I've given SERIOUS thought of how to finish the surface.
a) tons-o-sanding or
b) leave as-is
c) apply stain or
d) leave as-is
e) apply Formsby tung-oil or
f) leave as is.
This "stick" was harvested 3+ years ago by my brother - his 50+ acre wooded farm - and neither he nor I can identify the wood/tree. Please keep in mind it's upside down in that picture. It was a sapling - but had been "attacked" by Japanese honeysuckle vine (some of which is still in the cracks/crevices.)
Most of the twisties I've seen were peeled and varnished. The advantage to that is it will define the twists a little more.
Without the stick in my hand I can't say for certain whether I would leave the bark on or take it off.
Either way, I would give it some varnish or oil of some type. I probably wouldn't stain it. It might be worthwhile to try a little of your finish on the bark to see how it looks before you decide to peel it or not.
Good thing about it. Your work always looks good so whichever way you go you'll end up with a nice stick.
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