Most people regard tree fungi as nuisances and unwanted guests in their wooded areas, but there is at least one good result: the diamond willow. Diamond willow is not a type of tree, but the result of the valsa sordida fungus, which attacks willow trees and causes the infected areas to grow in irregular patterns. Once harvested, you can peel the bark back to view the diamond formations in the wood. Diamond willow is often found in wetlands in Alaska, the Great Plains, Canada and boreal forests and is used for carving and wood crafting.
Find your diamond willow wood that you want to work with. You will find this type of wood in dark, wet places, usually in groups of trees packed together tightly. Cut a branch that is 1 to 3 inches in diameter with a handsaw. This is the best size to work with.
Place the branch on your lap or on a flat work surface. Use whatever method works best for you and that you find comfortable.
Grab both handles of your sharp draw knife. Place the blade of the draw knife parallel against the bark of your diamond willow. Pull the blade along the branch to peel the bark off. Repeat until you have peeled all the bark off the diamond willow branch.
Cut any roots, knots or side shoots off the branch with a carver's knife.
Finish the diamond willow branch by rubbing sandpaper along the wood. Your end result will be a smooth, debarked diamond willow surface.
- University of Minnesota Forest Resources Extension: Nontimber Forest Products: Character Wood
- Carver's Companion: What Is Diamond Willow?; Bob Gander; 1998
- "Careful Harvest"; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; 2005
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