To be honest, finding unique pieces of manzanita is both the challenge and the adventure. My goal is to find unique piece that are artistic in form and able to be used into interesting items. For my candle holders i like to use dead branches that have aged around 6 years. These branches are repeatedly soaked in water for 20 minutes and then wire brushed to remove any dirt, grim, moss, old bark and to clean out the unique areas and accentuate the beauty. I typically make 6-10 at a time. The sanding portion takes a long time to complete with each end piece, base, and sometimes the top. I sand down to 400grit. Although 220 would be sufficient I like the beauty with such a polished surface. Plus, I use oils rather than urethane's, which can accommodate the differences. Lastly, I place felt pads under each to prevent scratching on surfaces. Besides, it gives each piece a nice professional look.