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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am from North Dakota, where there are not a lot of trees, yet a large variety of trees and shrubs good for making walking sticks. I'm a good portion Irish, so shillelaughs are my goal.

Research on prunus spinosa (blackthorn) indicated that it grows here. That led me to wanting to find some, and make my own walking stick, staff, and fighting stick. I've hovered about this site for a day or so, and learned more about sticks than I ever thought possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cobalt,

I just started researching making my own sticks after I bought a synthetic shilleaugh from Cold Steel. It looked good on the Web, but is dissapointing in real life. I pruned my Hawthorn trees two springs ago, and those prunings are still in my brushpile. Once the weather gets above freezing again, I'll go dig them out to see if they are worth making into a stick. From what I remember, those prunings were up to 1 1/4" thick. They were also very tough to cut, and very light once cut. The thorns are very sharp, too!

Chestnut and hazel will be very hard to find here, but there are other varieties of strong, dense wood that I want to try.

The conditioning, drying, and straightening processes I am still learning about. I've spent most of two days reading this site, and following the mentioned links, so right now my brain is still digesting a lot of info. I do like the looks of a stick with a little crook in it.

Smalltowngirl13,

Thanks for the welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rad,

Oak is one of my favorite woods, Gambel and Bur Oak grow here, though most other varieties won't due to drought intolerance. The Blackthorne has a similar problem, unless it is grown close to a year round water source. Where I can find Blackthorne, I might find Oak, I'll keep my eyes open.

Crab-apple, Apple, Apricot, Pecan, various Cherry are fruitwoods that grow here. Lots of varieties of Ash, Elm, and Cottonwood are the mainstay hardwoods here. Russian Olive is a tall shrub/tree that is extremely tough that's quite common for tree rows that I think would make a good stick. Lots of Evergreens have also been planted here. Spruce more than Pine or Juniper.

A native Juniper exists here, though it only grows about 9" tall, as a low growing ground cover on the peaks of low hills. Not stick material. Interesting shrub, though, as most are several hundred years old, I'm told. All the Rancher/Farmers hold them in high regard, and won't till them under. They are proud to have them as evidence of native prairie.

Thistle,

Love your picture of the tree as your avatar!

I bought this house 8 years ago, and didn't realise the wealth of stick material I had until over these holidays, due to the Cold Steel Shellilaugh. Didn't even know the "thorn trees" were Hawthorne until I decided to look into real shillilaughs. I was quite exited to find out that I have such a wood growing in my fenceline! My house is surrounded by trees, and the Hawthornes are quite light starved, so I probably won't do very much cutting on them. They have a tough enough life without me hacking on them! I know wild hawthorne along the creek here that aren't in such a bad location that I can harvest from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
gdenby,

When North Dakota was populated starting in the 1870's by use of the Homestead Act, there were very few trees. Early on, the Agricultural Department started testing various trees to use as windbreaks, trying to find trees that would survive the harsh conditions here. It is still an ongoing program. In rural areas, if you order tree seedlings in the fall, Ag will plant them in springtime for you for $1.00 per seedling.

There is a testing arboretum about 25 miles from my house that still has living Blackthorne (they call it Sloe after its berrys as its common name) planted in 1976.

At Dickinson, in the town where I work, there is another Arboretum attached to the University that planted Blackthorne in 1978, but that one has since died.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, Thistle.

I didn't know about the culinary and medicinal uses. I'll have to research those. I did read that Hawthorne is related to the Rose, that helped explain the extreme thorns it has.

I will prune in the spring, early.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi, Rustic Dave, Welcome to this site!

Hickory doesn't grow here, but another favorite "tool handle" wood does. There are lots of Ash trees, both Green Ash and Black Ash, that are easy to find. I have one nearly finished Green Ash walking stick, and I will be making a shillelagh of Black Ash soon. Shillelaghs are just shorter than I tend to like to make sticks, so I really haven't tried that style yet. I've only been making sticks since New Years, so I'm real young at this!

I just found out that a farmer friend of mine does have some indigenous Bur Oak on his land, and I got permission to harvest a few sticks, So I will be going out to his land and getting a few shillelagh blanks.

Now, I'll go and read your intoduction post.

Again, Welcome to the Walking Stick Forum!
 
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