the staff it's meant to be there and besides that au naturel look gives the piece character!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
MJC4, many thanks. I've tried the stream method like you described, but mine was much more messy... Lol. I used hadite blocks to build a small fire pit. Small enough to support a fish cooker pot....and built a "tent" out of sheet aluminum. I could lay my stick over the top of the boiling pot... Placed the tent over that and used an old blanket to seal in the steam from the boiling pot. It worked Ok after about 30 - 45 minutes. I don't really want to straighten large crooks or kinks.... But maybe some arc out of some sticks. I like the tip of the cane to be under the hand holding the handle of the cane. I really like the twists and crooks in between... Like you said.... Mother nature saw fit!
But I ran across a YouTube video a while back with a guy straightening some bends out of his shafts, using a hot air gun , and I thought I'd like to give it a try. Like most of my sticks and canes and carving.... I'm still in the trial and error stage! Lol And I like playing around with different ideas. Thanks again, I appreciate your ideas and help. Wood Rectangle Floor Flooring Art
 

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Moro, I can see the importance of having the tip of the cane in line with the tip keeps the cane in balance when you walk with it.

I don't make too many canes, the ones I do make are usually from the broken hiking sticks I tried to straighten. This one I broke the cherry shaft trying to "steam" straighten it and the handle came from a hickory I tried to straighten as well!
 

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Staightening shanks is a simple easy job,and steaming them is the best way, i use a hot air gun to tweek my shanks

JUst lay the shanks over a boiling pan cover with a cloth and leave them for a 10 mins or so that way you never scotch them

Basically any hot air gun will do you dont need a fancy one .mine has to setting,the heat gun is also useful for shaping horn and works well.

The thing is fan the shank with the hot air gun dont leave it in one spot kepp turning the shank whilst you do it and dont scorch the wood,remember that the heat will have to penatrate into the shank and not just the surface before you try to bend it.

I hate bent shanks and will always straighten them if need be. They are stronger and flex better when under pressure

if you come across a shank with a dogs leg on it dont try to straighten it hardly ever works.(by dogs leg i mean where there has been a branch shooting of the shank and causes a knot,

A lot of people think that a crooked shank gives characture its just taste ,just do it the way you want

If you look in the section maked "home made sticks" in the forum and look for the article "my first stick hawthorn " there are some jigs there i use to straighten shanks with in the meantime this may help article from the book "stickmaking a complete course"

Font Paper Terrestrial plant Parallel Paper product Organism Font Adaptation Publication Wood Font Material property Paper Parallel Paper product
 

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Cobalt, many thanks for the bending information! I have a few hard-to-find (locally), unfinished honey locust sticks that I love but that are bent gradually along much of the length of the sticks. Little bends and twists sometimes appeal to me personally, but not so the bow in the entire stick. I will look at your jigs and consider whether straightening a lengthy segment may be feasible.

If only I could clamp a stick between two pieces of angle iron, properly oriented, inject steam, and gradually tighten the clamps. Then I could make use of some good stick material.

Thanks again for the education.
 

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A lot of people have suggested that , but i`m afriad it dosnt work a little at a time is best it works and the time you would spend rigging something up to stean it with isnt worth it unless your doing it comercially

I have 100 shanks curing in the garage how many will need tweeking hard to say but i will use the aucepan,(only when the wifes out AND WILL DENY DOING IT IF ANYONE TELLS HER) lol.

A good old fashiond saucepan works or if you have the patience a kettel its cheap and quick.you can always clamp the shank to a ccouple of batterns till it cools and it cools quickly.
 

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Thanks cobalt, you probably saved me a lot of effort and frustration! This summer I will try your ideas.
 

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just remember youcant straighten the shank in one go, steady is the key word a little at a time Start at one end or start in the middle is the best if its really bent

or if its just a tweek just do that it takes a little practise dont exoect to get it right 1st time
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks folks for the ideas and information. Sorry I've not responded sooner.... The wife and I have been on a little vacation to Colorado to visit my son and his family.... Including a granddaughter we haven't seen in a year. I've got a stainless steel boiling pot that I may try to rig up again. I'll see if I can refine it a bit from my last set-up. But I still think I'm going to get a heat gun as well for the tweaking that was mentioned. I appreciate you folks for sharing your knowledge and experience... Thanks!
 

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View attachment 2666 View attachment 2666 I did some minor tweaking here with some steam and included a couple of pics for reference. This method gets
used all the time and I got the idea from the internet. Just fill a pot 1/4 full water max, put the lid on and wait for it to boil.
Take lid off and place sticks on top of pot to where they need to be tweaked and cover with foil making sure it's wrapped as well as you can leaving a space or two for the steam to escape.

I gave these two sticks about 15 min steaming time per area that needed bending and had no problem.
Notice the oven mitts, don't forget those. You can bend over your knee but make sure you also put a towel there as well so you don't get burned. I also used the floor as a brace and using body weight pushed them back reasonably straight. I held them in position for about a minute before letting up and checking to see. The results were just as I'd hoped.

Sean

BEFORE... DURING... AFTER...
 

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The stick you tweaked in the photos, what type of wood?
 

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Hi...on the subject of straightening........I have a "stick" that is/was a branch on a 1200 year old ancient cedar. The cedar was felled by a storm making some old dead branches 150ft up on the trunk accessable. It is old and dried and bowed. Will the steam method work on really old dead stuff too? I mean, a stick that was live then cut and dried for a year is one thing....is a 100 year old to 500 year old dried limb the same? I have no idea how long the branch was dead.....tnx
 

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The stick you tweaked in the photos, what type of wood?
It is Black Cottonwood. I also did some Vine Maple as well, both very easy fixes.

Sean
 

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Hi...on the subject of straightening........I have a "stick" that is/was a branch on a 1200 year old ancient cedar. The cedar was felled by a storm making some old dead branches 150ft up on the trunk accessable. It is old and dried and bowed. Will the steam method work on really old dead stuff too? I mean, a stick that was live then cut and dried for a year is one thing....is a 100 year old to 500 year old dried limb the same? I have no idea how long the branch was dead.....tnx
I'm not so sure age is much of a factor although I'm no expert on this at all!
But, some wood from what I've read is more easily bendable than others.
It also has a lot to do with how thick it is etc. I think it's 15 minutes for every
inch of thickness in wood to make it pliable
I've seen guys online bending ribs for old boats and that wood is old and dry
so you might read up a bit on it, make some inquires on some woodworking
sites just to verify? If the stick isn't to near and dear to your heart then you could
just give it a whirl and see how it goes.

Sean
 

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age shouldnt play a part in steaming the stick

you will find it easyer to steam and straighten a stick that is seasoned , far more difficult to straighten a fresh cut one and not worth it

There isnt many wood that you cant do it all depends on the thickness and time steaming

The stickmakers association i belong to have been doing it for years its not difficult but it seems a new thing to lots of members here.

its the same process for straightening rams horm for making crooks. you just need more pressure to straighten the rams horn
 

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It's a very interesting topic steam bending and very useful as I'm sure we all have sticks that need some attention.

Here is a great article on steam bending wood, and I stand corrected on the time required. It's an hour for every inch of thickness but for sticks as opposed to planks I've found it shorter.

https://www.leevalley.com/us/html/05F1501ie.pdf
 
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thats a good article . never tried timing how long to steam for, i just guessed but it worked and i found it a lot shorter than i hour .next time i do it i will try to remember to time it..
 
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