Walking Stick Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a nice piece of hazel that I collected many years ago. Unlike those living in Europe, I spent three years looking for a hazel large enough to use as a walking stick. We may have millions of them growing here, but they rarely get larger than 3/4" in diameter. I want the bark to turn out really nice and keep the pattern that is on it. What is the best way to prepare and protect the bark? All the sticks I've made so far have been bare wood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
I use the hazel native to my area and usually I just wash it if it needs it and oil it. Hopefully one or two of our British members will chime in. They use a lot of hazel there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,126 Posts
I have no experience with hazel, here in the central U.S.A. A very expensive experiment may deplete your whiskey budget for a while. An expensive chemical product, Pentacryl, is made to replace the water within the cells of the wood, thus reducing shrinkage. I speculate that bark shrinkage may differ from sapwood shrinkage, and contribute to the separation of bark from the sapwood.

If your hazel has been sitting a long time, it's likely already dried, and this experiment would not change anything.

I was fortunate that a neighbor had a diseased beech tree cut down, and I harvested a stick. I liked the yellow-white bark so much that I made a PVC tube for soaking sticks in Pentacryl. I can't say that the Pentacryl is responsible, but I've used my beech stick for years now, and the bark remains attached. Sum beech!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
The stick is very dry and the bark firmly attached, so no need for experimentation on this stick. :) I just need the best way to preserve the look of the bark. I did just finish a mountain maple stick with the bark, which I think turned out nicely, but the bark was quite bland to begin with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
I use tung oil. Any oil will darken it slightly but I like the look. If you want to preserve the color as much as possible you might try a clear lacquer or even a water based finish. Maybe experiment on an end piece first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
715 Posts
I've never worked with hazel, either. In my area we have beaked hazel (which I had been brought up to call "filberts" and never made the connection until a year or so ago) which only get to about the size you mentioned.
One type of wood I do use and have had great luck in preserving the bark color on, is yellow birch. I tend to go the non-traditional route, though, and finish most of my sticks with polyurethane. Nothing against oil; I have been trying it on some sticks lately, and like how it looks, but it does tend to darken, as Rodney mentioned.

Test some off cuts and see what you like best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
It's a beaked hazel that's native here too. It gets big enough but finding sticks straight enough to make a shank is a challenge. The bark tends to be a dark red-brown. I like it when I get it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The stick I have is beaked hazel. It's quite beautiful. It's a combination of a grey background with light brown striping. I will have to cut off a section, so maybe I'll start there and see what works. I tend to use Danish Oil. I find Tung can leave a sticky residue sometimes, although it didn't on the two axe handles I recently did. Maybe I'll bring some to camp with me to try.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Hi, first post & I'm picking your brains already.. :D

I'm in the UK, made a few sticks but I've never used them myself....

I river fish a lot & it's coming with age that I need a third leg while in the water. A few year ago I collected some hazel, it's seasoned & I've picked a piece that I want to make a staff with.

Going to fit a stag antler handle to suit my needs, all the work making the stick isn't a problem, my question is what's highlighted in this thread, (I want to keep the bark) so what would be the best treatment for the bark/stick, taking into account that it will be in the water quite a lot.

Cheers,

OXO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
Welcome aboard OXO.

It's not something I've had to deal with. Stitch and glue boat builders use epoxy to seal the wood on their boats. The disadvantage on a stick would be it would be easy to get the epoxy too thick and have it look like plastic.

It might be enough to seal the bottom with epoxy when you install your tip, finish as usual and wax the stick between trips. If you fish frequently you may need more than one stick so they have time to dry thoroughly between uses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Thanks for the reply Rodney.

I've read up a bit on a suggestion by a member & have decided to go with linseed, I'll let the stick dry then coat before each outing, good idea sealing it I'll bear that in mind at the time.

TBH it's not a big deal, hazel in our part of the world is in abundance.

The thought crossed my mind because the bark is very dark on this piece & coupled with Antler which is dark it will look well, I just wanted to keep it that way, more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Thanks,

OXO
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top