Introduction: Carving a Barber Pole Quarter Staff

Using a Dremel, five bits and some salvaged wood, you can give your favorite barber something to walk with.

Step 1: Salvage

The first step is material.  I had an old (40 year old) wooden 8 ft Douglas Fir 2x4 ladder that had begun to dry rot.  Pulling it apart, I was able to salvage 2 2x2 pieces of wood around 5 ft in length.

Step 2: Carving

I wanted both square and round areas on the staff so first I decided where they should go.  Then using my model 300 Dremel and a large drum sanding bit I began to round the rounded areas.
Once all the areas were roughed in, I layed out the words on the flat surfaces and the spirals on the round "pole".
The words were not difficult, after deciding the word I wanted and how tall the letters needed to be, I found the center of the flat surface and the middle of the word, drew the letters on the wood and using the smallest and second smallest round carving bit on the Dremel I proceeded to separate the letters from the back ground.
The spirals were a problem but, I have a 40 year old carving book that tells how to lay out them.
First find the diameter of the pole.  Next decide how many spirals you want.  I wanted 3 because most U.S. barber poles have 3 colors, red, white and blue.
Second, using 1/3 the diameter, mark the pole from top to bottom.
Third, again using the 1/3 diameter, cut a strip of paper that width and long enough to wrap around the pole starting at the top and going to the bottom.
Fourth, wrap the pole with the paper, making sure the edge of the paper strip touches the lines you drew on the pole and using the edge of the paper as a guide, draw the spiral
Finally, I used my smallest round bit on the Dremel and cut the spiral lines from top to bottom.  Using the next bigger round bit I enlarged to lines and rounded the spirals.  I then switched to a large tear shaped stone to finish the rounding.

Step 3: Completion

After I was happy with the carving work, I hand sanded the entire pole with varying grits of sandpaper.
Once the sanding was done, I stained the white colored fir a cherry wood color to seal the wood and enhance the grain pattern.
After the stain was dry, I applied enamel paint to the letter background, letters, spirals and other decorative areas.
After the enamel was dry, I used 4 coats of spray lacquer to give the entire piece an overall gloss.
After a final rub with fine steel wool I applies paste wax and glued on a rubber foot made from an old inner tube.