Last Tuesday, April 16th, I was removing a few unwanted young trees along the property line, and noticed that many of them would make nice walking sticks. They were straight enough, and just the right diameter.
Now, I have more than enough walking sticks, one ordered off the internet, and most of the others purchased as walking stick blanks off E-bay, so I really don't need any more walking sticks.
Still, they were nice looking potential walking sticks, and it's been a couple years since I've made a walking stick. I decided on four that looked good to me, cut them about a foot or so longer than I wanted, trimmed off the side branches, and place them in a nice shady spot on the deck so that they could dry out.
How long to let them dry? I suppose it would be great if I had the patience to let them dry for a year, but I just am not patient enough for that. I'll try to wait till the final three feel light, then I'll take the bark off one of these three and begin working on it. If it does crack within a week or so after the bark is removed, I'll know I was in too big of a hurry. Only trying one at a time, just in case I was rushing it.
I did remove the bark from one of them almost right away, and the ends have begun to split. I coated the ends of that one (and the other three) with lemon oil, and hopefully that will limit any cracking or splitting. Supposedly melted wax on the ends of newly cut sticks will keep them from splitting as they dry, though I have never tried that.