Wood types for sticks

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Wood types for sticks

Post  thestickman on Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:55 am

I tend to use mostly hazel - which grows in abundance in the woods near my home - and also smaller quantities of ash, sycamore, birch, blackthorn, rowan, holly, elder and a few others. I also use bought-in Spanish chestnut which doesn't really grow round here - though there are places in southern England where it does grow well.

Keith

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Sycamore

Post  John Simpson on Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:04 pm

When i was in your class Keith, you said that sycamore wasn't much good. Have you changed your mind or did i misunderstand you?

John

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Sycamore

Post  thestickman on Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:36 pm

I'm not a great fan of sycamore - by that I mean the "sycamore maple" Acer pseudoplatanus (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sycamore_maple ) and not the American sycamore Platanus occidentalis - because it tends to be quite a lightweight stick, which is often thought of as being weaker than a heavier stick. This can be off-putting to customers so I tend to use hazel most of the time.
Sycamore is a great carving wood though and i use it a lot for carving bird and fish heads on my sticks.

Keith.

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Some Michigan types

Post  John Ellison on Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:43 pm

Books say American Hazel grows around here but I have not found a bush yet, will be looking hard this summer. Beaked hazel north and south of here...but sparse.

White oak is a prime sapling up to 1", they grow straight, with ridges in the bark that give contrast if you strip the bark off, if not some bark will be gray or green and keep it's color after drying. Straightens well if not too thick.

Alder is the next truest straight stick growing and looks good with the bark on or lightly sanded it shows a red tint. The wood is very wet since it is a swamp wood so it shrinks and sometimes leaves the bark loose after putting it in a clamp.

I like sycamore (american) if you can find a sapling, the tree is slow to propagate in my area so I won't take one unless there are many in the area.

Hickory is abundant and makes a nice stick, either a knob stick or one topped. Heavy solid wood.

Another heavy solid wood I get is dogwood, I don't know if it's the roughleaf or red osair (sp) type. Only grows about 15ft high and fairly straight. It's also a wet wood but dries solid as a rock.

Up north I can get Bebbs Willow one of the 27 types that grows with the diamond patterns but with the price of gas these days I doubt I will be making the trip very often.

I don't like silver maple, it's just to soft for most uses and the grain is not tight enough. Most maple is not to good but last year I found a straight sapling and it had 17rings in 1" diameter. This was an extreamly strong stick. The leaves were gone so I will have to go back this year and see just which type it was.

Some type of cherry are around here but I have not been sucsessful and bending it straight yet, everyone I tried broke and or the bark fell off. I'm going to keep trying.

Beech is a strong wood and easy to peel or if you want a gray shaft its smooth bark is nice. If stripped the wood does not have to much character but would be good for pyro or painting.

Sassafras - i'm still looking for some, it's everywhere but where I can cut it.

I must have missed a few but these are the most common here.

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wood types

Post  Jeffrey Pitts on Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:59 pm

We have alot of sweet gum here. It gets a nice deep twist as honeyysuckle vines grow around it so I cut a large number of this. The gum has a spiral grain to it which makes it very hard to split or carve when dry but adversly makes it a light strong staff.

Since the Eastern Shore of Virginia is surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, our terrain is low and wet. This makes for good conditions for holly. When I can find a thick growth of these I can usually find some very straight ones.

I've also cut some Crepe Myrtle which seems to make a strong but slightly heavy stick.

I cut some sticks from a bush we call privit but haven't tried them yet. I'm not sure they will be strong enough when dry but thought I'd try it since several had nice natural thumb stick forks.

We also have sassafras here of which I cut about 10 this winter.

Jeffrey

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