Multi-Function Walking Stick II - Storage Compartment




Add Decorative and Functional Copper Ends to a Hiking Staff.
This is Part 2 in the Multi-Function Walking Stick Instructables series.

The original Multi-Function Walking Stick Instructable describes how to make a Hiking Staff that converts into a Camp Stool.
Part 1 can be found here:

Part 2 Starts Here:
You've seen the three piece walking stick convert into a slick seat with the help of threaded copper plumbing fittings in Part 1.  Now however, When swinging it on the trail in hiking mode, this staff needs something to distinguish it from looking like an old broom stick from the garage.

This Instructable describes how to add copper finial ends - 
that in additon to adding decorative elements to the staff - also add the following features:
 - A cleat-like point at the bottom  
 - A concealed storage compartment at the top

...Stay tuned for Part 3 in this instructable series:
Staff-Top provisions for an Illuminating Torch

Suscribe if you don't want to miss it.

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Step 1: Copper Ends

Copper is my metal of preference.  Unfinished it won't rust (tarnish yes, rust no).  When lightly polished to a mid-level shine, copper has a certain refined brillance that you don't get from cold chrome and that you can't afford to get from gold. 
(Don't remove all its tarnish though; highly polished its hue is too "pink.)

Especially in an outdoor rustic enviornment, copper's orange-brown glow just seems right

Not only does copper have sophisticated ornamental qualities, it has a nice balance between workability and durability and it's readily available.      
Copper raw goods, are easily  mined at  your local "Har-Whar" store (disguised as common household plumbing) ...Sorry Keweenaw

The previous copper rant was made possible through a grant  by....The Semi-Precious Metals Speculative Investment Group of America and ....the generous donations of  your local Pipefitters Union...and readers like you.
....Not really...Sorry, a PBS moment snuck in...

The threaded fitting shown in the middle below was introduced in the first Instructable.  The next few steps here detail the cleat-like point on the working end (right) and the finial topper with storage (left).

Step 2: Storage Oppertunity

No matter the hike....long or short, there are always essential things that you would like to take along. What better way than to have them right in your hiking staff ready to grab and go.

The top of the staff has a storage compartment perfect for things you might need for a suburban stroll or a wilderness hike.  I have a small pocket knife and other camp items that fit in here.  Shown below are items that might come in handy.

The edge of the copper cap is crimped slightly to provide an interference fit; keeps it from falling off yet can be removed easily.

Gotta have rope!   Never know when you might need to tie an Emergency Jug Knot around a water bottle....

Step 3: Its All About Traction

"A walking stick can't prevent a SLIP... if it can't GRIP."  Woha, There's one for the marketing brochure!

Add a non-lethal point incorporated into the working end of the staff using more copper fittings. The next steps describe how.

Step 4: Materials

Both the top and bottom staff ends are made from a combination of 1" diameter copper pipe and plumbing fittings.

Shown below from left to right are:

- 1/2" Stub-out (The open end is 1/2 inch however the main barrel portion is sized to match a 1" dia. pipe)

- 1" Coupling with internal stop

- 1" diameter Pipe - various short lengths

- 1" diameter Cap - not shown

- (2 or more) 1.5" long Brass Wood Screw  (Optional step 9)

The assembly methods are similar for the top and bottom.  The biggest difference is the use of the stub-out for the bottom point, and the shortened wood dowel at the top to create a storage hollow.

Step 5: The Point

The main feature for the bottom of the staff is the cleat-like tip that comes from the end of a plumbing Stub-out.

Cut off the narrow end of the Stub-out with a hack saw as shown below. 

2. Smooth the cut edge of the larger barrel portion with a file.  This piece is the Point. 
(the small cut-off end is not used)

The Point should slide over the end of the 1" dowel.  

3. Remove the Point and taper the end of the wood dowel to match the taper on the inside of the Point tip.
It doesn't have to be exact but, getting the dowel as close to the bottom of the Point as possible will help reinforce the tip (after all it will be taking the brunt of every step.)

There will be a little "play" between the dowl and the Point. (The diameters aren't identical) This will be addressed shortly.

Step 6: Assemble the Bottom

 The parts from left to right are: the Point, a coupling (cut in half), a full coupling, and the final interface to the dowel, is a section of 1" diameter pipe.  

The pipe section length shown in the finished product below is about 2.5 inches. It could be longer - your preference. The extra half coupling (with the crown cut) isn't essential. It is there for artistic balance.) A minium stack-up of Point/coupling/pipe would work just as well.

- Scallops were added with a file to soften the "cut-off pipe" look.
- The stippling texture pattern was made with the tip of a nail and and an easy tap of a hammer (over and over...) 

Sweat the sections together with flux, solder, and a torch.

Step 7: Assemble the Top

The Top Finial is constructed very similar to the bottom Point.

The difference here, besides the decorative pattern, is that the Upper Section wood dowel is cut short to create a storage space in the top pipe. 

When cutting the dowel short, it should still be long enough to insert at least 1.5" into the bottom end of the copper pipe (more if the pipe is scalloped).  This ensures you have enough area for adhesive retention and, the wood to copper joint doesn't bend when used in chair mode.

The size of the storage space can be increased by using a longer top pipe.  Just shorten the wood dowel accordingly.  Remember after all is done, to function as a leg for the chair, the Upper Section has to be the same length as the Middle Section and Lower Section. 

Ancient proverb:
A three legged stool with one leg long... makes you a "Recliner" ...the hard way.

Step 8: Epoxy Time

1.  MIx a batch of JB Weld epoxy  Use the original JB Weld (24 hour cure) not JB weld Quick or any other 5 minute epoxy. They don't adhere to metal very well.

2. Apply the epoxy and insert the dowel into the copper fittings.  Be sure to use enough epoxy in the bottom tip of the Point to fill any voids between the copper tip and taper on the Lower Section wood dowel.

3. Clean off any extra epoxy that squeezes out. 

Step 9: Secure With a Brass Pin

Use one or more brass screws as added retention and/or decoration; especially on the Point which will take repeated poundings. 

This step is optional. The epoxy should be enough to hold the ends however, copper and brass work well together visually. The brass accent adds a craftsmanship element that is worth the extra effort.

After the epoxy cures:

1. Drill a hole in the copper pipe as shown.  The diameter of the hole should be about the dimater of the screw's smooth shank just above the end of the threads.

The screw's tapered shank will allow the increasing diameter of the smooth shank to eventually fill the hole as the screw is driven.

2. Cut-off the end of the screw so that there is less than 1/2" of the threads remaining.
(The screw needs to be shortened so that it does not bottom-out on the backside of the copper fitting, before the shank seats in the hole.  Just using a shorter screw to start with, would prevent it from bottoming-out however, shorter screws typically do not have the necessary smooth shank portion that longer screws have.)

3. Drill a small pilot hole in the dowel to drive the screw.

4. Drive the screw into the wood until the shank seats in the copper hole like a cork.

5. Cut off the head of the screw close to the copper with a hack saw

6. File down the remaining stub of the screw shank flush with the copper

Step 10: Take a Hike

Now this Multi-Function Walking Stick has some spiffy additional features.  It first, and foremost, certainly still functions as a hiking staff.  It still makes a decent seat.  And now... it has a sure footing and storage on top.  

With a little extra effort to add a few style details in the copper, hopefully, it no longer looks like a dowel stuck in a pipe.

Adding decorative copper ends to your walking stick just might make your staff the envy of other hikers on the trail, or at the very least, the envy of all the other broom sticks in your closet.

Part 3 In the Multi-Function Walking Stick Instructables series is on the way.

so you don't miss how to add a torch to the staff to light the way!



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88 Discussions

Take ItO

Question 1 year ago on Introduction

I'm having a hard time finding the 1/2" Bullet Stub Out with a 1" barrel online. Can you please help locate such a part, as I would really like to make this walking stick. I'm disabled and need a portable chair that is compact. This would be perfect. Thanks. ~ Matt


2 years ago

So how do I assemble it? I put the pipe on, the couplings, and then the stub out? Is the stub out there just for the point or does it make up the entire bottom metal section?

And does the top include a stub out as well or just a copper pipe, couplings, and cap?

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

*The first paragraph refers to the bottom section


2 years ago

What size is the dowel are you using? Circumference?


2 years ago

I think you can take an extera stub out shrink the 1/2" just a bit fill with oil or alcohol stuff a wick in it for a candle lite.


3 years ago

Super. I will try.


3 years ago

This looks great. Really professional looking.

You might want to add a little verdigris patina:

Have a look at: the second formula. I got a sal ammoniac block from Ace at the time but I don't see it now at their website. I found that eBay has ammonium chloride powder cheaper than what I paid for the block. It would also dissolve much easier than the hard block.

Very easy to do, cheap, works great.

Here is my sample done on a copper tubing end cap.

Picture of cr.jpg

5 replies

Reply 3 years ago

That's a good patina formula! A somewhat simpler one we use is to pee in a bucket of oak sawdust, and drop your fittings in to cover them; let it sit over night, or over a weekend, then pour the bucket out in the driveway, and hose it down, to retrieve your parts. Rustic, but it works, based on the natural ammonia in urine, interacting with the tanins in oak sawdust.


Reply 3 years ago

Not squeamish here, but for those who are, couldn't you just get a bottle of ammonia?


Reply 3 years ago

Different thing altogether... sal ammoniac, or ammonia salts, are a dry, either block, or granules, and react quite differently to the cupric oxides. Apparently urine also has a different chemical make-up, that self alters over a few hours exposure to air, but we probably liked it primarily for the shock value, as well.


Reply 3 years ago

Copper enamelling could also be used for added color and pattern.


3 years ago

Nothing cuts the skin of a finger like a fresh cut copper fitting or tube.


3 years ago

They look really great!
Have you ever thought of using ground rod for the tips? They are about 1/2" diameter, solid copper. Would last, probably need less then 2".


3 years ago

Elkhart #30500 1/2x6 COP Air Chamber



9 years ago on Step 10

Very pretty!  Questions: How do you add a few stylish details? Did I miss the information about the grip on the bottom of the walking stick? I would love to make this, but I have never welded befor.  Guess it's time to learn lol ;0)

4 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

You don't need to learn to weld (solder). Most hardware stores sell a product called Copperbond, which is a copper epoxy and works great for plumbing and should work great for this project as well. I would also think it would be much safer for scout projects.

 I didn't go into any real detail on "stylish details".  It was just meant to mean the pattern of shapes cut into the copper fittings (the crown peaks, the scallops, or the flame pattern).  Obviously there is a lot of flexibility for others to express their creative flare with their own designs.  These were all made with hand files (half round, flat, and rat tail).  Copper is relatively soft and takes a file nicely without a lot of effort.

The "grip" on the bottom was the added point.  A pointy pole will stick in the ground better than a blunt one.

Regarding welding...with copper its soldering (in plumbing terms its call "sweating a joint".  Big difference in termeratures, skill level, equipment cost and safety risk.  I encourage you to try it.  Clean the copper, brush on the flux paste, heat with propane torch (minimal equip. investment <$20), touch the solder to the hot copper and let capillary action do the rest (melted solder is "pulled" between the mating metal).  


Reply 8 years ago on Step 10

I think PorcupineMamma wants to know about "WELDING" with J B Weld as in heat and torch ......savvy ? She does'nt know its epoxy glue methinks..

There's a trick to soldering copper that a pipefitter friend showed me. First, use as little heat as necessary to get your solder to flow. Second and more important, apply the heat to the backside of what you're soldering while applying the solder to the frontside. As you've said, the solder will be drawn in by capillary action. As soon as you see a nice concave fillet (that's the opposite of a convex bead) of solder between the pipe and fitting, you're done. Don't keep adding solder until it runs out, thinking 'that can't be enough.' It is. This helps to prevent "gobbing" or "bubblegumming" of the solder. As soon as the joint is soldered, quickly and carefully wipe off any excess solder with a moist rag. Makes for a nice clean joint without piles of extra solder.