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Hey all,

So I took out the sticks I cut down last winter to decide what to keep and what to toss away. It's always better to cut more sticks then you think you need because you never know what it really looks like untill you have cleaned them. I took out the sticks I cut and cleaned them with a power washer, being careful not to damage the bark, it takes all loose dirt and bark off without damaging the shank. They came out beautiful. After cleaning I noticed some with bug and animal damage on them and are really only good for practicing on before I go to the sticks that I think are beautiful and blemish free. Wanted to know, besides power washing, how do you all clean your shanks?

-Joe Douglas
 

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Unless my plan is to leave the bark on, for example with beech, I usually collect sticks that are a bit too large in diameter. Then I shave and shape them with a draw knife. Some woods have heartwood that contrasts nicely with the sapwood, and some interesting effects emerge as you cut to the heartwood, especially where branches once protruded.

For my typical practice, I don't have to clean the exterior, the exception being where the bark is attractive and prone to remain attached once the wood is thoroughly dried.
 

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There are a couple of small brooks which run through the areas where I collect stick blanks so I give them (the roots anyway) a quick rinse as I pass. I don't worry about the shanks. If I don't happen to cross the brooks, I just let the dirt dry and give it a whack on the floor of the garage to knock off the loose stuff. Anything left gets cut or rasped away when making the handle.
 
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