Your waster is hand made and the wood is carefully selected in an attempt to help the waster resist the damage that is inevitable if it is used in any form of practice that entails hard contact with other wasters, as well as shields, armor, and pells. The waster will eventually break. When it will break is impossible to predict and depends on how often and vigorously the waster is used and whether or not it is being used appropriately, and as intended.
As you use your waster, please check it often for cracks or splinters. Do not use a cracked waster. If your waster has any splinters, sand them down gently and then coat the sanded area with polyurethane.
The waster should be lightly sanded and re-coated with polyurethane over its entire length periodically to keep it smooth and moisture resistant. Only use polyurethane to coat your waster unless you sand the entire surface clean. Most other coatings will not adhere well to polyurethane.
Do not leave any waster in direct sunlight, or in areas of extreme heat or cold, such as in a car in the summer or in the shed during the winter. This may cause the wood to dry out, crack, or warp. This will result in a significant reduction in the life of the waster, and may make the waster unsafe to use.
Do not let a waster get soaking wet. If it does get wet, dry it as soon as possible with a cloth. Do not heat the waster in any way to dry it. Allow it to dry out naturally after wiping it dry. If the polyurethane coating is maintained, short-term exposure to the elements should not damage the waster.
Do not use wasters against metal weapons or shields. Use against rounded surfaces of armor will generally be safe, but sharp edges of wood or metal such as those on the rim of a wooden shield or the edge of a metal blade may gouge the wood. This will result in a significant reduction in the life of the waster, and may make the waster unsafe to use.
Do not neglect maintaining your waster. Lightly sanding the waster and re-coating it with polyurethane will allow the wood to change its moisture content evenly and slowly with the environment and should extend the life of your waster.
If you have any questions concerning how to care for your waster, please email Hickory Arms before trying your own remedy. It is unlikely that it will be easy to undo any mistakes.
With proper care and maintenance your waster should last functionally for many years.