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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally have an operational camera again so I can now actually post a picture. Now I just need a decent camera operator and I'm set.

Anyway, here's some of the sticks I've been gathering this season. I don't have a decent background so just did the best I could leaning the sticks up against my shop door.

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Starting at the far left: A slender Ash stick with a dogleg in it. I'm honestly not sure how good a stick this is due to the size. It might be a little small.

Next is a piece of flowering plum that is cured and ready to be made into a stick.

Third is a skinny little piece of willow. It seems a little whippy now. Hopefully it will stiffen up when it's fully cured. I also have a longer thicker piece of willow not shown.

Numbers 4 and 5 are dead cottonwood sticks that have been on the ground a year or so. They're a little bug eaten but seem strong enough. I peeled them since they're dead wood but they do need to dry out yet.

The last 2 are my favorites. A twin holly sapling that my daughter and I collected a few days ago with the roots still attached. I think both sticks have potential. I'm going to keep the root attached for a handle on the stick on the right. I'm not sure if I'll keep the dogleg on the stick on the left or not.

In the process of uprooting them we damaged the bark. From what I've read the bark can contribute to staining so I peeled the sticks in hopes that they will remain light colored. Apparently holly can be tricky to cure and keep light colored. I'm hoping they won't split and am considering putting a thin coat of shellac on them to slow down the drying process.

The tallest stick in the photo is about 6 ft tall. There's plenty of room to work on all of them to get the best sections I can from them when they're cured.

Here's some local Hazel I collected this fall:

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They're most likely all rejects in Britain but I think I can straighten them enough to be usable sticks.

Thanks for looking,

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The only bad thing is I won't be able to do much with them for the next year. I hate waiting. At least I'm starting to build an inventory of sticks.

Rodney
 

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Hi Rodney, that's a great batch of sticks and as you said, you well on your way to starting your collection. My wife and I used to go out looking for sticks, after a while, she would ask me if I had enough. I answered, do I ever ask you if you have enough jewelry. We would continue looking for sticks. They all look really nice and I see potential in each one of them. As far as the thin sticks go, they would make really great walking sticks for younger children. I had a bunch of skinny sticks so I carved some simple toppers of different animals and stuck them on top. The kids really liked them a lot. I'll Post some of them later.
 

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Just show us when your finished with them.
 

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Nice group of sticks. Look forward to seeing what you do with them.
 

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And the wait begins............................. ;) a corner in my garage, stacked next to my shed, under the deck, sticks squirelled away for the future wait their turn
 

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Great assortment there. As you say the roots have potential. I'd also say you have a great backdrop for taking pictures on the outside of your shop door and wall there.

Sean
 

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I reckon the hazel will make good sticks, the ones on either side have a nice taper and not many side shoots. I am certain that you can make something from the centre one too. I love the two holly shafts with the root, in England alot of people strip the bark from holly because the bark goes really dark and shrivels,it is a beautiful white/pale timber. Like all the guys say, it will be great to see them finished too. N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The holly shanks are a little on the thick side. They're oval shaped and are probably around 1 x 1 1/2 inches in size. I don't mind. As long as they don't split on me they'll be nice sturdy sticks when they're done.

I'm excited about the roots. It's a nice big mass so as long as there's no serious weak spots there's plenty of material to carve a handle. The wood is almost burl like due to the amount of roots growing out of it. There should be some really interesting figure there. The lightness of the holly might make it hard to see though.

The cottonwood sticks are an experiment. Cottonwood is a little weaker than some hardwoods. It's not that well regarded by many people here. People here don't even cut it for firewood though some bigger logs are logged commercially. These particular branches are off some old trees that were growing on a local cemetery's property. That side of the property was never used for burials. It looks like the caretaker's house used to be there. I'm guessing the trees were planted about 100 years ago. It's been logged off and the house was demolished. My understanding is the property itself is tied up in some sort of legal dispute. Nobody cares if the remaining wood is harvested.

There's still a big stack of logs that are slowly rotting away. Some of the cottonwood has some amazing grain in it. A lot of burl wood and curl in the figure. I told a local guy that sells wood turning stock about it. I'm not sure if he plans to get any or not though. It would be a shame if it just goes to waste but I'm not able to saw it up myself.

I'm not sure what direction I'll go with the biggest of the hazel sticks. I can either make a hiking staff out of the thick end or I can make a pretty decent cane shank out of the thin end. I have time to think about it anyway.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's two more. There's been a lot of rain and some wind this last month. One of our local parks had a bunch of wind falls.

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The short one is Western Red Maple. It's just a little short but if it doesn't end up as a stick there's plenty of other uses for it.

The tall one on the right is more cottonwood. At least both of these sticks are still green. No rot and bugs to deal with. The cotton wood is about the right height and diameter to get a good staff out of it.

Rodney
 

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1st Pic is a cottonwood stick cut about a year ago. Light weight but seems strong. Cottonwood is not used as lumber or firewood too often as it is difficult to split and very stringy. It is a poplar, same family as aspen and I think it carves quite well. in the 2nd pic the Santa's are all carved from cottonwood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There are cottonwood plantations here for pulp. I know that it's also used for making furniture. Usually for parts like upholstered chair frames where it doesn't show. I haven't really worked with it. My understanding is it's relatively soft.

Most people here don't even burn it for firewood. It's too ashy compared to other woods.

Great looking stick and Santa. I like the pencil icicles too.

Rodney
 

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your western red maple you have shown may make a good thumb stick when seasoned

personally I wouldn't strip the back of any of them till there cured then they will straighten and stay straightened

If you strip the bark of it may cause cracks whilst seasoning depends on the wood

The weather hasn't been kind to much rain here and I need to harvest a load of shanks ready for use in a couple of years time .

I season them for 2 years before I use them .pretty lucky at the moment have about 40+ ready to use and another 60-70 about 15 months old so a good stash of 60 plus would be useful in a couple of years

Always on the lookout for pieces that will make a single piece crook or carved head and a thumb piece much more difficult to find and harvest
 

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As cobalt said, I would not take the bark off before the limbs has curd. It will increase the chance of cracking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Boredom and impatience is a terrible combination. I don't have much (1 stick I think) that's cured so I went ahead and peeled the cottonwood stick. We'll see how it does when it dries.

The maple is too thick to get a decent thumb stick out of it. It's approaching 2" in diameter. It could be a short walking stick a little lower than shoulder height or I might use it for a flute. I saw where people are making Native American style flutes out of branches. I like the look of them and they don't seem terribly complicated to make.

Flutecraft.org has a very good series of articles on making them.

I've seen where people also incorporate them into hiking staves.

That could be fun after I get a bit of practice.

Rodney
 

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quite a few people incorporate whistles into thumb sticks oftern made from antler but its very simple to make from wood ,

I sometimes quickly make whistles for the grandchildren its literally takes minutes to do last one was believe it or not a wood spirit so simple to add the eyes into it and stick a nose on it
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've made a couple wooden ones so far. They're fun. I only have one nasty old found elk antler. I want to get a little better before I cut into it. There might be one or two cane handles in it too.

Rodney
 

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Nice collect, some there to test the straightening skills, althoug you will be stuck with the dogleg, and perhaps incorporate it into the design.
 
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