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Hello! I recently needed a walking stick and decided to make one. I'm brand new and teaching myself as I go, with no prior experience in woodworking, so please bear with me! The first stick I made came from a hawthorn sapling I cut myself. After whittling the bark off, letting it dry, and sanding it, I rubbed it with linseed oil and finished it with a clear gloss spray sealant. (This choice was based on a recommendation I found on another website.) This dried shiny and smooth, and I was pleased with the finish, but there were so many crevasses in the bark that the stick had ended up with gouges in it, so I decided to experiment with a different material. The second stick I made came from a recently cut birch sapling which I picked up after someone had come along and done trail maintenance near my home. I used the same combination of materials, and it looks good, but it feels tacky to the touch, sort of rough and almost sticky. Does anyone know if that's down to the type of wood, or maybe some simple newbie mistake like not letting it dry long enough between coats? If there's a simple way to fix it, I'd like to know! (Also please feel free to tell me what materials you personally use and like.)

The practice sticks aren't much to look at yet but I'll include a picture below. The birch stick is on the left. The leather cord handle was an experiment, I'll probably end up carving a grip instead for my final product. Thank you.

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Welcome aboard Audible! Did the birch stick dry enough before you finished it? That would be my best guess, based on what you wrote. If the stick wasn't seasoned it could take a lot longer for the oil to dry.

Not much of an oil person, though I have done a few sticks with Danish oil to see what the result would be. I lean toward polyurethane personally.

I like the hawthorn one, by the way. A lot of character in that one.
 

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Most likely what Dana said. The stick was still too wet. figure about a year per inch of thickness as a decent rule of thumb for drying sticks. Now that you've done a couple, pick some more sticks and set them aside for a year before you work on them.
 

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Hello and welcome. A stick needs to cure or dry. The oil will not be absorbed in to the wood if it has to much moisture. As a general rule to naturally dry a one inch diameter sick to 12 to 15% will take about 12 month after it is cut. This will very with how it is stored and the weather were you live. You should cut the stick long and seal the ends. Sealing the ends let’s the stick dry more evenly and minimizes splitting. There are a number of products on the market that will seal green wood. I do not use them because sealing the moisture in results n a heavier stick and can lead to other issues. Two good books . Either one is a good choice, can be found on amazon.
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