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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Came across this today.

this guy uses a flex tube for steaming his sticks for straightening

its a useful method if you have several sticks to straighten but for a odd one or two the heat gun is quicker
 

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That looks like a good way to steam your sticks, thanks for shareing.
 

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Straightening? THAT has never occurred to me. To date I've completed (not bragging!) 75 canes . . . some of them were "more crooked than a dog's leg" - and I've always considered that a nice and unique feature.

So I have a question. If you use heat or steam to straighten a branch/limb what happens when it dries or cools off? Seems to me, it might return to it's natural form.

PLEASE enlighten this OLD geezer.

Thanx

-neb
 

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You can only straighten a stick if its seasoned, otherwise it will revert to its natural state in time. And if seasoned it will stay straight after the process.If its oiled regularly it should last a lifetime

if you use a stick that has a dogleg in it , its not safe for the purpose it was intended for.and would not give the support for the person it was intended for .

Although people don't put there full weight on a stick those that need a stick for walking and use it for a lot for carrying there weight need a straight and a slightly flexible stick for safety

A commercial stick maker would never use a bent stick for this reason.

I know that a lot of American stick makers say that it gives a stick character if it bent ,but these should be used for decorative purposes and not as a walking aid.

English stick makers take a different approach and wouldn't use a stick that they couldn't straighten or has a dog leg in it., particularly if it was a competition or for a walking aid.

I personally wouldn't use a bent stick and discard any I cant straighten. And you cant straighten a stick if there's a knot where its bent

The majority of sticks used here are around 1 inch in diameter anything larger than say 1.5 inches anything larger than that I would consider clumsy to use and to heavy depending on the wood used. I don't use anything over 1.25inches diameter

I harvest my stick myself mostly hazel they grow reasonable straight and considered to amongst the best for a walking / hiking sticks.these are usually seasoned for 2 years

You take a different approach in the States and a lot boils down to personnel taste
 

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As cobalt said a straight stick is a a safer stick. Some times I have a really nice looking stick that i did not season tied to some thing to keep it straight. When it dried it had a bend that made it impracticable for a cane or walking stick an straightening it makes it a usable stick.
 
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Ah ha ! You found my steamer Cobalt! After much trial and error I found this method to be the most successful. I did try guttering pipe but it melted. I got the metal base from a local scrap yard for £5 ( $8), and the aluminium tube for about £10. The wallpaper steamer pipe is connected at the base with holes for drainage.After about 30 minutes it's ready for straightening, I can normally do 6 at a time using this method. More at my Facebook page "Shiresticks"
Agree with you about the difference with UK and The Americas sticks, I would consider using anything more than 1.5 " in diameter.
 

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I didn't realise that you where English, but haven't seen you on the sight much.

It s a handy piece of kit if you have a few pieces to do. I will have to check your site out.

I am a big fan of rams horn market sticks consider then the best and hoping to get into it myself when I get the kit to do it.

You say your from the shires which one ?you can usually tell which country people are from by looking at there sticks but your pic doesn't give much clues but leaning towards European
 

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Hello Black Thorn. I looked at your Facebook site. Very nice looking sticks. Hope you will share more here on the forum. i like the simplicity of the steamer. I think one of the reasons this yanks will use 1.5" to 2" diameter in hiking staffs is because of the carvings. It gives more options. I like the sticks you all do in the UK I have been learning from Cobalt. I am working on my first cardigan handle cane now.
 

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From the Shires of Oxford Cobalt,not many stickmakers around here that I'm aware of but lots of Blackthorn bushes! I've admired your work for a while and posted a few times in various forums here.
Horns and antlers are just not my thing though I'll probably give it a go sometime.
 

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Hello Black Thorn. I looked at your Facebook site. Very nice looking sticks. Hope you will share more here on the forum. i like the simplicity of the steamer. I think one of the reasons this yanks will use 1.5" to 2" diameter in hiking staffs is because of the carvings. It gives more options. I like the sticks you all do in the UK I have been learning from Cobalt. I am working on my first cardigan handle cane now.
Yes it's amazing the difference between the two arts, you rarely see a wizard stick here. I just couldn't contemplate using a 2 " stick as virtually all my sticks require some slight straightening !
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I haven't tried straightening a stick over1.5 inch in diameter, I suppose it could be done ?

I think one of the main attractions in stickmaking for me is design, I always look at animals heads to see if I can use them.

I know some of the UK srtickmakers carve a lot o dogs heads as there popular and that a dog walke/rambler are more more likely to purchase a hikingpole for a decorative topper .It makes the stick much more individual and gives some idea what that person is interested in.

The standard topper usually are fixed in the same manner but allow you to be creative in the carving as as you are not restricted to the diameter of the shank. It looks much more balanced this way as opposed to carving the shank things like wild fowl look completely odd when just carved into the shank ,to me it looks like a after thought .Its much better visually to say carve a swans head with the beak well proportioned and think that most carvings need this. There are exceptions to the rule such as what's known as the wood spirit.

What does require more planning apart from the design is fixing a animals head on a walking stick.

it either has to be part of the hand grip or added in such a way that it doesn't interfere with the grip and the design has to incorporate a fixing method without distracting both the aesthetics or functionalism
 

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I agree toppers offer more flexibility especially with a cane or what you call walking sticks . How ever I also enjoy the challenge of creating some thing using the limited space of a hiking staff or what we call a walking stick and maintaining a balanced look. I have some cane starting with a 2" shank. and tapering them down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nice designs They work well on both a hiking pole and a walking stick or cane as you call them.

how's your cardigan handle coming on it looks interesting with the woods you have used.
 

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Nice designs They work well on both a hiking pole and a walking stick or cane as you call them.

how's your cardigan handle coming on it looks interesting with the woods you have used.
I have not had a chance to work on the handles. Hopefully I will have time for them this weekend. Have had a few orders for Christmas projects and have been putting my time in the shop to work on them.
 

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For me form follows function. A walking stick must be safely usable for that purpose. So far I've only straightened one stick. Hazel, about 1" diameter that was seasoned for a year. I used a piece of 4" drain pipe and a pan of boiling water to steam it. So far the stick has remained straight.

I haven't made more since. I had my left leg amputated above the knee back in April. I'm in the process of getting a prosthetic leg made. When that's done, I figure I'll have need of a decent stick and I want it to fit me correctly. I also don't want to use an aluminum cane. They're very practical but they're also very ugly. There's no reason I can't have a good looking stick. I'll use this first one a while so I know what changes in height, etc. that I want to make then I'll make more.

I'm American but I tend to like the English style walking sticks and canes better for in town. I think I would feel a little out of place with a more rustic one. I will make a couple basic staffs for hiking too though.

The good thing about straightening sticks is it makes it much easier to find usable sticks. Almost all I see have at least a gentle bow to them. Perfectly straight anything is a rarity in nature. The steamer shown looks like a good idea.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I do hope things work out for you, couldn't have been very easy to come to terms with

One thing about hazel shank they grow pretty straight and where you find them there in abundance and any straightening is a simple matter once you have done two or three

As for toppers I much prefer carving them separate it offers greater freedom of subject matter.

The okapi I am carving at the moment is made from measuring 6x5 x2 inches a chunk of lime you need this size to get a good realistic shape from them and to keep everything in balance .

Most of the wild fowl are carved from limewood measuring around 5x3x2inches .I measure everything I do from the shank I use so a 1 inch shank and allows a successful transition to be carried out from the wild fowls neck to shank .This allows the beak to be carved in proportion to the head as anything less than this looks out of proportion and it cant be carved successfully on a one piece shank without making the topper to small

The puffin I carved was carved from a larger piece as anything that dosnt have much of a neck on it like the puffin /owl and bears doesn't sit right ,so I usually incorporate a bit of a shoulder on it then don't paint the transition from bird to shank . It just seems to work better for me.
 

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I've been fighting Melanoma for about four and a half years now. I've been on a clinical trial for a treatment for the last two years that has done wonders for me. I went from a stage 4 patient with limited options for treatment to being stable. I've been doing well since I joined the trial. I'm also experiencing only mild side effects. That's pretty much a miracle in itself.

The cancer started on the bottom of my left foot and stayed mainly on my left leg. My leg looked like something you would see in a horror movie. The lower part of my leg and my foot had some pretty nasty open wounds caused by tumors that were slowly getting worse instead of better. I put it off as long as I could but in the end the leg had to go. Looking back I should have agreed to the surgery sooner. My leg was putting a huge strain on the rest of my body. I'm feeling the best I have since I was diagnosed.

Right now health wise I'm doing well. I still have cancer but it's stable and has been for a while. I also feel pretty good.

The hazel here is either in orchards where you can't pick it or the wild ones that I see tend to grow on the edges of stands of trees. Finding a clear straight shoot like I've seen being cut in Youtube videos isn't as easy as it is over there. The ones I saw in the videos were growing under taller trees and sending out long straight branches trying to find some sunlight. Ours tend to grow more compactly with a lot of twists, turns and forks in the branches.

Since I've become interested in sticks I've started noticing trees and shrubs and how they grow more than before. I think I have a few places lined up where I can find some sticks of a variety of species later this year.

I did like working with the hazel. I can see why it's a preferred wood for sticks.

Sorry for the life story,

Rodney
 
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