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So a few weeks ago I found a large Sycamore branch at a local company, already chopped down and well seasoned, or so I thought. One part of it is quite thick but it's calling to me to make what I would call a "gaffer's stick", so today I cut it to rough length. Now one end was already very dry etc as it had been cut down from the tree, but the other end I have just created felt a little damp to touch, and in the middle I can see some green . Just when is a piece of timber seasoned?

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For air dried woods it's when the moisture content of the wood is stable with it's surroundings. One way to tell is to weigh the wood when you get it and weigh it again every once in a while. When it stops losing weight it's seasoned.

The one year per inch rule of thumb isn't absolute but it is a good safe guide and is easier than weighing your sticks. Waiting is the hard part but once you get a selection of sticks built up it's not a problem.

Found dead wood may be drier than wood you harvest yourself but it's rarely completely dry.

You may want to coat the ends of your stick with paint or some other sealer and wait for it to finish drying before you work on it more. The paint will slow the ends from drying too quickly and will help prevent checking.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cheers Rodney, I guess I'll haver to just put it away untilnext year then it should really be ready.
 

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Here is a site that may be of help in answering some question. Different woods will dry at different rates. As a rule of thumb a 1" stick air drying for 8 months to a year most wood will be safe to use with out it cracking. This very's depending on humidity and air flow.

http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-and-moisture/
 
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I usually harvest enough shanks to last a year within a few days somewhere between November and march and still have some that's 3 years old but harvest at lest 50 shanks .that way I have enough for the following year . Never bother to much with them after I cut them and never had a problem with the wood splitting .But the ones which look better without any side shoots coming of and taper nicely I put to one side .after making sure there hasn't been any rubbing or bark damage

I usually seem find plenty to cut without to much trouble in the local woods around the area
 

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HI, when I started stickmaking I invested in a moisture meter which takes the guesswork out of "is it dry" Silverline do one for approx £12, stick the two prongs int the wood and it gives apercentage of wetwness 100% wet 14% is classed as dry (based on resistance to current flow from one prong to the other thor' the wood), can also be used to assess damp anywhere in buildings, caravans etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
HI, when I started stickmaking I invested in a moisture meter which takes the guesswork out of "is it dry" Silverline do one for approx £12, stick the two prongs int the wood and it gives apercentage of wetwness 100% wet 14% is classed as dry (based on resistance to current flow from one prong to the other thor' the wood), can also be used to assess damp anywhere in buildings, caravans etc.
That's definitely on the Christmas pressie list!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
HI, when I started stickmaking I invested in a moisture meter which takes the guesswork out of "is it dry" Silverline do one for approx £12, stick the two prongs int the wood and it gives apercentage of wetwness 100% wet 14% is classed as dry (based on resistance to current flow from one prong to the other thor' the wood), can also be used to assess damp anywhere in buildings, caravans etc.
That's definitely on the Christmas pressie list!
I know stick shanks are fairly thin but do you make any compensation for thicker sections? One site recommends testing at about 1/5 or 1/4 depth of a section to get a maximum reading, is this necessary on shanks?

Cheers, Lol
 

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Not normaly on shanks here in UK we very rarely use shank dia's greater than 30mm, unless you fancy carving a snake stick like those of Mike Stinnett from a shank starting off about 150mm dia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Looking at a piece on the internet there appears to be about a 2% gradient increase as you get towards the centre of logs so I guess if you aim for 12% on a thick piece at surface reading then the middle should be okay. One solution would be to plank the timber when I get it and let it season.
 
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