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Spalted Beech Shepherds Crook Handle


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I have recently acquired 3 spalted beech crook handles to make some walking sticks. They are'n't heavily spalted but just enough not to compromise the strength of the stick. Spalted wood is basically timber which is left to rot, find out more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spalting#Commonly_Spalted_Woods. My crook handles contain patches of white rot and zone lines. this particular one isn't heavily spalted at all infact its barely even lightly spalted but its my first attempt at such a handle and if I make a balls of it I won't be too upset about it.

 

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Spalted wood can be quite brittle and in order to prevent the crook from breaking the middle of it will have to be reinforced. This can be done in a few ways the first is to drill a hole lengthways in the handle of the shank and insert a hardwood dowel. You could also saw through the middle of the crook and insert a piece of Formica I was going to do this as it would be the easiest option but I can't get any sheets of formica here as they are not sold separately any more for health and reasons. final my last option was to saw the crook handle completly in two haves and insert a pieve of 6mm marine plywood. I've decided to go with the hardwood dowel.

 

Here is a picture of the top of the crook where I have marked out the basic shape of the stick.

 

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To get this shape I'm going to have to rasp and then sand the wood down. Thing is I'm going to have to be careful with rasping the wood as this can be quite harsh and I don't want to damage the handle.

 

Here is a picture of 30 Horn and Buffalo spacers which I've bought. I'm going to use 2 or 3 of these in the marriage of the crook handle to the shank. The shank I am hoping to use is a hazel shank and the spacers I hope to have at an angle rather than having them lying flat between the base of the handle and the top of the shank.

 

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Finally here's a picture of of an old Irish penny which has been made into a badge this will go on the shank, just for a bit of decoration.

 

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This stick may take a bit of time to finish off as I don't have a shank at the moment and only cut some hazel a few weeks ago so It'll be a good long 12 months while before they're ready. So basically don't hold your breath. I'll keep you posted in the meantime.

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Great project

 

On the spalting, if it is too pithy don't use it. If it is mild spaling, you can always drench it in Cyanoacrilate (superglue) to firm it up.

 

Do yourself a favour and buy and learn to use (if you cannot already) a spokeshave. They are fast and a joy to use, much nicer than a rasp.

 

Looking forward to seeing the finished job ???

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been doing a little work on my spalted beech handles. I used one of the other handles this time and what I have done is tried to drill a hole through the curved part of the top of the handle and insert a dowel that would reinforce it. However drilling a hole on a bend is far from easy and the rickety Lidl drill holder thingy that my father has in the shed is a heap of ****. I got the hole drilled but it was off to one side ******** to it anyway. I know a bad carpenter blames his tools and all but I never claimed to be a good one in the fit place. Here's the pic.

 

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So after drilling the hole the next thing I had to do was insert the dowel. The dowel I used was pine.I chose pine because the guy in the shop recommended it as the grain would run in the correct direction and it was easier than making one from a hardwood. I drilled a hole with a 9mm bit and the dowel was 9mm so I had to sand it so that it would go in I used Araldite to glue it in place. Here's a pic of the dowel.

 

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And heres a pic of the dowell being inserted into the stick.

 

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After this I had to cut a piece off the bottom of the handle shape it into a 9mm dowel and then insert it into the handle to disguise the hole. I didn't get any pics of my beech dowell but this is what the handle looks like now.

 

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Have a few more pics to post during the week so stay tuned.

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Just a few more pics, this is a picture of the end of the handle where it will be joined to the shank i.e the marriage. I've cut the handle at an angle.

 

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I don't exactly know what angle it is just that the buffalo horn an bone spacers diameter is the same length/width of the stick handle. picture quality isn't great.

 

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Now all I have to do is drill a hole in each of the spacers and align them with the hole I've drilled in the end of the handle, this is going to be fun........not!

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  • 3 weeks later...
Any more progress on this stick? I'm really anxious to see how the head/handle joint with the spacers comes out. It should look fantastic.

 

 

me too. im just about to start on a stick donated by a nice mod on here. (cheers H :( ), and i want to see the proccess in full. :lol:

 

Thanks for the replies guys,

 

Basically not a whole lot has been done with the crook handles since the last post, however here is what I have done so far, The following are pictures of the handle of one of the crooks being drilled. Its a fairly tricky business lining the drill up with the handle. I had marked the centre of where I wanted to drill. I used an 8mm bit for an 8mm threaded bar.

 

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After drilling the hole you can cut the handle to the desired angle.

 

Next thing to do was to drill holed in the buffalo horn and bone spacers. This is also well tricky. I used the biggest drill bit I had and I had to drill the holes off centre in order for the bone to line up on the handle. Because if you drill the holes straight in the centre of the spacers they are not going to line up properly.

 

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After drilling all the holes I inserted the threaded bar into the handle with the spacers and glued everything together with Araldite. In doing so making a balls of it I think that the white bone spacer isn't centred enough, judge for yourselves. The computer crashed as I was uploading to photobucket, excuse the lines at the bottom.

 

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But i think the uneven spacers will be easily disguised because the shank I picked up for this handle isn't particularly straight either.

 

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At last while out in the jungles of the East Cork / West Waterford Frontier I managed to find myself a hazel twisty stick, result! however its a long way off being ready to use as I only cut it the start of February.

 

Also I got a loan of a spoke shave to shape the handle.

 

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Basically that's all the news at the moment.

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DOD

 

How did you find the spoke shave at trimming the handle to shape? I have only used a rasp before and if a spoke shave was any good, I would look into acquiring one.

 

Thanks

 

Ade

 

Its quite usefull but takes a bit of practice, my father showed me how to use it, he's a carpenter. But its only good for the outside bend of the crook will have to find something else for the inside.

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  • 12 years later...
Posted (edited)

Sorry for resurrecting an old thread.
I found a spalted beech crook handle cut out in a press in the utility room, one of three that I had bought off someone on eBay years ago. I had started one of them, made a bad job of it and given up on it years ago. So I said I’ld have a go at this one and see if I could do something with it. 
 

So I was looking on google for some pictures of spalted beech crook handles and lo and behold this thread popped up.... and I had actually started it!!!... the crook handle that I hadn’t finished.

Anyway I fully intend to finish this one some pictures of progress so far; shaping the handle with a rasp, files and sandpaper it’s coming on nicely need to do some more sanding and profiling as it’s still a bit bulky in the hand. Need to decide on whether to use a collar or some spacers and ferrule. For the shank I have some straight pieces of hazel which must be there about 7 or 8 years at this stage.

Some pics below 

 

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Edited by deeksofdoom
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, very nice work, I met a stick maker many years ago from Norfolk, he was using what they call Bog Oak, Oak trees years old ????? were coming to the surface in the fields and he got permission to have them for his business, he said the wood is very hard to work on , anyone hear this ?

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Hello OPP,

I have a lovely stick made from bog oak made by a guy called -:

A .(Albert I think)W. Towler. The bog oak was dredged from the Cambridgeshire Fens. He came from either Norfolk or Cambridgeshire not sure which but used to exhibit at the Fenland Fair. The wood is almost black but is still quite flexible, so not fossilised and brittle at all as one might expect. I understand that bog oak is the region of 5000 years old. Will post a photo up later. The late John Humphreys showed me a display cabinet he had in his sitting room made from bog oak. Quite an exhibition piece.
 

OB

Edited by Old Boggy
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39 minutes ago, Old Boggy said:

Hello OPP,

I have a lovely stick made from bog oak made by a guy called -:

A .(Albert I think)W. Towler. The bog oak was dredged from the Cambridgeshire Fens. He came from either Norfolk or Cambridgeshire not sure which but used to exhibit at the Fenland Fair. The wood is almost black but is still quite flexible, so not fossilised and brittle at all as one might expect. I understand that bog oak is the region of 5000 years old. Will post a photo up later. The late John Humphreys showed me a display cabinet he had in his sitting room made from bog oak. Quite an exhibition piece.
 

OB

Hello, could be the same person, it was at a game fair but many years ago, I thought was Norfolk but could have been the Fens, it was black as coal and very hard to cut , made nice stick handles, I am sure met JH on the shooting times stand back in the 1970s , they were good game fairs back then, will look out for the photos

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7 hours ago, Old Boggy said:

Deeksofdoom,

Sorry to derail your thread a tad as my post above, but also to say that your spalted beech crook looks really great. 
OB

No bother, there was a few days there after I resurrected the thread that I thought non body was interested....

I live next to a bog full of yew trees that were flattened by a glacier a couple of ice ages ago. Has anyone made a stick handle out of bog yew?

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1 hour ago, deeksofdoom said:

Just Married!

Handle and ferrule attached to the shank.... Still some work to be done more to follow.

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image.jpg

Nice to see a good ol Swiss army knife getting in on the action! That's a lovely pattern on that crook

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