Death is not the end of a tree's story.
– Nature, "Woodpeckers: the Hole Story"
Who would create canes out of wood like this?
Me, of course!
Made from long dead Eastern Red Cedar trees (Juniperus Virginiana) each stick is meticulously (and painstakingly) hand crafted. Source material is found by wandering old undeveloped land (New England) and coming across fallen trees.
Each branch or small trunk is aged by many things: sun, wind, rain, snow, animals, insects, fungi, bacteria. For a long while these fallen trees are an ecosystem of themselves, part of the whole in which they grew.
When time has passed to a point in where the tree has become mostly tree; insects having ended their life cycle or moved on, leaving only traces of their lives in the wood, the bark drying and flaking away...
... and then someone like me happens by. With a little saw.
Before my canes and walking sticks are sticks they were trees. Dead trees tell tall tales. Birds live on them, squirrels climb on them, millions of teeny tiny things live in them.
Not only eaten by bugs and larvae, the dead trees are fungi food too, and food for mosses and lichens. They are, as the National Wildlife Federation says, a "gourmet restaurant for wildlife."
This there long dead old tree not far from where I live has offered me many of its branches for sticks for you... And itself for untold numbers of things that have left their art and design upon it...
The grand ole trees that I wander by present me their nice branches. (Some times a tree dies before it's time as a big tree—so it's a sapling—offering it's whole self for me.)
With saw and sometimes pruners I set about to find as many nice branches I can. Straight, curved, crooked... Long, short... Wide, thin...
Thank you, tree!
When first found a dead stick looks like, well, a dead stick. If it's really old, some of the bark may have fallen away, but old and dead Eastern Red Cedar has nice old dark brown flaky bark.
Which I remove. The process is nice and long—scraping, scraping, rough at first, then softer and kinder...
Then, a dead stick is on it's way to become a Deadstick™.
You are only as good as your tools...
I start the process of making a cane with this Leatherman Freestyle® to gently and kindly scrape the top layer of bark. The bark sometimes comes off in long strips—useful for baskets or holding together birch bark canoes—but often, depending on how old, where found, among other things, much of the bark is just flaky.
After most of the outer bark has been scraped away a slower finer delicate process takes over—a Leatherman PST®, whose little tool is great for fine scraping and scratching.
Sometimes I make my own tools.
These two (right of the Leathermen) were made 100,000 years ago. (Seriously.)