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Welcome to the site

I am a comparative newcomer here and you will find the people friendly although they speak there minds and do have diffrent views which is good thing as it devlops different ideas and approaches to many things.

I think that th blackthorn makes one of the best shanks you will get although i also like chestnut and hazel.

If you know where there are shanks to cut , do it soon before the sap rises and season them well . I season mine for 2 years slthough they say a year per 1". Mine are steam straightened after seasoning..If your try to straighten them before seasoning them the chances are they will bend again.

I have my shanks straight although many here think it gives the stick more character to leave some kinks in,its just a different viewpiont, but i think that it cant take the same wieght load if bent.A hiking pole should last a lifetime

There are diffrent styles of stickmaking here and no doubt you will find your own.Mine is very english in my approach and like leg cleeks and market sticks made from diffrent horn ,but my main type is carving hiking poles

but good luck
 
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