A local brought us an interesting project the other day.
Evidently there have been some floods up in the valley and they’ve scoured out some blackberry on the banks upstream. Among the debris that came down was this nicely dried blackberry stick with a huge root ball attached.
Root ball staves make for a good story and all but can be hard work to actually make nice for the hand.
In this case there’s a nice palmswell available (once we take off those laterals), but the porous blackberry “wood” will be difficult to set a nice polish on. One good approach will be to buff off enough of the rough bark on the bud to make a smooth surface and simply laquer that (hopefully a nice colour will come out).
This staff is a rare case where we might leave a “knobbie” on the head. Long tradition requires leaving them on for sticks who’s real purpose was murder (and you’ve read our theory that it was so the small bumps would be more likely to cause fatal bone breaks in the skull).
You see many blackthorn staves these days with the thorns left on. Despite its frightening appearance a staff with thorns left on is all but unuseable as a fighting stick (because of the limited options for grip).
As such to a traditionalist a stick with thorns on is a dedicated walking stick, for peaceful purposes only.
This staff will retain its (blackberry) thorns and will also be very light weight – a threat to no one’s skull bones. For that reason if we can find one in a spot that won’t vex the hand we’ll leave a knobbie on it somewhere…