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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in Indiana, and there are 2 trees strongly associated w. the state. The first is the "liriodendron tulipifera", tuiip tree, the state tree. The other is the sycamore, as mentioned in the famous song "On the banks of the Wabash." I've used tulip, aka yellow poplar, for picture frames, but do not think it would be good for a hiking stick. I've picked up a couple of pieces of sycamore. Here is a shot of piece #2. SycamoreMidway53.jpg

This piece had fallen from a tree, and had many bulbous protrusions. I suppose those might qualify as burls. I've been work on it every few days. Much of the "burl" seems to rotten to include in a stick. I've been cutting out the crumbly, brittle dark wood.

SycamoreMidway53.jpg

You might notice in the second image that there is a bit of glint on the wood.

After a bit of sanding at 400 grit, I rubbed the wood w. a ceramic knife hone. Even soft and rather rough wood comes to a gloss w. that.

I need to fill or harden the areas where the wood hard but crumbly. The insides of the "burl." Any suggestions.

FWIW, I think sound branches of sycamore would be good walking/hiking sticks.
 

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Very nice, lots of unique character.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've decided that because there is a small orangish ring around each void, I will save sanding dust from the yew heartwood I'm working on. Then get some "WeldBond" glue, which says it dries transparent and waterproof. Mix the two for filler. But I don't think that will work for the large hole at the top, where there remains a small wood bridge. May try to find a wave polished piece of quartz or agate from my rock garden that will fit. Epoxy that in, and fill any small gaps w. the home made putty.
 

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I've decided that because there is a small orangish ring around each void, I will save sanding dust from the yew heartwood I'm working on. Then get some "WeldBond" glue, which says it dries transparent and waterproof. Mix the two for filler. But I don't think that will work for the large hole at the top, where there remains a small wood bridge. May try to find a wave polished piece of quartz or agate from my rock garden that will fit. Epoxy that in, and fill any small gaps w. the home made putty.
This old geologist likes the rocky idea! Working on a similar thing myself with a rock that I found on an old mine dump on vacation with my family about 30 years ago. A piece will go into each of our walking sticks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dammit man,very sweet handle...Keep us posted on the progress....
Will do. I'm terribly slow at this. It will be awhile before I have much progress to show. I worked on that stick yesterday, mostly more shaving to shape, and sanding. When my wife returned home from work, I could point to the pile of sawdust at my feet, and say, "Well, there's what I've accomplished for the day."
 

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Dammit man,very sweet handle...Keep us posted on the progress....
Will do. I'm terribly slow at this. It will be awhile before I have much progress to show. I worked on that stick yesterday, mostly more shaving to shape, and sanding. When my wife returned home from work, I could point to the pile of sawdust at my feet, and say, "Well, there's what I've accomplished for the day."
I can relate. I'm relegated to the back porch, except when it's really cold outside and she takes pity on me. However, sanding in the house after her cleaning day is a no-no. I have learned to use the vacuum cleaner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I did a trial yesterday of filling 2 knot holes lower in the shaft. Didn't work out so well. The final color and texture was almost identical to some of the crumbly knot wood I have not yet removed. I think I will probably dig the filling out.

But I am worried about how rotted the "burls" are on the inside. I'm afraid if the top was given a good rap, it would shatter. I think I will try dabbing some of the clear drying glue into some of the smaller knot holes down the shaft. If it dries matte or satin, I think that might work to solidify the bigger holes.
 

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I use super glue..Holds everything together and goes deep into all the crevises and make it solid...I use the thick stuff so it doesn`t dry so fast....
 

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I use super glue..Holds everything together and goes deep into all the crevises and make it solid...I use the thick stuff so it doesn`t dry so fast....
I think you are suggesting that he "impregnate" a walking stick! Oh Noooooooo :thumbsu:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I use super glue..Holds everything together and goes deep into all the crevises and make it solid...I use the thick stuff so it doesn`t dry so fast....
I think you are suggesting that he "impregnate" a walking stick! Oh Noooooooo :thumbsu:
Oooops,I forgot to tell him to use protction too.....LOL...
So that's what the latex gloves at the wood shops are for...

O.K. I have to share this. Some years ago, a tulip tree growing in our back yard was getting too close to the main powerline, so I decided to cut it down before a storm whipped it into the line. I saved the bottom 7', which was about 6" thick, and free from branches. The wood has been curing for at least 5 years now, and I decided to remove the bark. Not having a workbench yet, I ended up sitting astride it on a garden bench so I could use a draw knife.

My wife came out to ask about starting dinner, looked at my rather awkward position and said "Is that a log between your legs, or you just happy to see me?"

The joke starts "There was once this wood worker (nudge. nudge, wink wink)..."
 

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I would not fill the gaps, I like the character they give.

As for strength, sometimes you just have to give it a whack and see what's left. I'd rather know on the front end then when I needed it. Sometimes I've actually uncovered deeper issues and sometimes I get better results than i expected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
continuing:

I decided that the biggest voids did need to be filled. I really like the way the stick looks, so I am trying to prevent portions from disintegrating.

The biggest void is in the top most "burl." I would have liked to epoxy in a piece of Lake Superior quartz, but none of the pebbles I have fit well. I decided to shape some wonderful yew heartwood, and use that on top of wood hardening filler. The yew is not as nice as a bit of reddish agate, but is a whole lot easier to shape.

Pic1 is the rough yew plug in the burl hollow.

Pic2 is the shaped yew plug set into the hollow.

Pic3 shows it partially sanded. I'm still not happy with the rim of epoxy filler that I placed in the gaps between the stick wood and the plug. Hope that stuff will become unnoticeable.

As I'm carving more yew plugs, I've noticed that some feel a little damp. I will put them in a warm spot for a couple of weeks before using them.

Pic1.jpg Pic2.jpg Pic3.jpg
 

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Wow,what a good idea....Keep working at it...Might have to blend in the rim where the epoxy,wood and the insert is...But man thats gonna look sweet when done..
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow,what a good idea....Keep working at it...Might have to blend in the rim where the epoxy,wood and the insert is...But man thats gonna look sweet when done..
I do want to minimize the distraction the epoxy band makes. The sycamore is nice, but the yew heartwood is the most attractive native wood I have ever used. I have to wait at least 18 mo.s before the main branches are cured enough for carving. In the meantime, I'll practice on the odds and ends that I don't mind loosing to splitting, and/or crummy carving.
 
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