Creosote Canes Winter 2015

For the Love of Canes graphic

UPDATE January 6, 2016: all the cane orders for this winter’s round have shipped as of December 29, 2015. Just about everyone should have received their canes by now (if you haven’t, of course please let me know). Naturally if you have questions or comments, sing out, and we always love to hear how folks have finished their canes!

It’s that time of year again (granted this is only the second year in a row)! Mojave Outliers Whipmakers plans to be in the Mojave Desert over the Christmas holidays, which means we’ll be harvesting another batch of creosote canes.

Dried Creosote Pod

This is a dried pod on a creosote bush, which grow native to the Mojave Desert

“So what?” you ask. An excellent question. For those of you who DON’T have any questions and just want to order, it’s 5 (five) 35″ raw canes, diameters range from 1/4″ to 3/4″ at the handle end, for $12.75 plus shipping. Just shoot me an email saying you’d like an order of creosote canes, at (copy and paste):

To answer the insouciantely posed “So what?” question, please continue below! 😉

Mojave Outliers Whipmakers Creosote Bush JTNP 1

THIS! Is a creosote bush. They grow wild and ubiquitously all over the Mojave Desert. As you can see, they grow very nice canes, with fascinating curves and twists, which in the right evil minded hands can be used to excellent advantage!

Mojave Outliers Whipmakers Creosote Cane Harvest

The wood is very very dense due to the arid climate, and so these things make a WICKED caning implement. The canes can grow as large as an inch in diameter, although ½ inch or less is more common. I personally prefer a cane in the ½ inch range at the handle end, and tapered over about 30” in length, although 35” will give you a bit more flex and/or room to trim. The bark on these is very thin, so we often simply sand them down after trimming the twig abscission zones with a (very!) sharp knife or razor blade, but you can peel them first, too, if you like. Last year I had clients using a Dremel tool!

Creosote Canes Example

This is an example of what one of my clients did last year with their creosote canes.

Please note, creosote bushes are NOT what is used to create creosote such as is often used as a wood preservative (i.e., for railroad ties or telephone poles). That stuff is made by distilling the tar that results from burning coal (i.e., coal tar) or other (originally) plant materials. Creosote bushes do have a faint odor, but it’s more like that fresh ozone smell of a summer rain shower. Too, once the canes dry a bit, you can’t really smell it at all. Here’s a creosote bush blossom after a damp spell in the Mojave last Christmas.

Creosote Blossom

Now, ALL we’re offering to do is cut the canes, trim the obvious bits, then stuff them in a box and ship them via USPS standard post. So this is a DIY kinda thing, and it will be entirely up to you to trim, peel and sand them as you see fit, maybe apply a finish (we use beeswax), or just use them as switches if you like.

Also, understand that we’ll be harvesting the canes OVER the Christmas holidays, which run from December 19-January 4. We’ll be shipping them AFTER Christmas, so don’t order canes hoping to get them in time for Christmas.

This year we’re offering 5 (five) 35″ canes for $12.75 plus shipping, the diameters of which will vary from 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch at the handle/thick end (and yes, you can tell me what diameter you’d prefer and we’ll get as close as we can).

Shipping will run between $8 to $11 depending on where you live in the US–I’ll be able to give you a more precise figure once I have your zip code.

Regarding international orders: Yes, naturally I’m happy to ship internationally. The problem there is the package is too big to ship via standard post, so you HAVE to go with Priority Mail, which is rather expensive for what you’re getting. One way to help this is to find one or more other people in your area who ALSO would like to try some canes, and then we just combine shipping to a single address. Or, for my friends in Canada or Mexico, check your address books and see if you have a friend in the US fairly close to the border (assuming you are, as well).