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Hi all,

I am working on a hickory hiking staff. I have a fairly straight 50" long hickory stick that I have debarked. I really love the wavy grain and the feel of the white sapwood. Has anyone left their hickory sticks unfinished -- without sanding it too? Do you have pictures to share? :)

I know that the base of stick will get beaten up, so I thought I might get a copper end-cap for it. But leave the rest as is.

Another idea I had was to leave it un-sanded, but finish it with tung oil?

Any thoughts and suggestion on this? Thanks!!
 

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I know most of you across the pond use copper ferules .But brass ferules are much stronger and last much longer .don't know about the price over there but there cheap enough here .and with the trouble to go to getting copper tubing and working it it doesn't seem worthwhile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good point! I found the copper tubing at the local Lowes here in Princeton, NJ. I'll go and ask them if they have brass ferrules or I'll probably just order it.
 

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Other than the grip are there is not any reason to sand unless you want to. I would sand the grip area enough to insure a safe grip. Tung oil is a good choice for your finish.
 

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Good suggestions.

I too would advise to finish the stick (e.g. with tung oil). While it is not a guaranteed outcome, but there is a chance, that the unfinished hickory stick may develop cracks with time and may be more prone to be attacked by powder post beetles.

Good luck with your project.
 

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Boiled linseed oil is another option. It is relatively inexpensive, hickory tool handles, gunstocks, work benches etc. any wood that needs protection have been coated with it for years.
 

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Cobalt I use copper for my ferrules for a couple reasons. It's relatively cheap and is available anywhere that sells plumbing supplies. I also still have some left over from the last house remodel I did.

I do prefer the look of brass over copper but I would have to order brass tubing of the right diameter at a higher cost.

I like the look of the brass ferrules and the price is good at the site alador found but I'm concerned about how much grip the metal tip would have on a floor. The rubber tips are a lot more money on that site. The tips I make cost me under $3.00 each and are stable on all surfaces.

Littleknife raises some good points about finishing the stick. A finish will slow down any drying the stick still needs to do and will help prevent checking. While we do get some powder post beetle here, it's not something I worry about. I do think the problem is worse in some areas though.

Rodney
 

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I pay a lot of attention to the grip. Small bumps on a long walk can be as irritating as a pebble in the shoes. A good wrap works, but I prefer a smooth wood finish. Not too smooth, at least 220 grit, up to 400. I've done grips up to 1200 grit and they end up slippery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Other than the grip are there is not any reason to sand unless you want to. I would sand the grip area enough to insure a safe grip. Tung oil is a good choice for your finish.
I pay a lot of attention to the grip. Small bumps on a long walk can be as irritating as a pebble in the shoes. A good wrap works, but I prefer a smooth wood finish. Not too smooth, at least 220 grit, up to 400. I've done grips up to 1200 grit and they end up slippery.
I took out my stick for a walk along the canal and you both are absolutely right - I found it hard to find a good, comfortable grip and it was pretty irritating. I'll sand the grip down. I was planning to use a cork handlebar tape (http://www.amazon.com/Cinelli-Cork-Tape/dp/B003GIHKNS). I've used these on my bicycles and they are super comfy for long long rides!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Boiled linseed oil is another option. It is relatively inexpensive, hickory tool handles, gunstocks, work benches etc. any wood that needs protection have been coated with it for years.
I'll keep it in mind -- I haven't use BLO before but I know that many people prefer it to tung oil. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good suggestions.

I too would advise to finish the stick (e.g. with tung oil). While it is not a guaranteed outcome, but there is a chance, that the unfinished hickory stick may develop cracks with time and may be more prone to be attacked by powder post beetles.

Good luck with your project.
Cobalt I use copper for my ferrules for a couple reasons. It's relatively cheap and is available anywhere that sells plumbing supplies. I also still have some left over from the last house remodel I did.

I do prefer the look of brass over copper but I would have to order brass tubing of the right diameter at a higher cost.

I like the look of the brass ferrules and the price is good at the site alador found but I'm concerned about how much grip the metal tip would have on a floor. The rubber tips are a lot more money on that site. The tips I make cost me under $3.00 each and are stable on all surfaces.

Littleknife raises some good points about finishing the stick. A finish will slow down any drying the stick still needs to do and will help prevent checking. While we do get some powder post beetle here, it's not something I worry about. I do think the problem is worse in some areas though.

Rodney
Thanks for the suggestions. My plan now is to lightly sand the whole stick to remove some irregularities, bumps, etc and then sand the grip region pretty well. After that, I'll finish it with tung oil. Can't wait to get this guy done :)
 

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A brass ferule here is around 60pence each with a heavy duty reinforced brass ferule just under 1£ . its probably cheaper for me to use these as copper is pretty pricey here and even with fixing a rubber washer on the bottom of copper it wouldn't stay water proof for that long

I wouldn't even consider copper its to soft a metal but I do usually put a rubber ferule on sticks as well
 

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I leave alot of sticks unsanded. As long as they are still comfortable to hold, it's your stick do what you want with it!
 

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Boiled linseed oil is another option. It is relatively inexpensive, hickory tool handles, gunstocks, work benches etc. any wood that needs protection have been coated with it for years.
I like the look that linseed oil brings but in my area the high humidity tends to cause it to "bleed" out and get gummy.
 

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I like hickory for hiking sticks. My preference is sand the stick smooth then apply walnut stain. Next 3 coats of polyurethane. Letting each coat dry and sanding between each coat with 000 steel wool. You can also order tis for crutches from ebay to slip over your copper cap. Here's a picture of my hickory stick.

 

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I like hickory for hiking sticks. My preference is sand the stick smooth then apply walnut stain. Next 3 coats of polyurethane. Letting each coat dry and sanding between each coat with 000 steel wool. You can also order tis for crutches from ebay to slip over your copper cap. Here's a picture of my hickory stick.
I like the tail decoration. Wonder how long it will last.
 

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Hickory is s good field staff. It holds up well to heavy use. Nice rap and decoration.
 

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I like hickory for hiking sticks. My preference is sand the stick smooth then apply walnut stain. Next 3 coats of polyurethane. Letting each coat dry and sanding between each coat with 000 steel wool. You can also order tis for crutches from ebay to slip over your copper cap. Here's a picture of my hickory stick.
I like the tail decoration. Wonder how long it will last.
Not sure how long the Coyote tail will last. Ive had it for about 6 months and its been in rain and sun, still soft and the hide is soft.
 
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