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Manzanita Snake Head Cane, Back view

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Project by mmh posted 10-05-2008 05:30 PM 4396 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Manaznita wood can have a beautiful grain and this one has a red/burgundy spray feathered on the backside of this piece. The photo doesn’t really do this justice, but the wood is incredible.

I love creating art and functional art is my goal. For more information please visit: http://www.gallerymh.com

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe





5 comments so far

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 2851 days


#1 posted 10-05-2008 11:10 PM

Great looking stick!

I make Appalachian style hiking and walking sticks.
Currently, I am specializing in using one piece root handled sticks that I gather in the wild along the primitive Licking River in Kentucky. I dig up the plants in late winter, then hang them in my studio building and let them dry and season for at least a year. I usually carve them in the winter months. This winter I’m making a series of carved and burnt dragon heads. I use box elder, hackberry, silver maple, ironwood and other local species.

-- 温故知新

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

3474 posts in 2250 days


#2 posted 10-05-2008 11:54 PM

Really great piece.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View mmh's profile

mmh

3464 posts in 2445 days


#3 posted 10-06-2008 12:12 AM

I would love to see some of your canes and other work. I have not used any of the woods you mention, but they sound interesting. How hard are the elder, hackberry and silver maple? I have some ironwood scraps and that is really dense wood. Do you have dificulty working with it? I would love to get my hands on a natural shaped piece long enough to make a handle w/ shaft. I didn’t know ironwood grew in Kentucky.

Most of the woods I use are purchased and some are found. I have some holly, cherry, maple, pecan and a mystery wood that may be a locust family. The bark is almost black (very dark grey/brown) and is cracked in thin sheets. The wood has red and yellow rings in the cross section. It is commonly planted in our area of Maryland in parking lots so it must be very hardy and drought tolerant. The leaves are similar to a black walnut but much smaller and more oval, not pointed at the tip.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 2851 days


#4 posted 10-06-2008 10:32 PM

Box elder is a type of soft maple, aka the Ashleaf Maple that grows wild in abundance in moist areas. I collect it along hillsides, where the roots will bend to accommodate the slope of the hills. I collect box elder saplings in the early spring, just after the ground thaws. I gently dig away the dirt around the roots to see if they have a shape that I can use. If I like the plant, then I cut it below the ground surface with a small pruning saw. If I don’t want the plant, I return the dirt and move on. I trim most of the side branches off of the sapling I collect then hang them in my studio building to dry and cure for about one year. I leave the bark on during the drying but remove it when I’m ready to make canes and hiking sticks. I’ll collect about 100 box elder saplings this next gathering season.

Hackberry is related to elm and is easy to find along the ridges overlooking the river where I live. The bark has corky ridges that I pare away before drying the sticks. I generally leave the bark on when I make hiking and walking sticks with hackberry. I don’t like this wood as much as I like box elder, put it is plentiful and free.

Silver maple is an invasive species that grows in moist areas around here. It is a soft maple with a nice smooth and tight fitting bark when in the sapling stage of its growth. This is a good species for digging up to get the roots for natural cane handles. The local folks around here call this species Water Maple. I particularly look for vine twisted pieces of this species. Silver maple seems to attract vine growth in this area, mainly honeysuckle vines, and these “twisties” can is sold for a premium price. Silver maple is considered a trash wood in this area, so I don’t feel bad about collecting a lot of it each year. This is also the main wood that I use in my rustic furniture making.

Our local ironwood is also known as hornbeam. It is an under story wood that grows in the deep forest on the slopes of ravines and under other types of hardwoods. It’s hard to find and tends to grow sparsely. The roots can be very interesting and well worth harvesting. The plants have a thin grey bark that is tight fitting the surface is usually convoluted. The wood is cream colored and very hard. The grain is dense and undefined. The wood can be carved with sharp tools and it takes well to wood burning. I get a premium price for anything made from ironwood.

I only use local woods or found objects. I generally don’t buy wood, especially exotics that are not from this region. Occasionally I will use woods that I collect when I travel. Of course I realize that collecting materials in the wild is not necessarily cheaper than buying wood. However, I am selling my customers something special that can’t easily be acquired from the local lumberyard.

-- 温故知新

View mmh's profile

mmh

3464 posts in 2445 days


#5 posted 10-06-2008 10:54 PM

Thank you for the information! I have seen how Silver Maple grows rampant in wet areas and how it needs to be harvested to keep at bay, especially around homes. The hornbean must make a nice cane/walking stick for it’s denseness. Do you have any photos of your canes and the woods mentioned?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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