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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an old friend who is a martial arts expert and makes fighting sticks -- he gave me this one years ago after testing it rigorously! It is made out of Ironwood -- I think I am going to hunt down some ironwood this summer and maybe work on one of my own. (Not that I would do any fighting with it!)

Brown Wood Amber Twig Liquid
 

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I made a stick I would call a fighting stick as well. I will put up a pic of it here in a bit. I shortened it so it could be disguised as a walking cane

but really is a bit on the shorter side. The top is balled and the bottom I put one of Lee Valley's pointed tips on it. More of a dog

dissuader.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Look forward to seeing it Sean! My grandson just told me that he thinks he discovered a Hawthorn tree on the farm -- that ought to make some tough sticks too!
 

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Somehow I missed this thread. Interesting topic.
 

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Hickory would make a great one too. Dense, incredibly hard (that's a wood you want to take the bark off of when green if you have any hope of taking it off at all), and fairly common. It also has pretty good flexibility. Some of the species labeled as "ironwood" can be very brittle and might break with hard use as a fighting stick.

Ash, while not as heavy as the others, would be very resilient. There's a reason they make baseball bats and tool handles out of ash and hickory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've done a lot of work with ash -- but hickory is so hard to come by! I have an exotic wood supplier near by that carrys wood from all over the world! I've picked-up several blanks for turning -- I asked about hickory turning blanks, and they told me no one wants them, there too hard. I might try to change their mind about that, because I sure would love a piece to turn!
 

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I've done a lot of work with ash -- but hickory is so hard to come by! I have an exotic wood supplier near by that carrys wood from all over the world! I've picked-up several blanks for turning -- I asked about hickory turning blanks, and they told me no one wants them, there too hard. I might try to change their mind about that, because I sure would love a piece to turn!
Rad, is a sledge hammer handle too short and too unbalanced to turn (I think 42" is max length and you'd have to cut off the slotted part)? The shovel handles are probably too skinny to allow any more to be removed, and the sledge handles aren't much better.

We have a small, independent hardwood dealer in Tulsa. Through him I ordered some 2" x 2" x 6' pecan just to see what I could do with it. He had it in a week. I still haven't had the time to start shaving it down (by hand).

Do you have any independent hardwood guys who might have sources different from Woodcraft and Rockler?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've done a lot of work with ash -- but hickory is so hard to come by! I have an exotic wood supplier near by that carrys wood from all over the world! I've picked-up several blanks for turning -- I asked about hickory turning blanks, and they told me no one wants them, there too hard. I might try to change their mind about that, because I sure would love a piece to turn!
Rad, is a sledge hammer handle too short and too unbalanced to turn (I think 42" is max length and you'd have to cut off the slotted part)? The shovel handles are probably too skinny to allow any more to be removed, and the sledge handles aren't much better.

We have a small, independent hardwood dealer in Tulsa. Through him I ordered some 2" x 2" x 6' pecan just to see what I could do with it. He had it in a week. I still haven't had the time to start shaving it down (by hand).

Do you have any independent hardwood guys who might have sources different from Woodcraft and Rockler?
Yes the one I mentioned just above has every thing -- and they said they could make me a blank, but it will cost because they don't have any call for it. I may just have to bite the bullet!
 

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Not sure how well hickory will turn, especially once it's dry. The grain can go all over the place at times, and it will dull your tools very quickly! But it is a beautiful wood, and incredibly dense! I made my second cane out of a hickory sapling that was going to be bulldozed at a local building site. Hickory grows slowly anyway, and this one had grown up in a dense pine forest so it grew even more slowly. (thus it's more dense) The cane is so heavy. I've got to weigh it one of these days.

I'm not sure how practical it is for an elderly person to use. I made it for myself, reasoning that by the time I'd need a real cane I may not be in the position to be able to make one. Now I'm thinking it's too heavy. It would make a much better fighting cane. I have the rest of the sapling waiting for me to turn it into a walking stick. It's quite lovely and I was thinking about it for my wife, but I'm starting to think it might be a bit too heavy. Hmmm. Maybe I'll just have to fit it out for me. [grinning]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OK -- I found my hickory blank Friday -- at an Amish lumber yard! Great place (Kiem Lumber in Charm Ohio)
 

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I'm working on a piece of "muscle wood," American hornbeam, also sometimes called "iron wood." Its pretty hard and fibrous. Seems tougher than the oak I've cut, but not as tough as the hickory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm working on a piece of "muscle wood," American hornbeam, also sometimes called "iron wood." Its pretty hard and fibrous. Seems tougher than the oak I've cut, but not as tough as the hickory.
Yes -- that's good stuff, I've made several sticks out of it -- hard and sturdy! Remember, show pictures! :)
 

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Here in North Dakota, there grows Hop Hornbeam, also called Ironwood. Its seeds look like little female hop flowers, hence the name. It is on my list of trees to find to make sticks out of.
 

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Here in North Dakota, there grows Hop Hornbeam, also called Ironwood. Its seeds look like little female hop flowers, hence the name. It is on my list of trees to find to make sticks out of.
There's hop hornbeam around here, too. I have a few sticks curing in my stash. Hornbeam has a smooth bark, unlike hop hornbeam. It is sometimes called blue beech. The thing that is notable about it is that the wood grows with a sinew like structure. The tree limbs look like they are bulging with muscles. The long branch I've been working on looks rather like a bundle of tendons.

From counting its rings, the stick appears to have been somewhat older than 20 years, and is only about 1 3/4" thick. The grain is extremely fine. It is proving hard to stain. While the pores take the alcohol based dyes I've been using, but the dye just sits on the top of the rest of the wood. Likewise, tung oil barely penetrates it. I may have to re-surface the whole thing, and just put a coat of carnauba wax on for a finish.

The hop hornbeam I have is somewhat thicker. I hope the grain is as tight, if somewhat more regular than the "muscle wood.:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here in North Dakota, there grows Hop Hornbeam, also called Ironwood. Its seeds look like little female hop flowers, hence the name. It is on my list of trees to find to make sticks out of.
Got a lot of the Hop Hornbeam on the farm! It is good stuff to work with!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here in North Dakota, there grows Hop Hornbeam, also called Ironwood. Its seeds look like little female hop flowers, hence the name. It is on my list of trees to find to make sticks out of.
There's hop hornbeam around here, too. I have a few sticks curing in my stash. Hornbeam has a smooth bark, unlike hop hornbeam. It is sometimes called blue beech. The thing that is notable about it is that the wood grows with a sinew like structure. The tree limbs look like they are bulging with muscles. The long branch I've been working on looks rather like a bundle of tendons.

From counting its rings, the stick appears to have been somewhat older than 20 years, and is only about 1 3/4" thick. The grain is extremely fine. It is proving hard to stain. While the pores take the alcohol based dyes I've been using, but the dye just sits on the top of the rest of the wood. Likewise, tung oil barely penetrates it. I may have to re-surface the whole thing, and just put a coat of carnauba wax on for a finish.

The hop hornbeam I have is somewhat thicker. I hope the grain is as tight, if somewhat more regular than the "muscle wood.:
Yes -- we also call it Muscle Wood for obvious reasons -- tuff stuff!
 

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Today I found the Arboretum at Sweet Briar Dam, and wandered around. I found Hop Hornbeam, so now I know what it looks like. A very dense shrub with lots of nearly straight limbs. Looks like it will make very good walking sticks. At 8 below Zero temperature, I couldn't stay long, but I wiil go back!
 

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Today I found the Arboretum at Sweet Briar Dam, and wandered around. I found Hop Hornbeam, so now I know what it looks like. A very dense shrub with lots of nearly straight limbs. Looks like it will make very good walking sticks. At 8 below Zero temperature, I couldn't stay long, but I wiil go back!
Googling around, I see that hop hornbeam is recommended as a good city tree by Fargo. They must do fairly well in N.D. Around here, the ones I've noticed are quite large. Perhaps the one you saw at the arboretum was young, and.or the climate slows growth.
 

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I was expecting more of a tree than what I found. It looked like they had been cut down once, and roots refused to die and sent up a lot of suckers. There were four of them, and they all grew that way. These were planted in 1979, so not young. Climate may slow the growth.

I also found Honey Locust. Wow, the thorns on that tree make my Hawthorn look puny! Jesus' crown of thorns came immediately to mind.

Bur Oak, Harbin Pear, Black Walnut, Hackberry, Mulberry were some that I found. I didn't have my map of the planting, and some had lost their markings, so I didn't find the blackthorn I was looking for. I'll go back with my map, next time.
 

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A hornbeam planted in '79 is just a baby. They live a long time.

There is some Honey Locust around here. The thorn clusters really are scary. I'm hoping to cut some of the more common black locust this winter. The thorns are much less daunting, more like the thorns of rose shrubs. The wood is supposed to be shock resistant.

I have some hackberry in my stick stash, and have been getting more mulberry. I hope the mulberry works well. The wood color is not as nice as its relative, the Osage Orange, but it is also not nearly as hard. They are very common where I live, and might offer a huge supply of stick making material.
 
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