Native American Technology and Art
Splitting a Willow Stick
The thin branch shouldn't have any lower branches forking from it. Strip off the leaves and twigs by pulling the branch between your fingers and thumb. Also Remove the very thin tip of the branch.

Use your thumbnail to start a split at the narrow end of the branch. Pull the halves apart; then put your two thumbs between the split. Place your fingers on opposite sides of the branch and place even pressure against your thumbs as you split the willow branch down it's length. The two halves should curl away from each other in a 'Y'.

If one half starts to split thinner than the other, bend the thicker opposite side of the 'Y' more firmly, re-centering the split.

Splitting a long branch evenly takes a bit of practice, so have patience. You can still use shorter pieces if you don't mind a few tucked ends showing.

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© 1994-1999 Tara Prindle.