Introduction: Diamond Willow Walking Stick
Do you want to make a walking stick? How about making a diamond willow walking stick.
You don't need a diamond willow stick to follow along, any stick will work. But diamond willow looks the best.
- Carving Knife
- Rotary tool
- finish (oil, varnish, polyurethane, lacquer)
- Palm sander
Step 1: Find a Stick
Diamond willow grows in the northern areas of North America. The best places to find diamond willow are near rivers, swamps, and roadside ditches in rural areas. It likes to grow in wet and damp places for a fungus to grow and form diamond shapes.
Don't be afraid to go on a hike to find them, also bring a saw to cut them down, and only cut what you need. Do not take a bunch from one area but go around to different places to gather them. You want to leave some behind, so they can grow bigger and the area stays healthy. Warning: do not trespass, and check that you’re allowed to cut down trees in your area.
Step 2: Let It Dry
Set them aside to dry. they could take over a year to dry depending on how big they are. It does not matter where you store them, outside or in a garage. Warning: do not store sticks inside of your house, because there may still be bugs in them.
While they are still new and fresh, you can bend them and shape them into any shape you want, then tie and clap them down to hold that shape. For example, you may wish to have a cane shape or to make it straighter.
Optional - You can peel the bark off before letting it dry. this will help it dry faster and sometimes give the stick a lighter colour. I leave the bark on to give the sticks a richer colour.
Step 3: Start Carving
Before the fun bit. Cut the walking stick to the height you want. I recommend cutting it to head height if you're going to be using it. However, if you're going to display it, then it does not matter.
Peel off the bark with a knife, belt sander, drawknife, or a wood rasp. I use a drawknife to peel off large amounts of bark at a time. But a pocketknife will still get the job done.
Once all the bark is off and only the diamonds (diamond shape knots in the wood) remain, then it's carving time. Any sharp knife will work, but the sharper the knife is the easier it will be to carve. If you are going to do more, then I recommend getting a set of carving knives. Or a rotary tool, it will make quick work of the diamonds.
Warning: Do not cut yourself. Believe me, you will not have a fun time after.
Step 4: Sanding
Start with a palm sander to sand down most of the surface and then hand sand in the diamonds. You can sand it all by hand if you don't have a palm sander.
Start with coarse sandpaper and work toward finer sandpaper, or until smooth to the touch.
Step 5: Optional Step - Add Rubbber Bottom and Name
Before moving on to the next step. You may want to write your name on it, or add a piece of rubber to the bottom of the walking stick.
For the rubber, trace the bottom of the stick onto the rubber, then cut it slightly larger than you need. This way when glued on with epoxy the extra rubber can be trimmed off. Using a felt tip marker, pencil, or a wood burner, write your name or logo on the stick, so when finish is applied it will protect it. Don't put it where hands will grab, because it may wear out faster in those areas.
Step 6: Oil and Finish
Grab some rags and let's start the finishing process.
You can stain, oil, varnish, or lacquer the walking stick. To keep the original colour of the wood, I recommend using boiled linseed oil. I find that wipe-on polyurethane gives the best protection and look for the walking stick.
Tip - Read the instruction of the finish you're using before applying because each one is different.
Step 7: Go on a Hike
Go on hike and show off what you have made, then realize it is to cold to go outside. So you prop it up in your living room showing it off to your guests.
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