How to Clean a Diamond Willow

Jay Angel

A diamond willow is an irregularity in the wood of a willow tree caused by a response to fungal growth. The wood grows around the infection causing intricate and unique designs. Diamond willows are used to make high end walking sticks, carving wood, and decorative poles.

Whether this is your first time or you are a seasoned pro, cleaning out a diamond willow is a difficult task.

  1. Use a Dremel tool for the initial cleaning. These high speed hand tools come with at least one hundred attachments. Use different shaped tools for the different curves you encounter on the wood. Use extreme caution when cleaning the intricate curves and designs.

  2. A flexible drum sander will take care of sanding the more difficult curves. This tool is a rotating motor that is mounted to a table and has a rotating shaft that extends from it. A foam padded sandpaper sleeve is slid over the shaft. Hold the diamond willow in your hands and carefully sand it.

  3. The padded sandpaper sleeves come in different grits. Begin your sanding with a coarse 80 grit sleeve and then graduate to the finer 120 grit sleeve.

  4. After you have completed the coarse cleaning with the Dremel tool and the finer cleaning with the drum sander, you will want to go over the willow again with some very fine sandpaper (#120 or better). Only use sandpaper this fine if you are sure that you have done a thorough job with the first two methods. Remember that a diamond willow is a piece of fine wood so you want to do the best job you can when sanding.

  5. Protect the wood by applying a varnish.

  6. Tip

    Take your time and do each step thoroughly. This is a labor intensive and very intricate task. If it is done correctly you will have a very beautiful and unique piece of wood.