You’ll notice the heads of some of our shillelagh have “corks” in them.
These are for our weighted shillelagh, where we add an ounce or so of lead shot to the head. Sometimes for balance, sometimes for weighting and frankly sometimes because the stave just seems to ask for it.
There’s a couple of ways to plug over where you put the shot in. Sometimes we use accacia (or gorse, or whatever the rest of the staff is made of). This is certainly the “classier” style, and done right it can very discreetly hide the fact that the shillelagh has been weighted at all.
But for some reason, we find people like to be able to show their shillelagh are weighted like their ruffian ancestors would have used, a way to educate non-shillelagh enthusiasts about the hobby.
For that reason we quite like to use striated fir, oak or pine for our plugs. If you take it from near a knot or growth ring you get an interesting “zebra” pattern that stands out against the plain gold wood of an acacia.
Whilst our ancestors would have been horrified at deliberately letting someone guess their shillelagh’s secret, like everything, we’re happy to wear it proudly.