I recent found an awesome stick while hiking with my family (in mid January)

Since then I have removed all the bark and sanded it to make it look even more awesome(er) I even wrapped the top in leather strips (which looks great!)

The problem is that today I decided that the stick was not "straight enough" and had too much bend...

So I decided to try to clamp it straight on a flat board...

It decided to crack on a knot (which I am sure I can probably glue back together), I did not steam it at all (as I did not have the means)

How long should I leave the wood clamped straight so that it wont bounce back right away (and finally fix my big crack of a mistake)?

  • I'm afraid you've set yourself up for failure here unless the stick was already (by random chance) quite well dried naturally. Just in general, when collecting wood for sticks you harvest the wood green, then let it season for months to a year or more (bark on often) before you begin to work on it. So you're then basically working with wood like you're used to — seasoned, which is another way of saying dried. When I've picked up sticks or fallen branches in the wild that aren't so light they seem like they've begun to rot I still leave them for at least 2 months before I use them.
    – Graphus
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 9:42
  • "I did not steam it at all" Wood for sticks doesn't have to be steamed except to produce very pronounced bends like at the top of a shepherd's crook. If you check stickmaking resources online (you'll find lots!) you'll see the other methods employed, working 1 bend at a time. "How long should I leave the wood clamped straight so that it wont bounce back right away " Forever? ;-) Wood will always spring back, unless it has failed in some way (after which it's weak and you can't rely on it). Even when steam bending you bend beyond the curve you want, expecting a certain amount of springback.
    – Graphus
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 9:50
  • When speaking of drying wood. It helps a lot to know the size and species if possible.
    – Dano0430
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 18:02

3 Answers 3


How long should I leave the wood clamped straight so that it wont bounce back right away (and finally fix my big crack of a mistake)?

If the wood is green, then you may be able to straighten it by clamping it to something straight and letting it dry in that configuration. How long it takes to dry will depend on the species, the diameter of the stick, the moisture content, and the ambient temperature and humidity.

If the stick is already dry, then just clamping it and letting it sit is unlikely to straighten it; it'll just spring back to its former shape when you unclamp it. Dry wood tends to break instead of deforming when pushed beyond its elastic limit; if you want to permanently change its shape without breaking it you'll need to apply heat or moisture or both.

  • Yea... my stick is broken in two now at the crack... I am trying to glue it back together... I never should have tried to straighten it... It was perfect, but you never think it is until you mess up...
    – Naftali
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 19:50

Search "DIY wood bender steam" to get some ideas to build you own steamer. Have a clamping jig ready for when you pluck your stick from the device. After it is completely dry, use a steel type epoxy to repair the crack. Then finish with a low-VOC varnish and wrap a small coil of steel wire around the bottom near the tip to prevent splitting and damage.


Along the lines of John Cannon, bit of plastic drain pipe, stuff rag in both ends, wallpaper stripper steam feed in one end, let it run for 1hr/inch thickness. With gloves, take it out IMMEDIATELY form and clamp it to shape; 1 hour later, simples! Notes; epoxy after, as steam will soften epoxy. Slightly over-bend as it will spring back. In theory you 'can only' steam green timber as the the seasoning process removes the lignin; my experience says this it not always true.The lignin softens then re-hardens on cooling, hence retaining the shape.

  • 1
    There's no theory that one can only steam-bend green wood, these days probably the great majority of steam bending is not done green. Dry wood. air dried by preference but even kiln-dried, is perfectly capable of being bent successfully with the right procedures. The sides of violins, coachbuilding parts, a lot of modern bentwood furniture, are all routinely done using seasoned wood.
    – Graphus
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 15:39
  • If the seasoning process (I guess you mean drying?) removes the lignin, wouldn't what remains (mostly cellulose) be substantially weaker? And yet, old wood seems to remain pretty strong -- wooden buildings stand for decades and sometimes centuries without falling down.
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 15:56

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