HY16013: Holly can be used to make walking sticks that are attractive to the eye and hard wearing in use.
There are, however, some difficulties when working with holly. The bark can be difficult to retain. When seasoned it is a dark colour and covered in a network of greyish raised ridges. Frequently patches of bark come loose during seasoning, so it is bonus when one has an opportunity to produce a ‘bark-on’ walking stick.
Other challenges presented by holly are (a) a tendency for shanks to taper too sharply, (b) the cross section can be oval rather than round and (c) the extra time required to season the timber.
Nonetheless, I enjoy making Holly sticks in spite of the many challenges that the species presents. This is because it is well worthwhile persevering with the species as the end result is invariably a stick with charm and character.
Guidelines for arriving at the optimum length for you are shown on our Choosing a Stick page.