Walking stick is a great and useful tool that can help the outdoor enthusiasts in many ways.If you are walking,it can provide support when going uphill or as brake when going downhill.It can be used to check the ground,the mud, the depth of a creek or river if it’s long enough.It clears spider webs and thick brush and grass on the trail. Also,it can be used as defensive weapon;if someone wishes a spear head can easily attached to it.
To begin with your project,you have to find a stick long enough for your height.The stick should be around the height of your chest, although it is not wrong if you like a longer stick.Mine is at the same height of my shoulder,but as I mentioned it’s all matter of personal preference.As general rule try to bend your hand at 45 degrees and hold the stick.This will give you and idea on the perfect length.
The wood should be at least one inch thick,and not dead wood.You should let it dry for sometime,usually two weeks to one month.It depends of the thickness of the wood.The type of the wood should be hardwood and so it could be oak,hickory,cedar or ash or similar.My personal walking stick is made from olive wood.The stick should be as straight as possible but if it’s not too straight you can hang it and it will come straight to some point.
The next step is to remove the bark from the stick.You could do this before you let your stick dry.I tend to do this always.You can use a knife,preferably with scandi grind or any type that you like most.After that,you should use sandpaper to remove knots but also to make a smoother feeling while you are holding your stick.You can also round the edges of the stick.
I started with 100 grit sandpaper.This type is rough and will remove much material from the knots.I run it two times and gave more attention to the knot points.Next I used 200 grit sandpaper,again followed the same procedure as mentioned previously.For the last step I used 400 grit sandpaper.This type of sandpaper will give a much smoother feeling.
After you finished with the sanding,it’s time to stain the stick.Before the staining you can decorate it with pyrography designs.For my walking stick I used boiled linseed oil.You can use the same or tungsten oil,which is also safe If comes in contact with surfaces that you use to process food.I applied one coat of oil,let it dry and then I used a 400 grit sandpaper to remove excess stain.After that ,I applied another coat of linseed oil and after the drying I used again the 400 grit sandpaper.I repeated the process 3 -4 times totally.
When you had completed the stain process,is time to apply a protective coat to your stick.I prefer a coat of bee wax,which will give a waterproof shield and also darkening the color of the stick;not much but it will look more rustic.
The final step is optional and is the making of the grip.To make a grip you can use paracord,leather stripes or piece or even bank line.Everything is matter of personal taste.I sewn a piece of leather to make my grip.
The process of making a walking stick is a great experience.It takes time,needs patience and some effort but the result will pay you back.It is a beautiful feeling to hold something that you have created and personalize on your own.I would suggest to everyone to make this journey,it worths a lot.