MAKING BOIS D ARC WALKING STICKS

jackf405
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MAKING BOIS D ARC WALKING STICKS
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I make walking sticks (or canes) out of Bois D Arc wood. Bois D Arc (pronounced bo dark) is a very dense hard wood. It has a resilience that made it an excellent wood for the plains Indians to make hunting bows.

During the 1930's drought in the dust bowl days in Oklahoma, there were hundreds if not thousands of shelter belts of Bois D Arc trees planted in rows to protect the farm fields from wind erosion. These trees should make a great source for wood for walking sticks. They have been used for fence posts since the 1930's and are almost indestructible. They don't rot and get so hard you can't drive a nail into them.

             TOP and BOTTOM:   Finished Bois D Arc canes
                                                              MIDDLE:                    Unfinished Bois D Arc cane


The secret to getting a long, straight branch that will make a good cain is: In the fall or winter, cut off a horizontal limb about the size of your arm. The next summer, this limb will send out vertical, long, straight shoots, that are ideal for making canes. At the fork of a limb, include part of the bigger limb for the handle and cut the long part at about 40 inches long.   Store it away to cure.  If it has a little bow to it, it can be strapped down to a piece of 2 x 4 or steel angle iron so it will be straight when it dries.

After I finished my first one, I tried to stain it but found it to be too dense to accept the stain.  I tried to darken it with a small propane torch but it was too dense for that to work. I then went to acetylene-oxygen torch and that worked wonderfully. I then used a cloth polishing wheel on an electric buffing motor. I was amazed to find that this gave it a nice shiney appearance.  No need for paint, stain or a clear sealer coating.  I have since learned this process is called carbonizing and has been used for years.

     Just a good, strong light weight cane.  This handle was not
                                                        glued on.  The whole cane is one piece.



                                                       This was an attempt to make an art deco looking car. Many
                                                        people have tried to buy it.  When I asked them how old they
                                                        thought it was, most guessed 70 to 80 years because of the
                                                        theme and finish.  They were shocked when I told them it was
                                                        2 weeks old.

     This is the same cane as in the middle of the first photo.  A ghecko in a roughed-in stage.

     Same cane, finished after some more carving, carbonizing and polishing.
     Same cane, left side. Remember, This is one piece of wood, not two pieces glued togather.
    Top of shaft of above cane.
 
If this was useful, check the YES box below.  If I don't get any favorable response I'll quit this foolishness.  Just a retired old man trying to pass on useful information.
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