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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the result of a conversation with my granddad when I visited my grandparents in 1966, right after boot camp. I bragged about my accomplishments a bit too much I think. And so, he grinned and said "I'll put my money on an old man with a good shillelagh over some young toughs any day." We laughed, and I never have forgotten those words. Now I'm an old man, and I'll have a good shillelagh. Where are those young toughs?

This isn't traditional in several respects. I won't hang it in my chimney flu to darken it with soot, and neither will I stain it dark. The bark is too pretty. I won't round off the top more, because I don't want to remove that bark. The bark is really hard, and it's attractive to me.

The copper ferrule has not been cleaned and polished and the tip hasn't been installed.

I will finish it with a high-gloss finish, as much as I prefer the dull tung oil finish, just to have a traditional element.

Shillelagh_first.JPG

Shillelagh_top.JPG

Shillelagh_ferrule_cropped.jpg
 

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Looks good CAS! What kind of wood is it? I'm just about ready to take down that stick I treated with pentacryl back in March to make a shillelagh! Maybe another month, but it looks pretty dry now!

Make sure you post updates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Looks good CAS! What kind of wood is it? I'm just about ready to take down that stick I treated with pentacryl back in March to make a shillelagh! Maybe another month, but it looks pretty dry now!

Make sure you post updates.
Rad, a neighbor down the street had a crew cutting this down last spring. They said it was diseased and would die. I asked permission to take a branch or two. They said the tree was a beech, but I think this sum beech is a birch.

Since it was very green, I too soaked it in pentacryl - for a week. It hasn't checked a bit. I had to scrape off a lot of the protrusions and hardened sap from the bark, but most of the bark seems to be adhering to the sapwood well. The sapwood is fairly soft, but the bark is very hard. The relative hardness was apparent as I rasped down the diameter to slip on that copper pipe fitting for a ferrule.

I haven't yet decided whether to apply a sealer before the finish, since pentacryl was used. I'll probably ask them at Woodcraft, some of those guys are pretty knowledgeable.

Probably I'll just use high-gloss polyurethane, as much as I hate to because it's a pain in the neck to re-do when it gets scratched. But high-gloss is how I've seen all the shillelaghs that I've seen.

Maybe if I live long enough, that little prunus spinosa that I planted last spring will be big enough to make a really authentic shillelagh. Supposedly they are invasive, and maybe it will shoot up some more little ones. If that one is ever ready, I will figure out a way to stain it or make it look as authentic as possible.
 

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Yeah, the bark doesn't look anything like beech. Beech bark on trees up to a foot or two thick tends to be a smooth skin like texture, and grey. There may only be "bird's eye" wrinkle patterns around emerging branches. The bark comes off pretty easily, leaving smooth sap wood. The lower trunk bark in old trees, 100+ years, will get a little crusty, but still the smoothest hardwood bark I know of any old tree I know.

Some reference to tradition is desirable, but if you are not going to blacken the shaft, why not give it a Tung oil finish? I say this in part because I've had mixed results with putting urethane over bark. Sometimes it has bubbled up after a year or so. I suppose there is a little air trapped in the bark. And on one of my oldest standby sticks, oak, the urethane spar varnish where I hold it is now matt finish. Not at all attractive. But, its my beater stick, so I don't care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, the bark doesn't look anything like beech. Beech bark on trees up to a foot or two thick tends to be a smooth skin like texture, and grey. There may only be "bird's eye" wrinkle patterns around emerging branches. The bark comes off pretty easily, leaving smooth sap wood. The lower trunk bark in old trees, 100+ years, will get a little crusty, but still the smoothest hardwood bark I know of any old tree I know.

Some reference to tradition is desirable, but if you are not going to blacken the shaft, why not give it a Tung oil finish? I say this in part because I've had mixed results with putting urethane over bark. Sometimes it has bubbled up after a year or so. I suppose there is a little air trapped in the bark. And on one of my oldest standby sticks, oak, the urethane spar varnish where I hold it is now matt finish. Not at all attractive. But, its my beater stick, so I don't care.
Good points! Maybe I will just go ahead with Tung oil. I sure don't want a screwed up finish on this nice piece of wood. In addition, I can finish it easily before the Thanksgiving crowd descends on our house the week before. I want my son to see lots of examples so that he can make all the requisite decisions regarding the (second) stick I will make for him.

I tried something new, still frustrated with trying to have a good rubber tip at the bottom. Looks a little weird, but I think it will work well. I've mentioned elsewhere that the Lee Valley / Veritas tip frustrates me. The interchangeable stainless steel point and rubber tip is a great idea, but in my experience the rubber is too soft and wears out quickly. I've paired a chair tip with a hole in its center with the hard rubber trekking pole tip from Black Diamond. I finally figured out the thread size, M5/0.8, and used a hex connector since I couldn't find a threaded insert to fit. I'll post pics when I get home tonight if I can remember.
 

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OK, so 100% Tung oil it is. The hard bark is not taking ANY. The knots and ends soak it up like a sponge. I just hope that the pentacryl wood stabilizer penetrated the bark sufficiently to keep it from separating as time goes on.

I couldn't bring myself to round off the top more, as that would have removed all that great bark. Maybe it will flake off, or maybe it will remain. Time will tell.

gallery_11_18_21087.jpg

gallery_11_18_48075.jpg

Copper ferrule (pipe fitting) not yet polished.

gallery_11_18_139777.jpg

Here's a new experiment for the tip, combining a Black Diamond trekking pole hard rubber tip with a chair leg rubber tip.

gallery_11_18_216341.jpg

Couldn't find a M5/.8 threaded insert, so I used a hexagonal connector as shown:

gallery_11_18_168195.jpg

I'll apply Tung oil to the knots and ends so long as it is adsorbed, then polish the copper, tighten the tip, and then walk without fear of man or beast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looking good! Maybe you already said, but how heavy is it?
Heaver than aspen, but much, much lighter than bois d'arc, and a bit lighter than willow I think.
 
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