Re: Cutting sticks
Cutting the stick down to 16" will have no effect on the balance in any way differently than the way that a stick that's 16" from the factory is balanced. You guys know how they make drum sticks, right? They take wood, lathe it, and cut it. There is no magic involved.
Just try and make the cut neat and straight, and hit it with some sandpaper to smooth it out when you're done. It would suck to get a splinter. You might consider slowly turning the stick as you cut through so that the final cut separates the nub from the stick in the middle of the dowel, as cutting straight through may splinter a little at the end of the cut.