What I mean is keeping them in fine and safely applied condition.
I used to have six crooked-handled bamboo spanking canes but disposed of them recently when I moved this year (=!=).
I now use freshly whittled switches from good pedigree trees, shaved of all bark.
Rather than leaving an ache these leave a tingling sting (-!-).

When using any form of wooden spanking rod, its essential they are soaked for around 24 hours with table salt, say in a bath overnight, to prevent them becoming brittle before being deployed.
Out of slight context with this thread heading, this treatment can also be applied to a wooden ruler or wooden yardstick.

Obvious enough this treatment does not apply to the synthetic fibre used in a riding crop or fibre dowl.