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Looking for help with basics of working with raw wood.


Russell Coight
Jan 4, 2021
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Howdy all,

For context, I'm reasonably new to bushcraft though I'm not completely fresh. But my experience with raw wood lacks any basis in theory. As a case in point, and what motivated me to make this post, I recently cut a long branch from a tree that had just fallen in Springwood gully in the Blue Mountains (I think it may have been Tristaniopsis, though I'm not sure) to make a hiking staff. I peeled the bark off with my knife and flattened the knots when I got home. I left it inside to come back to, and when I did so perhaps two days later a significant split in the wood had appeared.

I'm not sure if I did something wrong, or if that was always going to happen (moisture related?), but my complete confusion on the topic made me realise I need to establish some foundational knowledge in the area. What do people recommend? Books, youtube videos, websites?



Never Alone In The Bush
Staff member
Jun 16, 2011
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Melbourne, Victoria
Some types of wood split more readily that others.
Trial and error may be needed - or advise from someone who knows the timber

If you leave the bark on, a stick will dry more slowly which "may" make it less prone to splitting.
Some people also paint the exposed ends to "seal" them and further slow moisture loss.

Keeping the wood cool at least not in direct sunlight will also help


John McDouall Stuart
Jul 1, 2013
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blue mountains
Can't comment on the wood you used, but it could be the species you used or the particular piece you used. Part of the fun of using green wood is that it can move as it dries. You can slow the drying by painting the ends as Aussie123 suggests with paint or glue such as PVA, stick it in a container of wood shavings, or put it in a plastic bag. Wrapping it glad wrap should work too. If you use the plastic bag method turn the bag inside out every day to stop the wood going mouldy. Ok some of these could be a bit tricky for a hiking staff.

As for resources, there are books around that are good, try Woodcraft by Barn the spoon, or Sloyd in wood by Jogge Sundqvist. There are others but these are a good start. Try here https://www.woodtamer.com.au/collections/books
No affiliation but an Australian source for books and tools. I'll finish by saying that green woodworking in Australia involves a bit more trial and error than in the US or Europe because there's not a lot of information on Australian timbers bring worked this way. Let us know how you go.