(a few of the many actual emails from people who have bought Diamond Willow Sticks)
(part of http://www.sticksite.com/)
Larry C. in Texas wrote:
"Dang Ken, you sure know how to creat excitement and frustruation at the same time. Wahoo...today I received this tightly wrapped bundle. They left it on my door step. When I got back home from my doc apt., it was on my door step. It was like Christmas! The antisipation was killing me. Life is really not like a box of chocolate, it is like a bundle of diamond wood, you don't know what you are gonna get. I worked for a good 30 minutes getting that black tarp off of my wood. Every know an then I would get a small look at one of the pieces of wood. I could smell them. I have never seen more beautiful and macho wood in my life. Awesome is the only word I could use to describe them all. 6 of the 0 pieces are ... well.. they are...unbelievable. The 3 smaller ones are nice and they are the ones I will paractice on. I can't wait to get some more. I'd love to have one of those rails that you show pictures of so I could make my wife a jewlery box. My mind is racing of ideas, spinning out of control. Woww..Thank you so much for your friendship and your intrest in me making walking sticks. I do have a question. In the pictures, like the pictures of the ones I bought, I thought it said 6 ft. I mean, these are perfect, but I was just wondering. Like I said, these are perfect, actually, more than perfect. When will you have more for sale. I really like the way Ma Nature carved them. Well, just lettin you know that I got em todaya nd am very happy. I started sandin on one piece as soon as I opened it. I'm goin to leave the little branches on them that are there now. Gives me character. AGAIN, THANKS Sir, You are awesome. Larry C. Have Sticks, Will Travel"
So I wrote to Larry:
"Hi, Larry; I'm glad the post office held up their share of the deal! Thanks for letting me know.
May I use your comments on my "Testimonials" page?
As to length, on the image I sent, it had lines showing 36", 48" and 60" like the one attached to THIS email. Make sense?
As to when I'll have more, wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, easy. I have about 1,000 on hand nearly all the time.
But did I really create frustration for you? How?
As to the jewellery box.............. THAT sounds like a cool project. But I stopped harvesting RAILS; too much work for an old man.
No doubt you saw my page with all the things people have made with Diamond Willow at:
http://www.sticksite.com/carvings/ It would be great to add a picture of YOUR jewellery box sometime."
And Larry replied:
You asked if you really created frustration for me.
Well, basically yes...Frustration as in anticipation. Frustration as in trying to find out which one I liked best after opening. Frustration as in thinking "Oh my, what if I mess one of these pieces up when I make a cane or walking stick out of it." Frustration as everyone that sees them wants one and I want them all for me! So, as you can see, my frustration is a good thing. Hell, at my age, any mind stimulation is well appreciated...I had a doctors appointment, podiatrist, at the VA in Temple Texas. I put a cane tip on one of the pieces you sent and used it as a walking stick. You would not believe all the comments and interest in buying my stick. My unfinished, just fresh out of the package, stick. I told em that when I get finished with it, I'd sell it for $200.00. (I just told them that so they wouldn't be interested in buying.) Well... I have in my possession 3 names and phone numbers of people that want one? Guess I'll have to tell people now that I'd sell em for $300 so they won't want to buy. These sticks are awesome. I really like 6 of the 9 of the 9 you sent. I guess, like you suggested, will practice on the 3 that are not as awesome as the 6 I like. I want to sincerely thank you, from one ol man to another. I am so excited about getting my business started. However, being a person that thinks with his heart and not his pocketbook, I won't be able to just sell one of my sticks to just anybody. I will have to feel that whom ever I sell one to, will have to be able to take good care of it, and give it a good home. Sounds crazy, I know, but that is how special these stick are to me and I also know that everyone I finish will be a tribute to the actual maker of that stick. He created that awesome piece of wood, and you and I try to figure out how to improve on an already perfect piece of wood. (I feel you know where I am coming from on this) When the time comes, I do hope that I will be able to let them go. Told you I was a bubble off plumb. If there is ever anything I can do for you, hey, ya got a friend down here in Texas. Thanks my friend, and yes, you can use anything I have said, any way you so chose.
Dave M. (Nebraska) wrote:
Ken, The Diamond Willow sticks arrived last Friday. YA-HOO! (No customs, duties or anything, just a signature) I finally got some time to unwrap them on Sunday and they are fantastic, much, MUCH, MUCH!!! better than I had imagined them. Your pictures were great, but honestly they did not do the ones that showed up justice, they are great. I am 1000% satisfied, and I'm going to be recommending your site to anyone who is looking for a fantastic, unique walking stick. Now I'll be finishing them, not sure how yet, I just checked your site, found lots of good suggestions. Need to decide if I want a shiny or satin finish. Then it's off to the hardware store, and then to work on them. But it's not really work when I get such enjoyment out of it. Again, thanks a million, Dave
Jack Z. (Pennsylvania) wrote:
Ken, Sticks arrived today. Excellent packing job! Nicer than they looked on your site, very pleased, will keep your site book-marked for future gift purchases. Thanks again. Jack
Annie B. (Iowa) wrote:
I have been so remiss at not contacting you sooner about the "gift". Words cannot really express what Frank was feeling when we gave it to him. There are 10 of us in the family and it takes quite sometime for everyone to open their gifts on Christmas morning. We saved it for last. Our son brought it in from the other room after making Frank keep his eyes closed and hold his hands out.
He was puzzled at first as he couldn't figure out the shape.....................then he understood, tears welled up in his eyes and he grabbed Jason and hugged him and then me!! And of course I got teary eyed. It was quite moving to see the pleasure on his face. He keeps it close at hand and anyone who graces our doorway has to come in so he can show it off:))
After all the kids had left to go back to Denver and Des Moines after the holidays Frank and I were finally able to sit down at the computer on Sunday and I gave him a tour of your website and all your wonderful stories and pictures. We drank a pot of coffee, finished off the last of the kolaches (Czech pastry) and looked at every item on your site. I had to drag him away from the Outdoor Channel to come to the computer:)) but he was so enthralled at all the pages he viewed. If we were younger we would come up to your part of paradise and meet you. He loved every bit of it and we laughed a lot at your jokes too. He was amazed at all the choices I had to choose from and decided that the one I picked was the best and most perfect one for him. He was most interested in your crop pics as he adjusts crop damage here in northwest Iowa. Sometimes they send him to NE, MO, SD or IL if they have particularly bad storms and need the help otherwise he has his hands full right here in our neck of the woods. He also used to be an avid hunter and really enjoyed your photography. It definitely is a spectacular site and you are truly an artisan of many areas and a great storyteller.
Thank you again for all your help in making this a super holiday gift for him. May 2005 be bountiful, healthy and happy for you and yours
Chad (Mass.) wrote, after I told him about my problems with my ISP, Look Communications Inc:
"Sorry to hear about your website troubles. Se la vi I guess.
Sorry, too, about not sending you a picture of all the guys in my wedding with their DW sticks. I completely forgot to have someone take that photograph. I let us both down with that one. That's what you get for having an open bar, and the nerves that accompany a wedding.
So a year and half have passed since presenting those sticks to the guys in my wedding. They were an enormous hit obviously, but I must inform you there were two added benefits to giving sticks away...one I had not foreseen. To this day, whenever I go to their houses, I spy their sticks on display here or there. Naturally I take them in hand. It's a nice treat because, as you may recall, I prepared the "unfinished" sticks myself. Holding them once more is like getting in touch with an old friend. It's almost nostalgic. I can only imagine what it will be like 10 or 20 years from now. Another benefit is hearing about all the compliments and inquiries these guys get from their guests. I cannot stress enough how happy I am to have bought them. They made excellent gifts.
That leads me to my next two points: I need a few more sticks for my house, and a couple other people want me to make them theirs. My only choice is to purchase some more. I would love to purchase another half dozen or so and start the process of sanding and coating all over again. What do you think? Can I start shopping again? I noticed the new crop is ready... Chad
Marty I. (Georgia) wrote:
Hi Ken, The Sticks arrived Thursday \0/... WOW!!!! AWESOME!!!! BREATHTAKING!!!! are just a few words that come to mind. Without a doubt, the best sticks I have ever seen!!! Well, my Burch sticks are in the closet now... got a new hiking partner. :) Great work!!!! Thanks Marty
Matthew G. (Connecticut) wrote:
"The walking sticks arrived yesterday!!!!! They are even better looking in person than on the net! They are perfect for the wedding and I'm even considering ordering some unfinished sticks to finish with my soon to be father in law in his woodshop. I can't believe the character each of these beautiful sticks contains! I'm so glad that we stumbled onto your site! They really are a perfect addition to my wedding. I'll send pictures to you as soon as we have them. Thank you again. I'll tell everyone where I got them."
Chad S. (Massachusetts) wrote (in part):
(his sticks left here Dec. 18, 2001 and arrived Feb. 2, 2002!)
GOOD NEWS!!!! That's right, the sticks finally arrived! The mystery is no more. We can both stop pestering our nation's post offices. We no longer have to wonder if they were stolen, and if so, what prick actually took them! Nope. None of that. They are finally here, six weeks to the day after leaving your hands. Looks like US Customs had trouble letting them go...can you blame them? These are wonderful sticks. The sticks are of course better than expected. I'll provide you with better written praise later. That way you can have something good to post on your site. Seriously, I am happier than ever to have bought these sticks. The guys in my wedding will love them, and they are sure to be among the most unique wedding gifts ever! Is this good news or what? -Chad
Gandalff A. in SWEDEN wrote:
Hi Ken !!! At last those wonderful Diamond Willow Sticks of yours has arrived safely to the distant shores of Sweden. They are more beautiful than I could imagine !!! Let me know if some of the following Sticks are available : ..(deleted).....because I want more .......... Sincerely Yours, Gandalf...
Anna R. (California) wrote:
"OH MY WORD - its perfect. What a beautiful job, you truly are an artist. Also, the other stick is a great size, and we will enjoy working on it together. This is perfect timing, thank you for everything!! Best,Anna"
Carli B (Illinois) wrote:
I can't choose which one I like the best. I have narrowed it down to the two lighter ones, but it's too hard to choose!!They are fantastic! My older son likes one of the darker ones but I told everybody that I get to pick first. Thank you so much! Carli
Dave R. (Illinois) wrote:
"Ken, I've received the walking stick. It is as beautiful as pictured on your site! There are many sites that sell walking sticks, but yours was the only one that allows the individual to select the exact one desired, a definite selling point. Thanks so much for providing such beautiful examples of God's work for those of us not fortunate enough to live near such beauty. Thanks again."
Larry V. (Texas) wrote:
"Ken, Got the sticks today. Swweeet!!! It is by far the most beautiful piece of wood art I own! I even like the reject! I've already shown it off to some of my hiking buddies and and their mouths dropped open and they just said "WOW!" Thank you so very much, and if I can I'll send you some more business. An extremely happy customer, Larry"
Peter K. (Iowa) wrote:
Ken, I received the sticks yesterday. They look very good, I even "played" with cleaning up one diamond. They all seem dry and sound. Thank you for your prompt, honest service and excellent product. Pete
B.L (Texas) wrote:
"I got the Diamond Willow sticks and they are the best I have have personally seen. Thanks, I will probably get some more later."
G.F. (California) wrote:
"What a great surprise to come walking up to the house yesterday and see a long package waiting for me. Unmistakably some gorgeous Diamond Willow sticks from my friend in Canada. Thanks Ken, they're beautiful."
M.W. (New Mexico) wrote:
"The sticks arrived safely on Friday, and have already been stripped and sanded to 120 grit!!! No, I didn't have too much fun at all --- HA!!! They are soooooo much nicer than the ones I get from Minnesota . ... I just may have to order more from you!!! But you are right --- the 2-2 1/2 inch ones REALLY are moose bonkers!!"
G.F. (California)> wrote:
"Ken...The sticks arrived today. They're gorgeous. I appreciate the fine job you did packaging them and the tung oil. Thanks so much...it's been a real pleasure doing business with you. I'll send you pics of them finished (if they come out halfway decent that is). Thanks again"
John H. (Montana) said:
It was a fantastic day when I came home on Saturday and saw two bundles on the front porch. The wood chips are really flying. Its funny though Peeling a diamond willow stick is like opening Christmas presents as a young boy. They are so full of surprises. I am so pleased with the order and there are some real beauties among them. The special stick is beyond description. I've already put all day on it and it is developing into one of my best pieces ever. Just can't get enough of the stuff :-). I feel like I have known you for years now and am so glad I found your web page when I did. Its great to have nice stock to work with again.
Albert S. (Tennessee) said:
Thanks Ken, What can I say? That stick sure is a beauty!!! It feels just right, and is the right height. It is definitely the one I needed. Instead of seeing all the things wrong in the world, folks should appreciate the beauty of nature more than they do. It is all around us! And this walking stick is such a prime example.
Gerald S (Texas) said:
"Ken, Just to let you know you were right, the sticks came today, and they are fantastic! Thanks, GVS"
Bill C. (California) said:
"We want you to know that a dear friend of ours loves his new walking stick. We gave him stick# 134 right after our Christmas Eve dinner. All our guests were amazed at the beauty of diamond willow. Thanks for this great opportunity! We'll be looking for more sticks this coming year (55"-65"). Keep us on your email list."
"I received them last Friday. The post carrier (not our regular one) must of thought I was completly out of my mind. He rang the doorbell, and when I opened it and saw he was standing there with my wood, I yelled "OH BOY, MY STAFFS HAVE ARRIVED!!!" He jumped back and handed them to Bill, my husband. Guess he was afraid to hand them to me. They are great. Thanks so much. I am sure that you will be hearing from me again.
J.H. (Montana) wrote:
"Hi Ken: The sticks just arrived and they are great. These are the perfect size. The one you hid for me is just beautiful. Before I opened it up completely a beautiful spirit just jumped out at me. More than half complete already and I havn't even started yet. Thanks so much and I be in touch again soon."
Edward L. (Louisiana) said:
"Ken The sticks arrived today. They are really beautiful. I will take them to carving class tonight and show them off."
Terry T (Washington) wrote:
"Hi Ken... Happy New Year! I meant to send this Saturday but I plum forgot! The sticks arrived in Spokane today in perfect condition and they are beautiful!"
Craig S. (Nevada) said:
"I just wanted to send you a quick e-mail to let you know that the stix were a welcome christmas present and were better than anything seen in many years. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that 2001 will be even better....... Craig"
B.M. (Michigan) said:
"You indicate that your site has the largest selection -- which indeed it does -- but I believe your story is truly told once you check out the photos (I can only imagine how nice they are 'in person') --- NOBODY but NOBODY has the sort of range or quality (of diamonds shapes sizes) you have. You're really truly head & shoulders over any competition here or in Canada. At least that's what my e-search effort has convinced me -- indeed, you're hands-down the best source for Diamond Willow stuff, period."
Julie (Minnesota) wrote:
"The stick(s) arrived on Thursday just fine! The diamond willow is absolutely beautiful! My mom will love it. She is 75, can do more than I can, but needs to walk for her hip. We have a cabin up north (that's what us Minnesota people call it, but it sure isn't Grand Prairie in latitude!), where she does most of her walking. I couldn't find a stick I liked for her last year. I'm glad I tried that internet and found you Ken. So, thanks so much, and have a wonderful holiday season, and much success with your sticks. Julie"
G.C. (Pennsylvania) wrote:
"I just received the walking stick that I ordered from you. It truly is a beautiful piece of wood and it has a great feel to it."
A disabled gentleman (P.C.) in Alabama wrote, after he received a bundle of sticks:
"Ken, they are very pretty. Everyone loves them. I'm gonna to leave them alone and sand poly*** them. Sell as walking sticks. There are a couple I could carve but I don't want to mess them up. While I'm thinking about it, do you have any short bigger round pieces that I could carve. Say 5" to or what size you have. 12" to 18 "or so tall? ............... I can't tell how much I like the sticks."
J.O. (Ontario) said, after he got home from vacation:
"Got home in good shape and the DW were waiting for me thank you sooo much they are just great"
K.P. (Georgia) said:
"I just wanted to let you know your walking stick is beautiful, It was a great success on Christmas morning. I don't think my husband has put it down since! I also wanted to thank you for the unfinished stick you sent along with stick #3. I wasn't able to open the package before Christmas Eve so I didn't realize until then what you had done. It makes a great "partner" for me =)."
L.E. (Ohio) said:
"Hi Ken..I received my sticks yesterday..They are beautiful..I thank you very much"
D.K. (Ontario) said:
"Just a short note to let you know that the walking stick arrived safe and sound. It looks great and I can't wait to see to wife's face Christmas morning.... Now all I have to do is wrap it so it isn't obvious what it is."
M.S. (New York) wrote, after receiving his sticks:
"Hi Ken, I received the sticks on Saturday. Very nice DW. I especially like the ones with the larger diameters. I hope to do more business with you in the near future. I also will bring the sticks to my carving club meeting and may be able to drum up a few orders for you."
M.O. (Michigan): (who had ordered severals sticks so huge I thought he must be building a log cabin, or at least a fence) said, after his sticks arrived:
"The three moose bonkers arrived this afternoon. They are exactly what I was looking for. They will be large, but impressive, walking sticks, and they provide a lot of opportunity for me to do some carving on them. THANKS A LOT!!!" Later M.O. was getting some more sticks from me and wrote: "I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again for continuing to be such a great help in stick selection. It is a pleasure to purchase sticks from you. It's hard to beat great quality plus great service!!" And later, Mel wrote: "Ken, Thanks for your thorough and honest evaluation of stick . I am extremely appreciative of your willingness to help your customers make stick selections that will make them happy. (Please feel free to quote me on this point.) Given your assessment, I'm going to "pass" on stick 5 and wait (excitedly) for your cuttings next year. I hope you are able to find two or three of those 77" very straight, super-diamond moose bonkers for me. Hopefully, you will get your check by next Monday or Tuesday. Your very happy customer. Mel PS --- If anyone asks where to get excellent diamond willow from an honest supplier, you are going to get a very enthusiastic endorsement from me. (Please feel free to quote.)"
G.J. (Georgia) wrote:
"Hey Ken, got the sticks Friday..just picked them up today. They are great! Already have an order for one or two..... .........They are the most unusual stick I have seen. Thanks for shipping them."
Harry D.F. said:
"Considering all the work involved, how do you sell them for such an extremely low price? Especially since the ones on your website are some of the best looking ones I've ever seen, having a lot of diamonds (more work!)."
"I make it to canada every fall. I go to Morson Canada. To do a little fishing and willowing. Let's face it the CANADIAN DIAMOND WILLOW IS THE BEST, i have seen."
Terry C. (Washington State) said, after she received the sticks I sent her:
"The sticks arrived today and I'm very happy with them. The small finished one is great. Thanks. I can't wait to start peeling bark. :) Ken, I just finished the partially debarked stick that you sent and it turned out beautifully. There is so much red in this stick, it's awesome! I'm working on the second stick now." Some weeks later she emailed, asking for more sticks, saying " I just LOVE this wood! I'm very happy with all the sticks and anxious to get started on them."
Ed F. said:
"I have carved one of them in the past and DW has become my favorite choice for sticks. They are absolutely beautiful and unmatched by anything I've seen thus far."
J.P. (California) said, after he bought some of my sticks:
"And I will recommend you as often as I like. You do have better prices and better looking wood. I will continue to buy it from you and if you find antlers and what not I can use I will do the same."
L.H. (Virginia) wrote:
"Ken ... Just wanted to let you know I received my order...Thanks for adding in the instructions and the diamond willow Free Disks. I'll be buying again for sure!"
One friend (in Alaska) told me after he received his sticks:
"Hi Ken, Just visited your site again to look at the pictures of my sticks and I just had to write and tell you that even though you do a good job taking their pictures, they just don't compare with holding the real thing in my hands. They are beautiful and the grain in the diamonds is just unbelievable."
"Ken, I was out of town for a few days and when I returned the three most recently purchased sticks were waiting for me. They are great. Also, thanks for the mini bonker that was "thrown in." I am going to use it for some practice and finishing testing. Hope you had a great (and safe) holiday period. Thanks again. Mel."
"Ken, The sticks arrived today and they must feel right at home 'cause the weather in NC has actually been a real Winter for the first time in the six years we've been here. Bought the larger sticks with the idea that I'd do some carving, but they're so beautiful I don't think I'll do it. These are really nature's works of art. The pictures on your site as good as they are don't do them justice. Thanks and thanks also for the landscape pictures on you site... make a great screen saver. Jerry"
"Ken, The stick came today. A beautiful piece of wood. I will carve something for the top. How did you get the bark off so cleanly? Was it green when you took it off. I don't see any scrape marks. Its just the right thickness for what I am doing. I am thinking of carving the four characters of Tom Wolfe's friendship cane and make that the top piece. Maybe add a rubber piece on the bottom. How have you been finishing yours? I have been using tung oil only. I first put a half and half of tung oil and thinner then straight tung oil. Jim..."
"Guess what? About 11:30 this morning up drives the sticks. There were tired from the long walk. I really like what I see. When I get these near done, I will want to order some that are longer for staffs. They arrived well packaged and I found no broken ones. Thanks for the good wood. Keep in touch and fight for the taxpayer he's paying your bills. Harold"
"Hi Ken, Just got the mail and wanted you to know the sticks came today. They are in perfect condition and are beautiful. You did a great job working them and also wrapping and shipping them. I look forward to doing more business with you in the future." Later, J.J. wrote "Just visited you site again to look at the pictures of my sticks and I just had to write and tell you that even though you do a good job taking their pictures, they just don't compare with holding the real thing in my hands. They are beautiful and the grain in the diamonds is just unbelievable."
"Thanks Ken-H is my other half-Its her e mail and your sticks ARE the best I have seen-we have willow -But nothing to put next to the ones we received from you"
"...thanks for sending the sticks to my daughter Kiersten. She thinks they're beautiful, and is very grateful. Don"
"Ken, The sticks arrived today!! I Love them. The two little ones are just perfect for my sons. My oldest just went on his first overnight trip with his Boy Scout troop this weekend and I think I am going to give him one to mark the ccasion. Of course they were waiting on the porch for us when we came home from our annual Hike-a-thon. Things just work out that way. I really appreciate all of the time that you took to help me and my husband loves his birthday present. I think it is the first time I have gotten him something that he loves. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!"
"Hello, Got the sticks today and am really pleased with them."
"Good morning ken. Just wanted to let you know that i recieved my sticks monday. Im very impressed with your selections."
"I received your magnificent walking sticks on Saturday, Thank you for the additional "reject", it was also, very good looking. I want to thank you again for you honesty and integrity. And for the speed that they were shipped. Thanks"
"Hi Ken Got the stix. Thanks for the freebie. Just as others have told you, I'm already getting admiring comments about them. Thanks again."
"Hello Ken, I just got the stick today, and it is great! I'm very happy with it, well worth waiting for. Can't wait to show it to my friends. I see you have updated your pages, I'm looking forward to checking them out tonight. Thank you again, Archie."
"Ken, The sticks arrived today in great shape. They are wonderful---just what I was expecting."
"Ken, I just found your web page and am interested in getting some DW that still have the bark on. I just got back from Alaska and brought one stick back with me. Your DW looks way better than anything I saw up there."
P.M. (VERMONT) said:
"Hi Ken....I received the sticks yesterday. They are just beautiful. I think that X2 is my favorite, but then I look at one of the others and I change my mind. Thank you so much. You certainly are a super craftsman. I love the oiled finish (but X10 is so beautiful with the varnished finish). We had snow this past week, but are looking at Indian Summer again this weekend. I love it. Fall is always my favorite time of year. We just celebrated our 36th Anniversary yesterday. I guess that we must be doing something right. Thank you again for all of the work you put in to make these beautiful pieces of art. Pam"
A.P. (S. Carolina) wrote:
"Hello Ken, I got the sticks today, and they are wonderful!! Of course #159 is the best one I could have picked, I am surprised at the other one you sent with it. It is a big one that looks as if it could be sold also. You know more about that than I ever would. Thank you very much for the sticks, I will be watching your website for the new sticks and because it's a nice place to visit and relax. Best regards, Archie"