Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best wood for stick making?
Traditionaly hazel, holly, and blackthorn. Other woods are also useful especially fruit woods crab apple cherry types and some ornamental woods.
Hazel being the best strenght to wieght ratio with a good taper.
Holly very durable bark on bark off a well finished stripped holly is something special the finish simalar to bone.
Blackthorn very distinctive maroon bark finish with a knobbly shank tends to be rather thin but very strong.
Crab apple attractive bark and knobbly shank.
What is the best stick for bush beating?
Any thing you can find on the day if you don’t want to keep it. A well season holly will last
a good while even if the bark comes off.
How do you get them so straight?
First cut them straight no dog legs, tie them in bundles of aprox 10 sticks and season for at least a year or more.
Once seasoned check for straightness and if they have moved in the drying out process steam them over boiling water
and take out any bends by levering on a rig or over your knee. Re-bundle leave to cool they should then stay straight.
What do you use to finish the shank?
After cleaning and fine sanding, finish with any wood preserving oil, for a working stick several coats of linseed oil will do,
for a better finish there are many different finishing oils, several coats are required, most stickmakers try and avoid varnishes.
How do you get them to twist?
You can artificially twist sticks whilst they are growing by wrapping a copper wire round the shank, but the natural
twist is coursed by the honeysuckle vine twisting around the stem, it is only the honeysuckle that does this.
How do you attach things to the top of the stick?
First make sure the attachment fits the stick and is well balanced. Drill a hole 6mm or 8mm into the shank and into the joining
piece, insert 6or 8mm studding into the shank approx. 50mm and 50mm into the attachment then glue together
with a two part epoxy resin type glue. Always use the studding in the joint it adds strenght. simple!