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Half Staff?

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Project by leafherder posted 08-26-2018 08:10 PM 541 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I call this one Half Staff because it is only half finished. It is a Mulberry walking staff 68 inches tall. I twisted two mulberry trees together as they grew to get the shape, then cut them down when they reached the correct size. Used my Dremel rotary tool to sand some of the curves and shape the dome on the top but the rest was just a coarse file and sandpaper. A guy at work volunteers at the local Renaissance Festival and I asked him if he wanted a walking stick to go with his costume. I showed him the rough staff and he loved it, but wanted to add his own decorations so I gave it to him half finished – sanded to 320 grit but did not go all the way through the various layers of bark so any stain or varnish he adds will bring out a nice pattern in the wood. He mentioned wrapping some red leather around it for a hand grip, and will be looking for a custom metal tip.

Questions, comments, and critiques welcome. Thanks for looking, sorry about the poor pictures, was in a rush because the Festival opens in 1 week.

-- Leafherder





16 comments so far

View Druid's profile

Druid

1827 posts in 2915 days


#1 posted 08-26-2018 08:23 PM

Now I’m interested in seeing how your friend finishes the second half. I’d like to see how the finish brings out the patterns of grain and bark.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View ralbuck's profile

ralbuck

5004 posts in 2386 days


#2 posted 08-26-2018 08:27 PM

Looking good so far, and I agree with John.


Now I m interested in seeing how your friend finishes the second half.

- Druid


-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

1523 posts in 2071 days


#3 posted 08-26-2018 08:38 PM

Thanks Druid and Ralbuck. I told him I wanted a picture when he had it all done but that might take him a while. This weekend was “dress rehearsal” for the festival and it opens next weekend. When I get the finished pics I’ll post them.

-- Leafherder

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2073 posts in 3064 days


#4 posted 08-26-2018 08:48 PM

For one of my sticks, I turned a top, sealed it in lacquer, coated that with graphite, then threw it in a acid-copper sulfate bath at about a half amp and four volts to get this copper plated top.

To mount it on the staff, I used a double threaded dowel bolt/screw to mount it.

That’s one possibility for a solution to your “custom metal tip.”

“[H]e mentioned wrapping some red leather around it for a hand grip, and will be looking for a custom metal tip.”

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

1523 posts in 2071 days


#5 posted 08-26-2018 10:55 PM

Thanks for the info Kelly, but that choice is up to him (he might have been thinking about the festival blacksmith). He is an part-time artist who has had his work in local galleries so I trust his judgement on whatever he wants to do with it.

Trying to attach a picture of the full staff but it keeps saying the file is too big. Will keep trying.

-- Leafherder

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

1523 posts in 2071 days


#6 posted 08-26-2018 10:59 PM

I hope this worked.

-- Leafherder

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

1523 posts in 2071 days


#7 posted 08-26-2018 10:59 PM

Yay it worked and is even right side up.

-- Leafherder

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2073 posts in 3064 days


#8 posted 08-26-2018 11:07 PM

That photo does the stick a lot more justice.


I hope this worked.

- leafherder


View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3972 posts in 1887 days


#9 posted 08-27-2018 11:26 AM

That came out nicely. I love the initial color of mulberry… I’ve been asked to make one of these and have till next spring to find an apple tree so I can harvest a branch for the staff.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

1523 posts in 2071 days


#10 posted 08-27-2018 06:55 PM

Thanks Mahdee,

That Silver Bough project sounds interesting, be sure you post pictures when it’s done, hope you find a suitable apple tree.

-- Leafherder

View rodneywt1180b's profile

rodneywt1180b

177 posts in 506 days


#11 posted 08-27-2018 07:57 PM

Great job on the staff. Not something you see every day and most people can’t say they grew it themselves.
I know I completely lack the patience necessary for that.

Mahdee: The apple I’ve worked with (not much I admit) really moved a lot and split when it was drying. I’d recommend sealing the ends when you cut it and not touching it for at least a year while it dries.

-- Rodney, Centralia, WA, USA www.etsy.com/shop/ASturdyStick

View Druid's profile

Druid

1827 posts in 2915 days


#12 posted 08-27-2018 10:02 PM

Just a quick comment re apple wood splitting. I certainly have experienced the problem described by Rodney, and I have a couple of suggestions that may help with some cane and staff projects.
First of all, pay attention to the sap content of the wood before you cut it. When the sap is rising in Spring, you will have the highest risk of checking as the piece dries, but the risk will be far lower if you cut the wood during winter when the sap content is lowest.
Next, I have found that I have been able to significantly reduce end checking by cutting the piece about 4 to 6 inches long, at both ends, and I leave the bark on the extra length sections. Even though I prefer to remove the bark as soon as I get each piece, leaving the bark on the ends seems to act as a reinforcement band and significantly reduce the end checks.
As a final precaution, I also have a wide mouth jam jar containing clear Thompson Water Sealer, and I simply dip each end of the wood into this to minimize the rate of moisture loss. Latex paint will give a similar effect.
I live in an area with many types of orchards, so fruit wood is available if permission is first given by the orchard owner to select pieces from their pruning piles.
Hope this helps. Let me know. ;)
Most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing how Leafherder’s Mulberry walking staff turns out.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2073 posts in 3064 days


#13 posted 08-28-2018 12:26 AM

I live in orchard country (we have thousands upon thousands of acres of apples, pears, peaches, nectarines and pears). A hundred acres at a time of one variety of apples is pulled to make way for the newest craze [overseas]. As such, giving attention to sap content doesn’t come into play. Call it a “beggars can’t be” thing. The rest of the info is spot on.

I, frequently, fill cracks with epoxy and it can be made a part of the project, enhancing it. The only picture I have of the effect is on some butternut, but it gives and idea of the outcome.

Most looking at the turning don’t even notice the “grain going the other way.”

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2073 posts in 3064 days


#14 posted 08-28-2018 12:29 AM

Oh herder of leaves, get on the stick (did ya get that pun). We’re too impatient to wait five more years to see your next Leafhearder-Nature collaboration. A little more Miracle Grow, if you please. [insert knee slap here ;)]

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3972 posts in 1887 days


#15 posted 08-28-2018 02:55 PM

Thank you leafherder. I have two apple trees but I pruned the heck out of them last year. I might find a branch to do this job from one of them.
Rodney and John,
Thanks for the info. The gentleman that wants this has certain requirements in order the the cane to have “magical powers”. It has to be harvested while in bloom or fruiting. He wants the bark on and not sure what kind of handle will go on it. Anyways, I told him it will be next fall before it is ready.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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