Walking Stick Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We live in a condo and share a driveway with a wonderful retired farmer couple. He and I have sat on lawn chairs in his garage for hours . . . sometimes speaking the truth! I do not recall the date but some time after I had begun my search for appropriate cane shank sticks he suggested I look for Osage Orange, or "Hedge Apples" saying the tree goes by several names. I admitted I'd never heard of it.

But when he described those nuisance "fake oranges" that fall to the ground I knew exactly/immediately what he meant. Within a hundred yards or so from our front door is a bike path and along that pathway is one of those trees that overhangs the path - drops it's fruit, which is a mess. I've kicked them off the path many times just to help other walkers but especially people on bikes, not knowing anything about the tree itself.

He told me his father, also a farmer, did his best to incorporate O.O. trees when fencing in his property because they were so rugged. Further, he had seen his dad dig up O.O. fence posts that had been in the ground "15-20" years that showed no rotting, whatsoever. However, he warned, if I wanted/needed to drive a nail into it, do that while green for once it was fully dry it was almost impossible. He also added on occasion they had used Osage Orange as lynch pins between the tractor and farm wagon being pulled.

My brother has sent me several O.O. sticks from the one and only Osage Orange tree on his farm in Tennessee, which I used and appreciated. So I've been in the search mode. Fortunately, last fall I discovered a row of six-eight Osage Orange trees in a public park and periodically head there, i.e., Cane #95, shown here previously. During that trip in Dec, I brought home three sticks, and in the process of cutting them into potential pieces one of the left-overs was this "handle" now attached to Cane #96 - Sugar Maple.

I hope to finish this cane in the next 2-3 days, but I'm now guessing this handle will be the most remarkable feature of this cane.

Here's the before-after pics taken last evening.

Osage Orange.

A remarkable wood.

-neb

ps - I hope you have a marvelous Monday.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
969 Posts
You are lucky to find a source. It used to be fairly common where I liv, as it was used extensively for hedge rows. I've been looking for a few years, and haven't found any. I've read that while it was spread everywhere there were farms, many states now consider it an invasive species, and discourage its use. I did find a place online called Teraprom land management that sells wood from trees that needed thinning or invasive species. They have Osage fairly often. I have a few pieces from them.

FWIW, it goes by lots of names. Bodark, for one, which is a corruption of the French term Bois d'Arc, meaning "bow wood," and so called because the (I think) Comanche made their bows from it. It is still highly priced for wooden bows.

The sap wood will stay pale for decades, but the pieces I have that were oiled and waxed 40 years ago have turned a deep rust red color.

As you know, the stuff is really tough wood. I've read it was used for ax handles.

Altho not closely related, red mulberry is somewhat similar. Generally much softer, but the heart wood ages to a color similar to osage. Tends to grow fast, so there are usually a lot of straight branches, tho' they tend to have many small twigs coming of the sides.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,485 Posts
Absolutely good stuff! CAS 14 has written some on this forum about the wood -- it is expensive and hard to find up north.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Hi I'm new to the forum. I live on my 300 acre farm here in Oklahoma and I'm covered with Bois d'Arc, I use it for fence post, walking sticks and many fences around here Bois d'Arc post in the ground are 100+ years old and still solid holding up good. I've even reused many when rebuilding fences. They are so hard cutting a dead Bois d'Arc will throw sparks while using a chainsaw. lol It is a awesome wood
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,170 Posts
welcome to the forum I havnt seen the wood you described its not available over the pond but several people have mentioned it and used it in stickmaking
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Osage makes terrific, strong walking sticks and canes. Removal of all sapwood, sanding to 2000 grit then buffing and oiling yields a highly chatoyant surface. For strength, a 3/4 to 1 inch diameter stick i can hang from and do chinups on a shoulder height walking stick(i weigh 180 pounds) when suspended from the ends, even when i try i cannot break it over my knee. The key is to follow the rings and wood fibers as if you were making a self bow. Straight pieces that long are rare.

I tend to use interior heartwood of long dead logs. I have after 2 years of seaching around the texoma region of north texas not found one piece truly suitable for a 5 foot 3 inch bow. I just save the rejects for canes and walking sticks.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top