A few weeks ago I started with a project that I thought was covered for sure. And I did find some instructables here which featured helpfull information about what I wanted to do but not the exact project I had in mind. And usually this ain't the case.
Inspiration and Guidelines:
So here goes. I am a hobby photographer with sometimes the need for a tri- or monopod. But always carry my super-heavy-sturdy tri-pod is just not fun. And after my first "Spring/Summer" walk I quickly made an improvised walking staff out of drift wood. Improvised I say becasue I knew it would not support my camera nor the other options I would have liked to include. So at home, I choose a branch of an elm (I think, I might correct that after I know for sure;) already cut. And that's where we will begin.
At the end I hope to end up with a handy, walking staff which can double as a monopod for my camera, has a watch and a compass installed and several straps, and pouches for storing stuff.
- Dremel or equivalent
- Wire Cutters
- Sharp Knife
- Drill & Bits
- Sanding Paper
- Small Hinges + Screws
- Wood Paint or equivalent
- Watch & Compass
- Screw & Nut (6mm o) (the same as most cameras)
- Lether or Twine
I will try to give this instructable an order that was absent during creation and experimentation.
A little sneak peak of the finished project
Step 1: The Branch
First thing I checked was my eye height, I really hate bending down to my Tri-Pod's so I wanted something on the right level. It had to be bigger than that because I knew I would cut and file a lot of material off and I needed a big head piece to house "The Hat".
The first afternoon I spent shaving off the dark and hard bark with a sharp knife. I already made the decision at that point which would be the head-piece and the bottom-piece. No pictures of that process though. Sorry.
Also no pictures of the time I spen t, sanding, knifing, shaving, dremel a lot of material of the inner bark (a light brown in my case). After the experience I made; with quite a thick branche you could go for something stronger and faster (maybe a true power drill with a sanding disk) . Also I would suggest you check the rings... maybe you like the colour of the core a lot more than the outer rings. But at first glance I thought my core would not be big enough to house all my additions.
After well 2 or 3 days of work... back and forth in my case, as mentioned before I experimented a lot. You should end up with a quite nice staff already. But very rough and still quite large and possible heavy.
I implore you not to make the same mistake as I and finish your polish and then decied to still shave of some millimeters there and there... try to plan in through.
- Cutting Point for the Monopod Attachment (Screw Fitting),
this should be at eye height or better a bit lower think how big your camera is and guesstimate where the viewer would end up.
- enough left over space in "The Hat" which I call the detachable head-piece.
I decided to include a watch and a compass within my "Hat" So I did not need a lot of space... maybe you plan something different...
- Grooves for straps and if you would like to thin out your staff or even carve a pattern in to it... (that's actually out of my leauge.)
- Last but not least, think about your bottom part.
Cut there first and I sharpened it a bit as well (didn't make piercing tip but did cut off quite a bit)
I used the dremel to create three groves at that point. One on the Head-Piece and one above the handgrip to tie the removable head to the staff, the last one in the lower third to give myself a starting point from which I started thinning out the staff. Definetely will double for a shoulder strap holder.
All the measurements and guidelines I just made up on the fly, use common sense to avoid many of my mistakes... ;)
Step 2: The Head-Piece and "The Hat"
You know where you hold your staff, where your camera goes, what kind of space you need for your additions...you marked it?
Then it's time I guess
Measure twice, cut once...
Now your staff is in three pieces, and I myself got a bit nervous at that point. But I think your still doing fine...
From this: To this:
------------ - -- ---------
1st Cut: The Hinged Addition Housing
I thought far enough to cut one piece after the other, and the smaller one first.
Other wise I would have ended up with a small piece of wood very annoying to cut.
I left ca. 2 cm of space in the top-part knowing that only a small watch would go in there.
At the back I carved out a space to house the hinge and I overdid it with my first pass, which led to a not so plane surface. But I decided it will hold. And it does.
The Middle-Part is so big not because I needed the space, I think you could easily make a secret hiding space for at least a film roll. I still wished for a rather large (in height) staff...
2nd Cut: The Screw-Mounting-Monopod
First thing there of course was checking the size of the screw and nut that would fit together and on to my cameras (which these 6mm screw does). Because I thought it would be the one thing that coul really FUBAR the whole project I drilled the holes within the core in the staff and in to "The Hat" before anything else.
But only bit by bit and did a lot of the fine work wih the dremel. The Nut-Mount in "The Hat" particular held firm after I hammered it in there. I didn't want these fittings to loosely. I started with "normal" glue but this did not hold, so I used some two component-super-glue... which did the trick. (But I had to file lose my screw after it set... so don't spill as much as I did ;)
Before gluing it firmly in place I fixed the screw (the nut was held firmly) so that it would flow with the movement of the wood and follow my cut. This worked surprisingly well. I would say if I can do it so can you.
Also I used quite a long screw and decided to screw two nuts already on it so the empty space between wood and screw shrank and only a little glue was needed.
The Latch Mechanism
One sleepless night I was playing with some wire and after that I had a working latch design, which I used right away. This just happend... so no "manual" other than the pictures of the "closing mechanism".
Step 3: Inside the Hat / Watch & Compass
I found the perfect size compass first so I started with this one. Marked a general outline of the item on the wood. And sanded it away with the dremel. Until it was deep enough to house the modified compass.
I bought a new one was not verry lucky on my thrift-store search. Again outlined the size and used the dremel again but this time with the appropriate attachment to carve the outline. I guess with a little more patience you can make a fairly pretty niche.
How to keep it together
I am perfectly sure that there are other and prettier ways to keep these items from falling out. But I actually had only two requirements. It had to be at hand (no buying) and wanted it to be removable. The hinge and the two picture-frame holders done the trick in my opinion.
Since after the installment of the items the two parts did not align as well anymore I decided to fill the gap with a few leather snippets.
Step 4: The End
The staff is a little bit shorter now and I decided to carve a second handgrip, for several reasons. Telescoping, "fighting" and for fun.
Wrapped both handgrips with the same leather strips already used to braid the "holding straps" for the sholder strap. Once I learn something I tend to use it twice... and never again... ;)
Step 5: Leather Strap (Optional)
But I already made it. And it is quite easy. Is still have to waterproof the leather with something...
Now I think most of you can braid ... it is actually quite simple and probably you will find a lot of great instructables.
Below you see the sample that was created for me to experiment if it would work.