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Ed in SoDak 05-06-2011 11:08 PM

Diamond Willow as shelf supports
 
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Here's something we recently added to our living room that I'm itching to show off.

A friend got us interested in carving willow sticks. We happen to have an endless supply in the draw below us that follows the creek. I cut a large branch that looked cool, but had no idea where to use it.

Then my wife got the idea to use them as supports under a knick-knack shelf. Perfect! Here's the result, we both really like the looks of it.

-Ed

BigJim 05-07-2011 07:37 AM

I do a little carving from time to time also, I have long admired the Diamond Willow but have never seen it in person, it doesn't grown here in Tennessee. Could you take a couple of pictures of the Diamond Willow growing for us? I would love to see some of your walking sticks.

Ed in SoDak 05-07-2011 05:49 PM

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Hi Jiju,

A friend made a letter opener using a stubby deer horn from one of our semi-tame deer. He set it in a little hunk of diamond willow, and that got us started. My wife and I found that it grows all along in the creek that runs up the draw we live in. There's literally several miles of it so dense in places you can hardly move through it. From the road it looks much like any creekside large shrub, the branches fan out sorta like a lilac bush on steroids.

We made some cystal suncatcher hangings from small limbs for Christmas presents, but haven't tried a walking stick yet. We're thinking more in the line of furniture, but so far we're just playing with it while we sit out on the porch.

It has an odor from the fungus that causes the diamonds, so it's best to work it outdoors. We have a dust cabinet with vacuum system we use to do the sanding.

If you want a stick or three in their natural state, I could send some to you for the cost of shipping. I have some 4' boxes my shop lights came in, that would be a good length and could be easily mailed. I'd have to go harvest them, but that's an easy task since they're so close by.

I don't have pics of it growing, but here's pics of the large branch we used to make three of the shelf supports.

-Ed

BigJim 05-07-2011 07:47 PM

Ed, thank you so much for the offer, I may take you up on that here soon. That is some beautiful wood to say the least. I have wanted a stick of it for a long time. I had a good friend who lived up in Alaska, he was going to send me a stick but he passed away a couple of months ago. You do know you can sell that don't you?

That would sure make some fantastic furniture for sure. You are truly blessed to have access to that much beautiful wood. When you make some furniture please be sure to post pictures, we would really like to see how you build yours. Thanks again for the offer Ed.

jules4 05-07-2011 09:05 PM

That wood is really wild looking, I've never seen anything like it - thanks for the pictures!

Julia

Ed in SoDak 05-07-2011 10:48 PM

Jim,
I did a search awhile back and found a couple websites where they sell them and have info about diamond willow. There's a few local folks here making and selling walking sticks. Carved and finished ones get the best price, but natural with the bark still on are pretty reasonable. It's so plentiful here I'm happy to share.

We've been harvesting a few because they catch our fancy. We have an idea or two how to use them if we get the time to try them out. Too many projects going at once these days!

Julia,
Thanks for the comment! The one I show pics of is pretty wild even for the willows. Most we've found didn't have those concentric rings. The older the branch, the more convoluted it becomes. Some are nearly void of diamonds, while others are almost completely covered. Until you remove the bark it's hard to tell how it will turn out. While learning, we cut and peeled quite a few that were nothing special, they just went in the kindling pile. We've gotten a little better at spotting good ones.

-Ed

BigJim 05-07-2011 11:18 PM

Ed, do a search on rustic Diamond Willow furniture then hit "Images" and take a look at one of the beds, it was fairly simple and was $4,500.00.

Tom Struble 05-08-2011 06:58 AM

nice work Ed:thumbup:

cocobolo 05-08-2011 11:15 PM

Ed, you are one lucky guy to have wood growing like that in your back yard, I can assure you.

There used to be a woodcarver here where I live, and he got his hands on a few pieces. I remember him making two walking sticks out of it. I never did find out where he got it, but I do understand it is seen occasionally here in the south west corner of B. C.

Nice job on the knick-knack shelf. :thumbsup:

Ed in SoDak 05-09-2011 01:24 AM

Thanks for the positive comments everyone! The shelf has been waiting several years for the time and money (plus the plan!) for finishing off a beam between the old portion of our house and the addition we added.

Sandy and I built the addition ourselves with the help of a friend on the foundation and framing, but that's a whole 'nother project. Maybe this summer we can get the exterior painting and trim finished and whatever else the missus can think up in the meantime! :laughing:

The willows near us have only been very lightly harvested. The willow I chose for this project had a few cuts made some years previously. We've seen little other evidence of anyone else making selections. The cows that are let loose to graze the area in the summer and heavy winter snows have removed or broken more branches than anything else we've noticed.

It has crossed my mind to harvest a few with the intent of selling them online. The few sites I found previously didn't seem that active, but Jim's search tip brought out a wealth of ideas and things I hadn't come across.

Hmmm. Might make an interesting adjunct to help pick up the slack in our slow work times. Of which there haven't been many, thankfully!

I'll try to get some pics of the stands, just now sprouting spring foilage.

-Ed

Ed in SoDak 05-11-2011 08:07 PM

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Here's where we've been doing most of our harvesting, along about a 100-yard stretch.

Next is an overmature willow that is dying. Dead branches are splitting apart and falling from snowloads and winds. This is the tree that provided our shelf supports. Another pic shows a harvest from many years ago next to my recent cuts.

Lastly, a couple pics showing some likely-looking branches. The willows haven't begun to sprout yet this year, which is good, as the wood is more easily seen and sap is down.

-Ed

BigJim 05-11-2011 09:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed in SoDak (Post 646093)
Here's where we've been doing most of our harvesting, along about a 100-yard stretch.

Next is an overmature willow that is dying. Dead branches are splitting apart and falling from snowloads and winds. This is the tree that provided our shelf supports. Another pic shows a harvest from many years ago next to my recent cuts.

Lastly, a couple pics showing some likely-looking branches. The willows haven't begun to sprout yet this year, which is good, as the wood is more easily seen and sap is down.

-Ed

Thanks for the pictures Ed, that is the first time I have seen it growing, there look to be some interesting sticks there.

tpolk 05-12-2011 09:58 AM

how quickly does it grow and is area climate a big factor? does it always lend itself to that type of finished product ?

Ed in SoDak 05-12-2011 11:12 AM

Thanks John, I grabbed a long branch that was broken off to send to you. Next trip I'll bring a saw.

tpolk, the main growth appears decades old in places, but there are thousands of new sprouts coming up from the roots. The cows pastured here and the heavy snows seem to be the primary force in pruning the dead wood, which just falls down and lays in jumbled piles. Others seem to be newer growth with many smaller diameter live branches. We are Zone 3 here and gets to -25 in the winter. Otherwise, it's faily mild here. Every branch is different, and overall they resemble about any diamond willow you'd find pics of on the web.

-Ed


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