Welcome to my first ever Instructable. Not a very long time ago, I had to rely on a walking stick to move around. The sticks offered by the hospital were so ugly that I decided to make my own. Cheap and handmade - I had people asking where I got it from. Hell yeah! It's very strong (I am a big woman) and very light at the same time. Let me take you through my journey
Step 1: What Do You Need: Materials List
Apart from obvious tools, such as:
- Masking tape
- Wood glue (PVA)
- 2 large clamps (to hold the stick upright) - pictured
- drill + hole cutter bits
- fabric cloth - pictured
- a circular clamp - pictured
- some sand paper, rather fine.
I have also used:
- an "ancient" wood burning tool (Extremely durable stuff, Russian made, purchased in 1981 and still working!)
- Cheap, purchased on eBay for pennies (from China) engraver. Various bits you can purchase online (eBay) for pennies too. WARNING! Be careful - original Dremel bits are thicker and will not fit into this machine.
- Used broom stick
- a nice piece of a tree branch (you choose, since it will serve as a handle)
- Old nail polish (I used white pearl)
- some glass beads
- Varnish ( I used leftovers of a yacht varnish, any one is good though)
- Black paint (acrylic or emulsion) I used "Step & Tile" leftovers from another project
- Rubber walking stick foot (eBay)
Almost all of my materials and most of the tools I use come from Freecycling, recycling and upcycling.
- Goggles - There will be some sawing and filing. It might be completely safe but better be safe than sorry
- Gloves - whenever you deal with wood, metal and sand paper
- Face mask - you will be sanding and painting with varnish. Let's keep dust and bad smell away
- Ceramic flower pot (applied to me for burning wood but if you use modern tools, you might be able to ditch this point) - I will explain further in the tutorial.
1. Since you will be sanding and using varnish, it is necessary to work outdoors, in the garden shed or at least in the room with doors and windows wide open.
2. Make sure that your First Aid kit is up to date and handy. Just in case
3. You are going to use wood burner. Even most careful people have accidents. Your cat might knock the tool while you are in the loo etc.
a) Do not leave electric tools plugged in, unattended,
b) Make sure that there are no children or pets around. You concentrate on your work and have no time to take care of them
c) Should the fire break out, remember that the first thing you do is to CUT THE POWER OFF. If you can't get to the plug - go for main switch (fuse box/breaker). Than grab a blanket or a large piece of cloth (towel, sheet etc). Wet it and throw over the fire. Remember not to use water fire extinguisher for electric fire!
Now, let's get to work :)
Step 2: Cutting the Stick
Cut your stick to the correct lenght
"To measure the height of any walking stick, the base of the stick should be placed approximately 15cm from the outside of the foot and the handle height should be set at the wrist crease height. The elbow should be bent slightly (generally between 15 and 30 degrees) when holding the stick and standing upright." (Source: https://www.lifemobility.com.au/how-choose-walking-stick )
The stick was previously used and it is dirty. Remove dirt from the stick using sand paper. Also, carefully file the cut off end of the stick. Remove dust with a damp cloth. Wrap the masking tape around the stick in spiral pattern, leaving the gap in between lines. This gap is going to be painted.
Step 3: Painting
Once you applied a masking tape, paint the remaining gap using black paint (acrylic or emulsion) It is important that you let it completely dry. Otherwise you are risking leaving your fingerprints all over it while carry on working.
I left mine overnight, standing upright (photo). I constructed a stand using 2 pieces of wood and clamps. Make sure that you wrap the stick with cloth, so the wooden pieces don't leave any marks.
Step 4: Details: Carving (optional) and Drilling
This is where you can experiment with your drill. This step is optional, if you want to use a different design. Here though, I used a mini drill to create some flowers. Make sure that motifs are aligned vertically. I made them on just 2 sides of the stick. In between (front and back) I drilled round holes, which later serve as base for beads.
On top of the stick, I drilled a large hole. That was to fit a handle at the later stage. Before drilling, secure the end of the stick using a circular clamp (photo). That will prevent the stick from splitting. The drill bit is a bit rough and working on that hole is a bit tricky. Ideally, if you have someone to help you with it (hold the stick).
The last thing that will require carving is the stick/branch, which you will use as a handle. You will have to measure the hole that you made on top of your broomstick and then you have to gradually carve the bottom of your handle (see descriptions on the photo of the handle) until it fits tightly in the hole.
Step 5: Details: Wood Burning
Some of the flower petals (every second flower) were filled with white pearl nail polish. On these I touched only petals' edges. The others were burned all the way, to achieve a very dark colour. You don't have to follow that pattern. The design in this step is absolutely up to your imagination and taste. Apply the very first and very thin layer of varnish.
Step 6: Other Details: Beads
Glass beads look fantastic on this piece. Try to attach them using super-glue. I used a PVA and applied another 2 layers of varnish on top of them. That was to ensure that the stick won't lose any beads once in use.
Step 7: Now for the Handle...
I prepared the handle separately, using exactly the same steps. Then I fixed it onto the broomstick using PVA glue before sliding the handle into the broomstick. Once connected, I wrapped the connection with twine, squeezing very tightly. I applied a thin layer of varnish to the whole construction making sure that the twine is well soaked with it though. Let it all dry for 48-72 hours. Make sure that it is totally dry. Test it at the bottom of the stick using a tip of your finger nail. Well dried varnish will not have visible marks left after you press. Make sure that you don't press too hard though.
Step 8: Finishing Touch
The very last thing is to attach a rubber foot. You can get them on eBay for pennies. There is a huge variety of rubber feet. Black, white, transparent, tripods... You name it. The choice is yours - choose the one that suits your needs.
Hope you enjoyed this little journey. It seems like a lot of work but trust me - it isn't. The only pain is waiting time for the paint to dry. The rest is just a quick jog. :)