Following my recent post about birching I have received a number of questions. Here you can find collective answer to them.
Birch needs to be made fresh to be supple for use, but also to avoid unnecessary cuts of the skin. When it dries out it gets hard and brittle. It shreds to pieces when used too quickly and is likely to cut.
That means I mostly offer it in North East where such trees can be easily found (not in Central London where if a birch is growing it has no low branches as they have been cut away for the buses or is a part of one of the small parks). I can use it in London if I have a session with you during my first 2 days down there.
Birches (like the one here) don’t really bruise as they are too light. They do however leave a lot of marks on the surface. If you are an experienced player, those marks will most likely disappear quite quickly. If you are not very experienced or know to mark easily from canes (the famous tramlines) that it is likely the marks will persist for quite some time. 3-4 weeks is *NOT* uncommon.
How late in the season birches can be used depends on the weather. They have to be picked from a green tree that still has *some* leaves left. I remember a birch being successfully used as late as December, but that was much further south. Probably not a feasible expectation in North East.
How does it feel? Some say like being stung by dozens of bees at once. I think that’s a great exaggeration but certainly it is an intense sensation of that sort. (Certainly doesn’t swell like a bee sting does!)
To make a birch to use on you I will need a notice so I can to make it. The thing doesn’t make itself. Same day or next day appointments *HIGHLY* unlikely.
I might be updating this post as I receive more questions about birches.