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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this is probably a very simple question but would rather look stupid and ask than make the wrong choice for my first attempt and regret it. This small burl is ready to work and I wondered what grit paper I should start with to begin smoothing it down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I hope to put it on a nice thin shank and make a cane from it. But really want to keep the patterning.
 

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Depends on what you mean by patterning :)

If you mean the grain, you can hit it pretty hard on the front end and the grain should still pop with a polish at the end. It looks fairly smooth, maybe start around 80-150 lightly and see how it goes.

If you mean the texture, trying to keep and clean up the ridges a bit, I would take a softer approach and just rub it around with some steel wool for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Depends on what you mean by patterning :)

If you mean the grain, you can hit it pretty hard on the front end and the grain should still pop with a polish at the end. It looks fairly smooth, maybe start around 80-150 lightly and see how it goes.

If you mean the texture, trying to keep and clean up the ridges a bit, I would take a softer approach and just rub it around with some steel wool for a while.
Sorry I meant grain. So thanks will give that a try next week.
 

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Not sure if British and American sandpaper grits are measured the same. I'm using American measurements.

Your first step is to decide how and where you're going to mount the burl and drill your mounting hole. Better to figure it out now so you don't mess up your finish afterward.

This is how I finish my sticks.

It it's really rough start with a file or rasp to smooth it up.

I use 80 or 100 grit (coarse) first then work down to finer papers, sand until all scratches from the previous grit are gone. Say 80, 150 then 220 grit to start. Then use an oil finish. Boiled linseed oil or tung oil are both good. The oil will help highlight the grain.

Each coat takes about a day to dry.

After the first coat or two sand again lightly with 320 or 400 grit to smooth any raised grain.. If oiling reveals a bunch of sanding scratches that you missed, sand through the grits again until they're gone.

Oil it again and recheck your work. You're probably pretty good by now. Sand some more if you're not happy.

Continue oiling until you're happy with the shine, for me that's usually 6 or 7 more coats. If you prefer a film finish like a varnish or shellac, use that instead.

After the final coat I let the stick cure a few days then use fine steel wool and wax to buff out any dust in the finish.

Bark-on shanks don't require much more than a good cleaning and maybe a light touch of fine sand paper or steel wool to prep for your finish.

It sounds like a lot of work but after the first couple of coarser grits are done the rest of the steps go pretty quickly.

Rodney
 

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Everybody has a different approach. Me and this is based solely on your picture, I would start out with a 220 grit and see how that goes. If it is too fine to take off the amount of material necessary than I would go more aggressive say 120 - 150 and work back down to 220.

For me I usually don't sand anything finer than 220 as it is a walking stick it is bound to get dinged up in use. Sanding to too fine a grit also will inhibit some woods from accepting stains and oils. The instructions for sanding on the brands of stain and poly I use only suggest sanding to 220 grit.

Finishing, I like satin polyurethane, after allowing it to thoroughly dry 4-5 days, I will buff or burnish my pieces with a brown paper grocery bag or old denim blue jean. Both are abrasive enough to smooth out minute imperfections or dust in a finish.

There is no wrong way to work your piece, one suggestion though, do some experimenting on scrap before attacking a piece that is not easily replaced. And have fun with it!

Mark
 

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First I would suggest sanding down the over all roughness with 80 grit. Then locating the place you will put the dowel or threaded rod to connect to the shank and install that.If you are going to drill a hole to fit the shank itself in rather than a rod or dowel,You can cut a 2 to 3 inch piece of wood that will fit the hole. then drill a hole thought the center of it and use a 31/2 inch wood screw to hold it in place while you are work an the ball. then just unscrew it and in stall you shank. it will be easier to shape and sand with something you can hold on to or clamp to. The texture of the burl goes fairly deep and if it is like most burl I have worked it is very hard. if it is you may want to start with a rasp,once you have it shaped and smoothed to your liking I would finish it up working from 100 to 400 grit.
 

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I haven't made canes or walking sticks yet, but a trick I use often for my woodworking projects is to wipe the wood down with denatured alcohol or mineral spirits between coats. This removes the dust and lets you see where you are with the grain, highlights any scratches or dull areas... then evaporates.
 
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Nice one glops the transition looks perfect bet you cant feel the joint when you run the fingers down it

have difficulty getting hold of burr the balance looks good

stick makers are so particular with the thickness of the handle and have very high standards at show level but it looks good enough for that
 

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What do you aim for on thickness? I've been making mine fairly chunky at about 1 3/8" at the widest across the back.

Rodney
 

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What do you aim for on thickness? I've been making mine fairly chunky at about 1 3/8" at the widest across the back.

Rodney
Whatever feels comfortable, all hands are different sizes, if making for myself I keep holding and reducing until it feels right. I also try to make the cross section of the handle alon the top into a "Kite " shape i.e. tapering down from the top to underside rather traing to keep round. I also prefer to curve the outer edge of the rear downturn just think it looks better, you can also make the end thicker and carve in a animal, bird , footprint etc.
 
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