A friend of mine recently showed up at my house with all the trimmings from the large tree in his yard. “I figured you could make something outta this,” he said. My reputation precedes me. I spent the next month making two walking sticks and three more shillelaghs. One of the trimmings he brought me had a large knot on one end, so I decided to make myself a cudgel out of it. I’m not sure what the official definitions are, if there are any, but I consider any short stick intended for beating another animal to be a club. If you harden it, it becomes a shillelagh. If it has a nice big weighted end, it’s a cudgel. Again, these are just my own personal designations. Therefore, my newest project could be considered a cudgellelagh.
I have the same process for making walking sticks and shillelaghs, which I’ve detailed in previous posts, but which I’ll summarize again here. I start off by taking the wood as close to the ground as possible, or as close to the knot where two limbs branch out from one another. This wood is often the hardest. I shave the bark and sand the wood smooth, and then leave the wood out to dry for a few days. Once dry, I begin slathering the wood in natural oil (orange, olive or lemon). Once the wood is sufficiently oil-infused (which adds flexibility and longevity), I blast it with a propane torch until the entire outside surface is black.
Take your time with this process, moving the flame around and giving the wood time to cool if it gets too hot to hold with your bare hand. If you heat the wood too quickly it can crack or split, and then you’ve wasted all your effort. This heat treatment hardens the wood to an amazing degree, and also seals the surface making it moisture and damage resistant. Once cool, I sand the black off the surface with fine sandpaper or a dish scrubber until I begin to see the wood grain again. The wood now has a very dark, very rich appearance, and feels as smooth as glass. At this point, you can either coat it with lacquer or oil, and if it’s a walking stick, seal the business end with epoxy.
Why did I name it O’Bollocks? Because it’s the second to last thing that will go through my intended target’s mind, assuming zombies can think at all. The last thing? A cudgellelagh.
Go harvest and harden some beatin’ sticks, wastelanders!