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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone! I'm new to this forum and fairly new to walking sticks. I live in Northern MN, and there is diamond willow everywhere around here. I don't have to leave town to find really nice looking sticks. I've collected about 130 while walking my dog in the past few months. I have them peeled and drying in my basement and cabin. Some of the sticks I harvested in January seem pretty dry. I don't have a moisture meter and I'm wondering how to tell if they are dry enough. I've been weighing them and I'm thinking when they stop losing weight, they must be pretty dry. Is that a good method? I could always invest in a pinless moisture meter if I need to.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome Tom! Weighing is one accepted method. If the sticks have lost all the weight that they're going to then they're dry enough.

Dry is a moving target. It depends on the humidity of the location. Wood is also always shrinking and swelling with changes in humidity. Wood that is finished just does it more slowly. Most of us try to go by the one year per inch of thickness rule of thumb. That gives the stick time to air dry sufficiently so that any checking on the ends will have already happened and can be dealt with.

The only problems I have with the one year rule are I'm not patient and it's a pain when you're new and don't already have a supply of sticks set aside.

With that large of an inventory already, I'm thinking you can make a few sticks and have a good reserve of sticks that are fully cured for next year.

So far I've made a few sticks from wood that hasn't dried at least a year and gotten away with it. I do it knowing there's a chance they may split at the ends and ruin my work though.

The other issue that can come up when working with wet wood is if you're joining two pieces together. If they're not both fully dry gaps and bumps may occur where the two pieces meet due to unequal drying and movement of the two pieces.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rodney - thanks for the reply. Does it seem reasonable that a stick drying at room temperature for 2-3 months should be ready to finish? They were harvested in the winter, so maybe they started out dryer than a stick I would harvest today. I have weighed some of my sticks and they lose no weight over the course of a week or two. Some lose only an ounce or less. I am eager to finish some sticks, but I don't want to see them crack or bubble.

Thanks!
 

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Longer is better. Wood loses moisture through the end grain faster than through the sides. That's one reason why the ends usually crack first. Drying too quickly only makes radial checking more likely. Drying slowly minimizes the stresses on the wood and minimizes checking. We generally dry our sticks slowly in an unheated space.

So far I haven't found any diamond willow here. From what I've seen diamond willow sticks tend to be a little thicker than sticks of other species. Willow also tends to be a very wet wood. The cautious side of me says to give your sticks more time to dry before you work them.

I tend to be impatient. Waiting for sticks to dry isn't exactly exciting. If you're willing to take the chance try making a couple out some sticks you don't care much about and see what happens. They might be fine. While I haven't worked with diamond willow, I've gotten away with working with sticks of other species that were still green. Worst case is that they crack and you're out some time and a stick.

Rodney
 

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i know nothing of the type of wood but several people seem to have problems with it.

I would seal the ends and leave it for a year thers no piont in rushing it if its going to be usless to you
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the reply, cobalt. What would you recommend for sealing the ends? I've heard of people dipping in wax, but that sounds like a mess and a lot of work. Would paint work?
 

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if you let the paint soak in it could mark the wood it would depend how much wood you can afford to lose and spirit based soaks in more

Wax is good and simple beeswax is easy to use some people melt candle wax its cheap and seals that's all you need its not to messy

I have seen people use bitchmin its fine again if thers plenty of wood to spare to allow you to shape it.

I would use a wax personally it should stop it drying to quick some will soak in the wood but this helps give good protection and stops it drying to fast. And it wont mark or damage your tools

Mostly I use hazel shanks I don't seal them and have some seasoning over 2years and don't have a problem just stick them in the garage , but a suppose wood types makes a difference depending on the type of grain in the wood

I have seasoned ash and holly no problem and didn't seal them
 

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don't think it matters that much what you use as long as its sealed but a wax is cheap and does the same job just use something on hand
 

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I am not sure of the best curing or drying out time for Diamond willow. But as a general rule 8 months to a year is a minimum. it can be more depending the wood and the humidity. I have wire shelving I got at Lowe's hanging in the ceiling of my shop for drying racks. I would tie them together in groups of 4 or five, this will help them not to bend as they dry. keep them off the ground and in a covered area with good air flow. I have had issues with DW sticks I have order checking or splitting because the were not dried well. I look forward to seeing some pictures.
 

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Hello Everyone! I'm new to this forum and fairly new to walking sticks. I live in Northern MN, and there is diamond willow everywhere around here. I don't have to leave town to find really nice looking sticks. I've collected about 130 while walking my dog in the past few months. I have them peeled and drying in my basement and cabin. Some of the sticks I harvested in January seem pretty dry. I don't have a moisture meter and I'm wondering how to tell if they are dry enough. I've been weighing them and I'm thinking when they stop losing weight, they must be pretty dry. Is that a good method? I could always invest in a pinless moisture meter if I need to.

Thanks!
If you are in a hurry to start making yourself a stick I know some fellas buy shanks, maybe trying out timbers that may not be available in your area. In the UK shanks are pretty easily available to buy and you can even buy them straightened. I am sorry that I do not know about the situation in your country. N.
 
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