Diamond Willow – It’s Everywhere!

I live in a place where it’s not hard to find diamond willow. In fact, it’s hard to avoid it. I’m tempted on my way to and from work every day to take a detour and check out a willow patch. I usually must resist that temptation, but when I have the time, it’s great fun to explore a new willow patch.

However, just because there is willow everywhere, it still takes some serious hunting to find good, quality sticks for finishing. I probably examine ten bushes for every stick I cut. But that is what makes it so enjoyable – the rewards for persistence.

I’m not sure how to explain this obsession. It’s clear that most people just drive by and never notice the willow all around them. I am happy to report that I don’t really find competition for willow. I’ve seen a few patches where sticks have been cut, and once I had a guy stop to show me his willow stick.

Because there is so much willow, I’m not secretive about my spots. In fact, I teach classes at the local environmental learning center and take people out on willow hunts. I’m a teacher by trade, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge. I hope you’ll enjoy what I share on this page!

9 thoughts on “Diamond Willow – It’s Everywhere!”

  1. You sound like a very giving guy, glad I found you.. I grew up in Wisc.. just across river from Wabasha, Minn .. we had an ice fishing shack out there
    . Ate you related to the Gustafsons in Wabasha and the “Grumpy” movies..?

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  2. I’ve gone out to look for willow and I’ve found some, but mostly it’s been dead or someone else has been the before me. What I find is nothing to work with and make something. Since you say you’re wiling to share, could you tell me where you live and maybe I’ll come cut a few sticks to take home and work on. My dream is to find one that has the most unique character . I’ve seen pictures of them so I feel I can too. Thanks Glen

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  3. I enjoyed your article very much.Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge in this open forum. I work in very remote parts of Alaska and it seems that this spring I will be in some prime diamond willow area. I sure hope that I am able find some pieces as, I would love to spend some of my spare time with this great hobby. If all goes well I may have some wonderful handcrafted gift to give out this holiday season.
    Thanks,
    Rodley

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  4. Dear Tom, Thank you so much for all your wisdom and information. I am a member of a Woodshop in Tucson Arizona.
    I purchased a nice willow stick from a fellow member. I went through the steps you describe but didn’t have much guidance. Now I know what to do since I’ve just discovered your site.
    I inlaid turquoise and my husband loves it. Wherever we go people want to purchase it from us. I live in Oklahoma and winter in Arizona so I’m not sure I can find willow close to me. I would like to purchase some sticks for my self and the Woodshop. My husband found some online at very high prices. Do you know where I could go to find sticks or buy them reasonably priced? I don’t mind traveling for them. I can’t describe how much I love this wood and how helpful you have been.
    Thank you, Helen

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  5. Tom; thanks for this very interesting information. I use a diamond willow walking stick and receive many comments and questions which I have been unable to answer until now. Although I’m 88 I am planning looking for some sticks if my legs will carry me there. I can’t wait to try your ideas.

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