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Walking stick cleek - grain direction ?

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Beanwood

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I should like to make a shepherd's crook type stick (Cleek?)
I have now acquired the skills to straighten a stick, and prepare it, with a dowel type protrusion ready to attach the head :D
But the head is making me wonder - it will be cut from a block of wood, with a corresponding dowel socket, shaped and sanded. I'm trying to work out should the grain go across (Horizontal) the 'U', or vertical (Up) the 'U'.
They would both appear to be weaker in different ways.
Is there a right or wrong way please?
 

Trevanion

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Hey! A topic I know a little about :)

I think you have to be very lucky, either you need a stick that already has a growth on it like the base of a hazel tree and the stick itself is a sprout, this way you'll have an incredibly strong handle with the exact grain direction. Or you need to find a piece of timber that has the correct shaped growth and grain direction for a handle like that, something like the crotch of a tree or a branch connection would be ideal.

I recommend picking up Charlie Walker's "Traditional Stickmaking" if you haven't already got a copy, it's a good book.
 

Sgian Dubh

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Beanwood":3n7b10p6 said:
But the head is making me wonder
Is there a right or wrong way please?
Isn't the crook end normally just an extension of the straight shaft? A bit of a guess on my part, but I grew up on a farm where we kept sheep, and I can only recall the shepherd, and my father for that matter, regularly working with a crook, and in every case their crooks were a single piece.

So, not being a maker of such things, but my guess is that the normal procedures likely to be followed would be to:
1. Train a growing stem into the necessary curved end before cutting it out or,
2. That makers would take a straight overly long freshly cut stem (therefore green and relatively supple), steam one end and bend it around a former to create the crook.

Of course, I could be all wet and misguided here, but I can't see why the crooked end, the business end really, would be a separate piece of wood, which would therefore be a likely weakness in the stick's structure - unless these crooks are perhaps merely decorative, for example. Slainte.
 

timber

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I have made several sticks using my Legacy ornamental mill / latheand the best handle was a ready shaped piece of ivy ( it was well dried when I found it . I sanded it and painter with a black permanent pen.
 

Trevanion

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Sgian Dubh":2nv7xk19 said:
Of course, I could be all wet and misguided here, but I can't see why the crooked end, the business end really, would be a separate piece of wood, which would therefore be a likely weakness in the stick's structure - unless these crooks are perhaps merely decorative, for example. Slainte.
I think there are very few wooden shepherds crooks made that are actually intended to work anymore, I don't think I've seen anyone working with a wooden crook as I've always seen aluminium tubes with a steel crook stuck in the end. I think if you wanted a wooden stick for working it would have to be a single piece as you say just for the strength either steam bent around a former or a specially selected stick like this:



Even if it's purely decorative I would still want a piece with good grain direction to give it strength against being dropped or some other accident. Plus I think it looks a lot better than having a crook that's cut out of a straight-grained piece, having the grain flow with the handle is quite nice to look at.
 

Beanwood

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Thanks all.
Yes I'd missed the obvious of bending a straight piece, or the idea of using an elbow a sign in the picture in the last post.
No, I won't be using it for working sheep, mor likely a fruit picking stick for those sloes that are just too high in the tree :D
I do however want it to look nice (rather than an aluminium version) as well as functioning as a walking staff in muddy conditions.
I'll have a wander around the woods next weekend and see what I can come up with.
 

Trevanion

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MikeG.":3bzbikr9 said:
No-one has mention cow horn yet......
I didn't mention it as the question didn't mention it as he wants to cut it from a block of wood. You're better off buying horns roughly pre-shaped in my opinion, they're not much dearer pre-shaped than they are raw plus you didn't have to faff around with steaming/boiling and formers and jigs etc... I'd rather spend an extra £10 than spend a whole day trying to bend a horn to the right shape.

Plus they're expensive. :)
 

Trainee neophyte

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This chap claims to be an expert: https://hillshepherd.blogspot.com/2008/ ... crook.html

I am certainly not qualified to comment, other than to say it is a dodgy way to catch a sheep - you can break their legs quite easily. Much more fun to to wrestle your sheep to the ground with a rugby tackle. Even more fun is to get someone else to do it while you watch.

Edit: currently multitasking, and didn't read all of the link above - turns out it's not helpful - banging on about ram's horn, and in little detail. Will try again...https://www.thestickman.co.uk/blanks.htm#woodblank Lots of examples of different wooden heads - may be useful for ideas? I'm sure you have done all this on your own - I'm just interested on my own behalf now. Good job I'm not busy.
 

xy mosian

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Not a full crook, but my walking sticks have a bent end. Steamed or something else I couldn't say but definitely bent.
xy
 
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