How to Make Your First Walking Stick





Introduction: How to Make Your First Walking Stick

About: I love electronic projects and anything to do with a robot. I still have a lot to learn and I love instructibles.

Okay, so let's get this straight, this is my second instructable, so constructive criticism is always helpful. The methods of making a walking stick that I am about to show you were made by trial and error on my own behalf. If you have a better method I would love to hear about it. It"s going to take a lot of time and patience to make a walking stick. I recommend getting some audio books or movies to pass the time while you work. It will take about a week and a half to make a decent walking stick. You can go faster, but it usually doesn't look as nice, so take your time.

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Thank you for your time, please enjoy the instructable!

Step 1: Finding the Stick

For this step you will need:
keen eyes,
Good places to look for walking sticks are government owned trails, because they are constantly trimming the branches over walkways. They simply throw the branches in the grass on the side of the trail. That's my favorite way to find them, because nobody cares if you take them. The stick should be above your shoulder or the shoulder of the person you're making it for. If you have extra time to build the walking stick, take a branch that's still a little green, it will make the next step easier. You can also find a branch that's dry, but not too dry. To test it, whack it against the ground, if it cracks and splinter then you don't want it! As you can see you have to find the branch in a "butter zone," not too green not too dry.

Step 2: Shaving and Sawing

For this step you will need:
a sharp pocket knife,
and a saw.

This is where the green stick comes in handy. Use your knife and press with your thumb as shown. If it's green the bark will all come off in a big strip, if it's dry like mine was, then you'll just have to take a little longer. Follow the grain of the wood and work around the knots up and down with your knife, be careful I'm not responsible for any injuries. Once you have it shaved, pull out your saw and cut off any protruding knots or twigs that you don't want. Don't worry if it looks rough, it will be handled in the next step. Oh, and if your stick is green, once you completely shave it let it sit for a week or two until it's dry and brown.

Step 3: Sanding

For this step all you will need is:
Okay, so now you need to sand the stick so that it's not so sharp, plus it will make it easier to stain. I like to take a big piece of sand paper and fold it in half. To sand, simply slide the sand paper up and down along the stick . Up and down, not side to side. You may need to use a lot of sand paper.

Step 4: Staining

You can skip this step if you just want the natural color of the wood, skip to step five
for this step you will need:
  1. wood stain of your choice
  2. foam brushes or sponges
  3. a place to work
  4. paper to prevent mess
  5. rubber gloves
You can find tons of stains at you're local hardware store. I would recommend dark walnut or something shiny but it's your choice. You're going to need a place to work with a table and some ventilation. I had a spare bedroom with a table, which I covered in thick brown paper. Put on your rubber gloves and carefully open the can of stain,(make sure you close the door and open the window, stain smells really strong!) Dip your brush and stain one side of you're walking stick. Follow the grain, remember up and down, a little goes a long way. As you finish staining the first side you will notice stain begins to run down the sides, spread these out or they will dry and look bad. Wait a few hours for it to dry (do not touch it while its drying it leaves big smudges) then flip it over and repeat the process. Once that side dries, depending on your stain, you may need to add a second coat. Otherwise, just look for any little spots you missed.

Step 5: Adding the Clear Coat

For this step you will need:
lint free rag
clear coat/urethane
rubber gloves
paint stick
This is a very important step. The clear coat protects the stain and keeps the wood from rotting. You need a rag that has no lint so that it won't get stuck on the walking stick. Do not use a foam brush it makes air bubbles and looks really bad. The first step is to stir the clear coat not shake it. If any bubbles appear in the can, wait for them to settle before you begin. Take your rag and dip it into the stain, then simply rub it on, following the grain. Make sure it's all covered and then wait a few hours for it to dry. When it's completely dry, flip it over and repeat the process. It's a good idea to add a second coat for durability. I hope you found this informative. Congratulations you just made a walking stick literally from the ground up! I would appreciate your vote.

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    24 Discussions

    You might want to try Diamond Willow for the wood. In addition to the looks, willow is very strong and hard to break, its hard to even break a stick off the tree. I did a fast Google search and found these images.

    Here are some of my videos on it that I just recently did.

    One tip for staining: try using a rag instead of a brush. It applies the stain a little easier and without as much waste. After you finish applying the stain, wait a couple of minutes, then wipe off the excess. It's better to do a few thin coats than one thick one. I learned this from a carpenter.

    Has anyone used those thick vines that hang from trees to make a
    walking stick? I cut a cool looking piece down and it's drying now.

    1 reply

    I was wondering that also. I have to make a staff for Rafiki for my daughter's school's production of Lion King

    I've made these from various native (western New York State) woods.

    2 replies

    hi Debi, I wrap the stick with paracord. I then 'shrink' the cord by applying a coat of polyurethane.

    Awesome instructions. I have a shorter thicker piece I want to use to make a cane. I have a bronze colored birds head handle I want to use.
    My question is, when you sand, what grit(s) do you use? your photo shows a packaged 'kit', which I assume is varying grits. Where do you start? How fine do you go?

    I use oak, maple (sugar maple, red maple, scarlet maple) and elm. All work well. See pics above!

    Usually what I do is put the smallest nail I can find in the bottom end of the stick and hang it up for staining and applying the clear coat so I can do the whole thing at the same time I don't have to wait for one side to dry before flipping over to do the other

    Very informative and easy! Thanks!

    Thank you so much for giving so much great advice on mine, here's a bit of advice on yours. You should write the complete materials (and tools) in a section right after the introduction. That way people will understand the complete needs for a project, and they don't need to read through the top of every step to see if they can do it. Very nice job!

    Is that the same thing I'm not much of a wood expert

    Wow diamond willow looks amazing too bad it doesn't grow in idaho

    If you put the clear coat on first the stain won't Go on very well

    Oh it turned out nice . :-)

    I like to put clear on then after it drys rub stain on it then hit the high spots with sandpaper then clear coat again

    I love the instructable! you got my vote for all of the contests! Also, try to use Tongue oil for a clear coat. If you rub it with fine steel wool every coat you get a High-Gloss finish that doesn't darken the wood at all.