Make a walking stick for between £7 and free. I took 4 days. Mostly waiting for the varnish to dry. The construction can be done in an afternoon.
I have been making walking sticks for a couple of years now and enjoy this simple craft. I have sold and given away dozens in this time. Each one is individual and a joy to own.
Here is a simple Hazel walker with a modified crook handle made of sapele wood. I have simplified construction of this project for people who have never made a stick. I dont suppose it will win any competitions but it looks lovely, is sturdy and unique.
You have the option of making a shepherds crook. The crook is a great stick for hill walking as its length makes it easier to climb down steeps hils better. The crook is great to pull down fruit tree branches, catch sheep, geese etc. and for carrying your 'doggie bag' when taking Rover on his walks too!
I hope I have addressed everything in this instructable. Read through it first before asking me any questions.
1 quite straight, seasoned wood shank at least 1 metre long
1 precut crook handle or block of wood 28 -30mm thick and approximately 15cm square
1 60mm length of 8mm stud (mine is from a skip although a bolt with the head cut off would do)
small slice buffalo horn / bone (optional)
metal and/or rubber ferrule the diameter of the metal one is critical as it must be flush with the end of the shank
epoxy glue or resin
clear yacht varnish
sellotape or masking tape
selection of wood rasps - mine were from £1 shop!
engineers file (£1 shop)
various grits sandpaper (Aldi) 60grit to 240grit at least
heat gun (if shank needs straightening) or a big pan with lid and a stove
drill and 8mm wood bit
electric jigsaw (if you are cutting you own handle) or fretsaw if you are adventurous
trusty swiss army knife or any sharp knife
Any wood will do for the shaft or the handle. These are just two that I had. It's nice to make a stick with a contrasting handle. I chose sapele wood for its dark red colouring and this piece of hazel is a silvery gold colour. I use a small slice of buffalo horn as an interface between the two in order to straighten any unevenness between the shank and the handle. Of course you can get a ready made pole such as a yard brush handle. I recommend you file it down its length into a taper and use the sandpaper to finish it off.
perhaps some of the materials used are usually not available in the average workshop but as they appear in the instructable i shall give a link to suppliers IN THE UK. You ought to be able to find suppliers in your country. thestickman.co.uk has a forum where stickmakers all over the world swop tips and recommend suppliers in their territory.
Pic 01 my hazel shank dried for at least a year. Pick them in october to december, they will be ready to use a year later. If you cut the stick while the leaves are on the tree you can add at least 4 more months to the drying time.
or buy one - se below.
My shank is almost straight but could bend in use. This can be straightened, more of this later. shanks with 'doglegs' in can't be straightened. If you have a shank with branches on, nip the branches off and file them flush to the shank. This will add plenty of character to the shank. I like to leave them slightly proud of the surface but rounded off smooth. Giving it a pleasingly knobbly appearance. You can buy a pre seasoned shank from thestickman.co.uk, he has a good selection of ash, hazel, birch, sycamore, blackthorn and others from about £3 for hazel and more for the others. He does precut handles too. as well as the metal and rubber ferrules, 8mm stud and buffalo horn discs (spacers)
Pic 02 is a life size scan of a precut crook handle. I buy precut handles in lots of woods from ebay.co.uk for £3 from 'sarasoddsandends' she charges £2 postage for any quantitiy. If you print the image out to 17.5cm width, the handle is lifesize. Use the photo as a template to cut the handle. Preferably use a bandsaw but I find a normal electric jigsaw, used slowly, is just as good. The blackline on the photo is where i cut the crook handle for use as a walker. the red line is where i cut it for a full turned crook handle If you are adventurous, the oddly shaped end is designed to have a thistle shape carved out of it. If you are making a shepherds crook then use a much longer shank - 1.5 metres.
pic 02a precut crook handle
pic 03 modified crook handle. The wood underneath is a blank of English lime