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Try using hardwood for the stem. Drill the center and place an opened wire coat hanger in the drilled hole. Wrap a length of twine length wise from hole to hole. twist a long bolt in one side of the twine. Soak the stem in water for a few days. After soaking take the stem out twist the bolt a few more times, and place back in the water. Repeat this until you have the desired curve, then place in a dehydrator on low until moisture is gone. Remove twine and wire from stem, then carve to desired shape.