This is a classical “duelling” shillelagh, with a weathered, “antiquey” feel.
This would have been the sort of staff carried by an older ruffian inclined to rely on fine skills rather than brute force.
Duelling shillelagh tended to be strong, lightweight, quick in the hand. Not designed for murder or mayhem, rather to allow two men to settle differences on Saturday, and leaving both of them alive on Sunday.
Because of this they also “pass” nicely as conventional walking sticks.
This staff is relatively long in the shank suiting anyone up to six (plus) foot, but can be cut down for a more reasonably-proportioned user.
How it looks
This staff is no sapling, harvested just at the age where the smooth vertical lines start to thicken, you can see where it was thinking of bursting forth the thick shaggy bark of middle age. If this staff were a man it would be showing the first lines of seriousness about the jaw, the first greys at the temples whilst still proportioned like a young ricker. The bark shows the signs of several storms, a battle hardened piece before we ever shaped her.
Nice radial spalting on the fore and aft of the head gives an authentic “antiqued” look.
On the left side of the shaft there runs a “Dragon’s Ladder” about 2/3 of the length, where the tree has grown too fast for its bark and then “filled” the scar back in over winter.
Finished in bright varnish, shoed with brass ferrule.
How it walks
A tall, lightweight staff, this would make a fine trekking pole. The head will require a two finger grip on the upswing, creating a strongly immersive, involving walking stick (if you’re the sort to take your troubles with you on a walk, an immersive stick like this will help you leave them at the first milepost, as the act of carrying will tend to re engage your motor cortex and draw you away from persistent rumination).
How it Fights
Definitely one for the fencer rather than the brawler, it has plenty of range and speed for defense and parry.
In skilled hands she’ll make short work of ruffians holding heavier clubs, especially if a little deception is used to hide her length. Too long for a Savate cane, she’s beautifully weighted for a Bartitsu hanging guard either tip first or head first, but will serve the right practitioner well for Gatka, Shastarvidya, even Sojutsu.
Dimensions – 47 inches by ~3 inches
Scars – 4 lateral branches polished off, seven tiny badger bites (scuffs) probably from a storm a week before harvest (sanded and polished, featured rather than painted). Bear in mind this is a battle scarred veteran, not a peach-complexioned youth (one for the ghillie or navvy, rather than the fop-about-town).
Curvature – Very straight for a natural staff, very very slightly “Vipery” at the head (top grip is maybe an inch for’d of the shaft).