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I think the wood is oak (I cut the leaf part off while clearing part of my lot and don't know for sure). The stick is about 5 1/2' long and has several small burls/galls toward the upper/fat end of the stick.

I've debarked the stick, knocked off the warty bark over the burls, and sanded/dremeled out most of the soft dead stuff from the burls. I'm just a hobby whittler/walking stick maker with just a few simple tools and no mad skills so I'm wondering if I there's a way to know when to stop sanding and using the dremel tool. I am trapped between the 'stop before you really screw things up' and 'but the really good stuff is deeper so keep going' decisions...to cut or not to cut? This is the first time I've worked a stick that had burls so I have nothing to draw from when making this decision. Any tips are appreciated.
 

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I'd say that you're at a good spot to stop if you're going for a rustic look on the stick. There really isn't a 100% guarantee of what you'll find deeper into the burls. I've had cherry burls which looked great from the outside but ended up being crap on the inside. (Since I was making bowls it didn't matter, though.) And vice versa.




It really depends on what sort of a look you're going for. I've seen sticks where the maker used burls for carving. I've made sticks where I've taken off the burly/warty growths to improve the balance and functionality. I like the character a burl (or any sort of damage) gives to a stick as long as it doesn't impede use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both. I appreciate the guidance. If I had an abundance of sticks with burls, I might dig deeper but I like the idea of stopping here. I'll sand things out a bit and then put on some tung oil to bring out the character of the wood.
 
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