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  • Cracking , bark or no bark

    Just got back into carving and I'm starting with walking sticks . I have 5 sticks with the bark removed , all live growth so after carving the bark off they felt like a pealed carrot . Some started to have some things cracks , I'm trying wood glue in the crack to see if it stops the crack from getting longer , also glued the cut ends to see if it helps. Stay Sharp .

    Chris

  • #2
    Outdoors (cool) and under cover. Slow the drying down short of freezing the stick.
    The rustic furniture shop down my street harvests 5 cords of diamond willow every spring as 8' sticks.
    They expect to lose 12" off each end with cracking, as the years go by.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      Thanks Brian
      I keep the sticks in the basement , probably the basement is to warm and dry. Thank again Brian for taking the time in answering my post so fast . Stay Sharp .

      Chris

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      • #4
        Green sticks take about a year to dry and it is best to cut them longer than needed, paint the ends, leave the bark on, and stack them so they can all get airflow around them.

        Some checking at the ends will usually occur, hence the cutting them longer than needed.

        I've probably gone through thousands of sticks over the years and haven't found any shortcuts to the above.

        Good luck Chris and glad to meet another stick maker. There are a few on the forum...

        Oh, some people will fill cracks with ground turquoise or other type chips. It depends on the style you want.
        Last edited by woodburner807; 01-07-2020, 09:57 PM. Reason: Added info
        Bill
        Living among knives and fire.

        http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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        • #5
          Thanks Bill
          Wish it didn't take so long before I could work on the sticks . The first stick I carved was from a downed tree , have no idea how long it was there but the wood was as hard as a rock , I had to scrape the bark instead of carving . Didn't crack at all , I think it is oak . I cut some nice white birch , I already remove the bark , even though it is a fresh cut the bark was a bit tough to remove . I will get out again and try to find a downed or cut down tree that is dried and not rotten . Want to get started . I finished four sticks 3 from downed trees but one was a fresh cut that I gave to a friend , all came out well . I sanded them down by hand , all as smooth as glass , I stain and then use a minwax tinted hard wax . The fresh cut one I gave to a friend must look like a prune by now . Thanks for answering my post Bill . Stay Sharp.

          Chris

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          • #6
            I like to finish my sticks with a few coats of tung oil and when dry (about a day) I apply Johnson's floor wax. I like the finish and have been addicted to it. Many other options but haven't found a reason to change.

            Where are you located, Chris? I was blessed to be in the AZ desert area for a while and the sticks dried faster than needed. Mesquite wood. Here along the Oregon coast, it seems like forever.

            Unless you make a kiln or make some type of dryer, no way to rush the process. BTW, sometimes "flecked" bark on sticks looks nice, especially lodgepole pine. Basically you skim off small areas of bark. and leave a "flecked" look. I've made several but prefer another style.

            Making sticks covers a broad area of knowledge and you just need to poke around and ask questions. Oak can be tough but birch is nice.
            Bill
            Living among knives and fire.

            http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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            • #7
              I can't add much to what's already been said, but I notice that some species seem to crack more easily than others. I've got a bunch of hackberry on my place, and while it looks cool as a stick (lots of bud bumps) it frequently seems to often crack in lengths of feet, rather than inches (it's a very wet wood). Birch and willow . . . they seem pretty stable. Eastern red cedar . . . somewhere in the middle. I have great hopes for some hedge I cut in early fall . . . but time will tell.

              I suspect much of the cracking also has to do with the climate where you live, and when you cut, so your mileage may vary. I've learned quickly to keep the sticks hanging out in the shed, and not bring them into the house or garage until they're ready. I'm generally leaving bark on until the stick is dry . . . partly because it seems to slow the cracking factor, and partly because I'm starting to like sticks with a lightly sanded bark.

              There's definitely a need for patience in terms of allowing the stuff to dry on its own terms
              Website: http://www.ronmarr.com

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              • #8
                Bill , I live in Nassau county LI, NY. Was originally from the city but after serving in the Army I love being with trees and grass . Now retired I got back into working with wiid . I will bring my stick out side , I will give tung oil a try also linseed oil . I have a covered deck in the back , is it best to have the sticks standing or laying down ? Thanks again Bill.

                Rontana
                Thanks for answering , how or where did you guys learn the types of wood ( trees ) I my neck of the woods I don't think there are many varieties . LI , NY. The leaves are off the trees , can you tell by the bark ? The term we used when I was in the service was FNG now I'm one of those . Sorry for all the lame guestions . I thank you all for the help . Be well .

                Chris

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                • #9
                  You are in a high level of humidity and kind of like here, and it takes forever to dry as opposed to inland areas. To dry the sticks it is best then be laying down and has adequate airflow through them.

                  WW1 era rifles were finished with linseed oil and then they went to tung oil. My Dad was an antique/furniture restorer/refinisher and I've tended to replicate what he did...since he knew. However, there are many more finishes available out there and everyone has their favorite. I like about 3 coats of tung oil to give the finish some "depth."

                  BTW, thanks for your military service.
                  Bill
                  Living among knives and fire.

                  http://www.westernwoodartist.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    hey Chris . . . part of the fun (to me . . . and I'm pretty new at this as well) is experimenting. Woods, finishes, just did an acrylic paint wash on one stick (acrylic mixed with water) and it turned out surprisingly nice.

                    I mostly just know the trees in my area and on my place (I'm on a farm). Mostly by leaves, some by bark . . . but it's just stuff I grew up with. Put me in a different part of the country and I could only say . . . "well . . . I'm pretty sure it's a tree."
                    Website: http://www.ronmarr.com

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                    • #11
                      Bill
                      I plan on experimenting with different oils and stains , I like the natural wood grain look . Will attempt some carving and wood burning images . The last canes I carved I would burn in the park and date I cut them from , but now that I'm all out hooked it's a new ballgame to me . I'm really enjoying it . Plus I enjoy talking with you guys on my new hobby .

                      Chris

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                      • #12
                        Rontana
                        I'm a country boy at heart , I'm living on LI NY. When I go upstate NY with the mountains and trees it's like I died and went to heaven . Just love the out doors . I'm going to read up on trees but in my area there isn't much to choose from . As long as it has the right shape it's mine, I even have one of those fold up saws in my car , I'm turning into a Mimi lumberjack . It's a nice hobby for me . My friends get a kick out of it and rag me , but when they see the finished product I see that spark in their eyes , hopefully the hobby doesn't spread , there's not a lot of trees on LI . Be Well

                        Chris

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                        • #13
                          You might look into getting a compound bypass lopper . . . saws are good but I'm lazy.

                          I use one when out looking for material (mine cuts stuff up to 2" diameter). If you've not seen them, they're just limb loppers with a ratcheting mechanism for easier use. They're pretty handy, and usually run between $30-$40.
                          Website: http://www.ronmarr.com

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                          • #14
                            Thanks Ron
                            I looked up the ratcheting lopper , it's going to be another tool I'll be driving around with .
                            Thanks again.

                            Chris

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                            • #15
                              Here are a couple of links for you, Chris.

                              Dendrology at Virginia Tech shows bark, buds, leaves etc.

                              The Wood Database | The Wood Database Shows the wood and gives lots of stats about each (Janka hardness is the most important to me - describes how hard it is to carve - high numbers = hard wood)

                              Claude
                              My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

                              My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

                              My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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