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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Originally, my son had expressed an interest in stickmaking, so I began to come up with some sort of instruction in order to begin his "education". His interest lasted all of two days but here's what I came up with so far.
Please feel free to add anything that may prove useful to others.

Tips and suggestions for new stick collectors.

Before you go

  • Ask a friend to go. Use "The Buddy System" Whenever possible.
  • Check the weather forcast.
  • Make sure it's NOT hunting season!
  • Check a map (or Google Earth) for ideas of where to go and how to get there.
  • Let someone know your intended destination(s), planned route(s) and when abouts to expect you back.
  • Go through a checklist (Tools, compass, cordage, water, fire, flashlight, , bug spray, maps, cell phone, First Aid Kit, etc,) and make sure you have everything you want/need to take with you.
  • Dress in layers. High visibility colors may be advisible.
  • Take marking ribbon with you. If you see a piece that needs to grow a while longer (i.e. Not thick enough), mark it with colored tape and check it your next time through the area.
  • Learn everything you can, what you need for your intended project and how to do it.
On your way

  • Make note of local landmarks and weather conditions.
  • Note any wooded areas for future reference.
While you're there

  • Ask the land owners permission!
  • Be respectfull and appreciative of the land owners, other people, the property and/or the forrest and it's inhabitants.
  • Watch where and how you step.
  • Stay in contact.
  • Be mindfull of landmarks.
  • Whenever possible, Keep your feet on the ground. Never climb alone.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Keep open flames to a minimun, particularly during the dry season and completely extinguish all heat sources before moving on.
  • If you bring it in, take it out! Don't leave your trash behind.
Before you cut

  • Examine your intended piece carefully for adequate length, girth (at both ends and where your hand would go if you're making a staff), straightness and rigidity. It's a waste of time, energy and resources if you cut first only to find the piece is not usable.
While you work

  • Use the best light you can.
  • Never cut towards yourself
  • Use your protective gear! Gloves, goggles, aprons, masks. SAFETY FIRST!
  • Keep your blade(s) sharp. Dull blades are not only more difficult to work with, they're dangerous! The more pressure you need to apply to use a dull blade, the deeper the wound will be if you slip,
  • Take your time. If you're not sure, find out. The project isn't going anywheres without you.
When you're done

  • Make certain any electrical equipment is turned off, unplugged, etc.
  • Extinguish all open flames.
  • Clean up.
Other

  • Take a course in basic woodworking/ cabnetry (Online or at your local Vocational sghool)
  • Join a carving club or form your own.
  • Follow directions (at least the first time or two. Then develop your own way)
  • Use common sense.
  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. (Sorry, I was in the Trash business for about 10 years)
  • Use your resources (The library, order a book online or use other online resources such as http://walkingstickforum.com.)
  • If you don't know, ASK!
  • If you're happy with it, it's good.
  • Teach someone.
  • Learn!
Some things have been repeated more than once either because they fall under several categories and/ or they are worth repeating (Such as "SAFETY FIRST"!)
This list is a work in progress and, as such is incomplete
 

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Add: good boots, waterproof, calf high if possible.

For myself, "getting the lay of the land" is a first step. Scout out a whole area. Better to know where the good stuff is, and start collecting there.

Add a whistle to needful things.

Binoculars and/or magnifying glass. Mostly for fun, but its good to be able to start a fire with a glass.

Any rattlers, water moccasins, etc where one is going? Great Horned Owls (sometimes too stupid to know humans aren't prey but attack anyway.)
 

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I'm going collecting with Dennis.

If possible, take it at the rootball (sapling)

Don't cut the length you want, cut it a foot longer

Know the species you are cutting
 

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Good list of directions! I would add one suggestion if the land owner is kind enough to let you harvest sticks let him pick one and make him a staff or cane. You make a friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your input. Good suggestions, each and everyone. Think I'll save the Glenfiddich til the work is done or at least the tools are put away for the day. ;)
 

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Here's one I found out the hard way on. Familiarize yourself with what poison ivy, oak and sumac look like!!
Not just the leaves. You can get the oil off of the shaggy vine off season as well if you allergic. I used to be more allergic, but guess I've built up immunity(Thank you Lord) :)
 
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